McIlwaine, Callum. 24/02/2017
They finally did it! Metallica finally released their much anticipated album “Hardwired…to Self-Destruct” on the 18th of November 2016. Hi everyone, it’s Callum here to give you a review of my personal favourite bands long awaited album, the good the bad and the ugly of Metallica’s newest project. Overall : 8/10
Song 1 – “Hardwired” run time – 3:09
First song, first single release as well and my god does it pack a punch. Possibly the shortest Metallica songs ever! It is one of the rare songs that James Hetfield explicitly swears on the track “We’re so fucked, shit out of Luck” (chorus lyrics). Even with this in mind, the track is fast, short and angry holding what feels like a classic writing style from the guys in the band, very riff based and heavy, very refreshing. Out of the three songs that were released as singles prior to the albums release “Hardwired” was sometimes overlooked by the other two but it stands strong as an opening song even if it does break the “tradition” of Metallica introducing albums with a slow starting song. This was a “we are back and we are louder than ever” message from the band.
Song 2 – Atlas, Rise! run time – 6:28
“Atlas, Rise!” this was the last of the three songs released as singles and is possibly my favourite song on the whole album. It mixes a perfect cocktail of pure riffage and oddly expressive lyrics for a 21st century metal track, however this is not just any 21st century metal band. My initial listen to the track was hindered by the environment I listened to it in. I was surrounded by loud people trying lot listen to the sing through my phone speakers, not a great recipe i know. However, like any actual music fan would do, i gave it another chance and then many more. The melodies and harmonies intertwined in the song remind me of class “puppets” style writing with 6-8 minute songs being key filled with riffs and chug to get you going.
Song 3 – Now That We’re Dead run time – 6:59
The third track on the album is a polarising one. A very love hate relationship with this song is what i feel most fans will have. It seems to me like an album filler and possibly one of the weaker songs on a very strong first CD. With a chugging verse and an almost dance feel to the chorus, it’s a song that i don’t believe will stand the test of time unfortunately. I personally like this song but i feel like it is a filler track again, on a strong first CD.
Song 4 – Moth Into Flame run time – 5:50
The second single released by the band on the lead up to the albums release and oh my god do i love this song! It starts loud, continues loud and ends loud. Starting with a harmonised guitar riff with James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett joining each other as they always have. Now we can talk about the recent Grammy’s performance. The song was going to be sung with Lady Gaga, which in all fairness, was a very good match that people who view musicians outside of their respective genres were not entirely surprised by. The performance famously didn’t go to plan but it stands that ‘Moth into Flame’ as a single release was a successful one and an effective one.
Song 5 – Dream No More run time – 6:55
‘Dream No More’ i believe falls into the same category as ‘Now That We’re Dead’ as one of the weaker songs on the first disc. However, commercially it isn’t the strongest, I personally love it. It has a strong feel to it reminiscent of ‘Sad But True’ from the very popular ‘Black Album’ which is one of heavier songs in their arsenal. This flashback to their most successful era was refreshing and in a sense, describes what this album is all about. A familiar feeling but new sounding experiment which overall i believe works, it is a shame that the first CD is very strong in comparison to the second and because of that, a couple songs do get lost, this is one of those songs.
Song 6 – Halo On Fire run time- 8:15
‘Halo on Fire’ or ‘Fade to Black’? I am so grateful of some clean guitar!! The whole album up to this point has been balls to the walls metal which is fast and aggressive and melodic (only in some songs mind you ). The over 8 minute song is a nod back to classic melodic metal songs with a clean chordal progression in the verse and a powerful chorus with an insane instrumental breakdown and essentially ‘a jam’ at the end of the song. Listening to the track, I can imagine that they had a load of fun recording the final couple of minutes just jamming in a very melodic way as it feels very free flowing and relaxed whilst holding the full sounding heavy tone. This is up there with Atlas, Rise! in my opinion. Classic Metallica.
Song 1 – Confusion run time – 6:41
‘Confusion’ to me, is more interesting for its video. It has a very similar video to ‘The Day That Never Comes’ which is my favourite song from ‘Death Magnetic’, the last album released before this one. Confusion is the beginning to an arguably weak second disc. The track has a very powerful, in your face intro with heavy drums and pounding guitars playing in a very static manor really waking you up. But then the song delves into a very ‘bleh’ track overall with not much going on in terms of a new sound or a new style. Just classic metal, very safe. Not a bad thing, but there could have been more experimentation in the track.
Song 2 – ManUnKind run time – 6:55
Honestly…this song is poor. I cannot get behind it and the silly ‘Load/Reload/St.Anger’ style title. The video is silly and the song is forgettable, I am not meaning to be harsh on the track but it is almost an unnecessary track on a potentially unnecessary second disc. Everything about the track screams the Load/Reload period, arguably a forgettable period at that and sounds more like a B-side track to me than anything else.
Song 3 – Here Comes Revenge run time – 7:17
‘Here Comes Revenge’ is a light at the end of the tunnel on the poor second disc in comparison to the first. With a riff that stands the memory test (basically can i hum it after not listening to it for a week) and a video that is inspired by an evil dead/ Alice in wonderland style cartoon thing creates a solid track that would have been better on the first album. The video looked to have been inspired by Kirk Hammett but in matter of fact was actually Lars Ulrich’s idea. Once again with the clean vocals and guitars in the verse and the large chorus, very ‘Wherever I May Roam’ feeling with a writing style of ‘One’.
Song 4 – Am I Savage? run time – 6:29
‘Am I Savage?’ has a similar feeling to ‘ManUnKind’ in which i personally believe is hit or miss. The title of the song is, in my opinion, silly. However, the opening riff is moving and has a certain chug to it. However, it does contain some very Megadeth sounding pre-chorus which i don’t mind being a Megadeth. This is another song that is aided by it’s somewhat strange video with a family made of people in morphsuits? This drags the second CD down even more.
Song 5 – Murder One run time – 5:45
‘Murder One’ is Metallica’s tribute to the late Lemmy Killmeister of Motorhead. In the metal community, his death was a huge blow to a lot of influential metal bands, many citing him and motorhead as their inspirations. The song however, i find the song lack-luster at best, with the video helping the main point of the song with a cartoon style depiction of Lemmy’s life. The lyrics are also about his life, you have to listen to hear most of the imagery that James is trying to depict. The idea of the song is a thoughtful one and I am happy they managed to incorporate it into an album however the song I feel is trying to be too many things at once.
Song 6 – Spit Out the Bone run time – 7:09
HOLY SHIT this is loud and fast and thrash and awesome. What a way to end an album I’d say. I know this will sound like most fans opinions but i strongly believe that “Spit Out the Bone” is a song that is what this album should have been throughout. It’s classic and pure metal gold. The melodic breakdown later in the song around the half way mark is beautiful and just brings back classic Metallica vibes. Now, it isn’t without sin, the video is nothing next to awful. With some of the videos released, they could have tried harder with the end product on this one, make the ‘Dream No More’ video less pretty and spend more time on this one.
My overall opinion of the album is that is a good return to form for my favourite band. I feel if there was a few swapped songs, the first CD could have been released standalone. Putting ‘Spit Out the Bone’ and ‘Here Comes Revenge’ on disc 1 would have made it a beast of a first CD leaving the second disc to be a B side in honesty, i would have preferred that. However, thank you Metallica for coming round on more time, I eagerly await the next one, please don’t be 8 years again.