Today, Metallica have unleashed 'Hardwired...To Self-Destruct,' their first studio album since 2008's 'Death Magnetic.' That's right, it's been 8 long years since we've had a proper effort from the kings of the "Big 4" of thrash metal. To read that out loud, it sounds like an eternity. At times, it's been an unquestionably long wait, but they have kept themselves unbelievably busy in these last years.
The anticipation for their new album couldn't be greater. Is this their swan song? If it took 8 years for this, when should we expect a follow-up? Is this album even worth the wait? All fair questions, and I'll attempt to give a little insight into them below.
First, the album itself:
It smokes! Go buy it, stream it, watch the videos. Access this music however you can, because it is without a doubt their strongest collective release since their self-titled album in 1991. Most casual fans of Metallica have "their" album, the one that encompasses the sound they most prefer from this band. Metallica have never been a band to attempt to re-write history. In fact, they've been vocally opposed to doing so. For anyone stuck on a previous album in their catalog, they're just getting started on massive deluxe releases of them that are chock full of goodies for you to spend countless hours on one single album.
With 'Hardwired...To Self-Destruct,' Metallica surges forward, but unquestionably gives us a taste of how they got here. The album starts out with the (almost) title track 'Hardwired,' where we're given a straight ahead thrasher. This was the first taste of the album we got, when they dropped the surprise single and video on us back in mid-August. They don't break any new ground here, but they kick off this whole adventure with a solid 3 minute reminder that they can still play extremely fast.
Throughout the album, we are taken through tracks that have the thrashy elements of their best moments of the 80's ("Moth into Flame") as well as songs that show us that the Load-era of the 90's wasn't just a detour ("Dream No More"). The album is incredibly diverse, save for the lack of an instrumental or any hints of a ballad.
The absolute best sample of what Metallica are offering this time around would include a listen to "Halo on Fire" and "Spit Out the Bone." If you're doubting the guys still have it, scroll down and check those out first. I'm not going to review this album track by track here. There are plenty of those already out there, and the entire thing is available below, so check it out!
So, what's next?:
The first thing we should all hope for is the impending tour announcement in support of this album. Beyond that however, I am more optimistic than ever that this band has plenty of time ahead. I dare say the wait won't be nearly as long for a follow-up, should they choose to do one. If this is their swan song though, it's an incredibly appropriate cap on an incredible career. That's hard to imagine though, as I can't help but feel their collaborative song-writing style is getting stronger with each successive release. For now, I'm going to enjoy their latest effort, look forward to seeing each and every live performance I can manage and just go along for the ride.
'Hardwired...To Self-Destruct' is available everywhere on Blackened Records in both a 2CD and 3CD deluxe format. Additionally, you can pick up both a standard and/or deluxe edition vinyl wherever records are sold.
Metallica: Hardwired (Official Music Video)
Metallica: Atlas, Rise! (Official Music Video)
Metallica: Now That We're Dead (Official Music Video)
Metallica: Moth Into Flame (Official Music Video)
Metallica: Dream No More (Official Music Video)
Metallica: Halo On Fire (Official Music Video)
Metallica: Confusion (Official Music Video)
Metallica: ManUNkind (Official Music Video)
Metallica: Here Comes Revenge (Official Music Video)
Metallica: Am I Savage? (Official Music Video)
Metallica: Murder One (Official Music Video)
Metallica: Spit Out the Bone (Official Music Video)
Metallica: Lords of Summer (Official Music Video)