REVIEW: Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct (2016)

Note: This is a review of the 2CD album Hardwired…To Self-Destruct.  A review of the third bonus CD will follow at a later time.

scan_20161119-2METALLICA – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct (2016 Blackened)

The ever-polarising Metallica are back.  This time, Metallica may have finally released an album that pleases everyone.  Amazon averages are remarkably high.  Fans seem to be willing to forgive past mis-steps.  Hell, Metallica are even back on Napster in 2016!

With Hardwired…To Self-Destruct being a long musical journey, it will naturally take time to absorb.  It’s easy to imagine that you could review this album a year from now and have a whole new set of thoughts to share about it.  Ultimately, Hardwired…To Self-Destruct is mostly strong throughout with few moments that drag.  It does play a tad on the long side, not even including the third bonus CD.  At 78 minutes, the album proper is actually only about as long as Load.  The difference in the listening is that Load was a very diverse album of rock stylings, but Hardwired is full-on classic sounding Metallica through its entire length.  There are a few back alleys previously unexplored, but all solidly within the realm of heavy metal.

The direction is not that dissimilar from Death Magnetic, just refined.  There are many traditional metal riffs, Maiden-esque and sweet.  You will discover several album highlights.  There is only one track, “Am I Savage?”, that hasn’t hit the mark yet.  Current contenders for favourite songs include “Hardwired“, “Atlas, Rise!”, “Now That We’re Dead” and closer “Spit Out the Bone”.  Jessie David, metal specialist at 107.5 DaveRocks, says “Murder One” is her outstanding track.  “It’s killer,” she warns.  Each listener will likely add their own to this list.  It is probable that every single track will have its fans, because none of them suck.

Many will want to know how the album is sonically — is it overdriven?  The “loudness wars” took their toll on the last album.  The best way to answer that is visually, so check out the waveform of “Hardwired” in Audacity.

hardwired

It’s pretty loud, but not quite as bad as Death Magnetic.

Hardwired…To Self-Destruct will continue to evolve in the ears of listeners as time goes on.  A provisional rating may change at any given time.  But there is no question that Metallica are still able to stir the molten iron souls of fans with great new songs and performances.  They are Metallica, and that seems unlikely to change.

4.5/5 stars

scan_20161119-3

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44 comments

  1. Wow Dude…This is the second blog review i have read on this and i think it’s safe to say it’s a winner! I got through bit of it and too be honest I still can’t believe how guys like yourself and Aaron can smash out reviews in less than 24 hrs of release!
    Thats a talent Man! I’m Still blown away at how you two Yahoo’s knocked out Book Of Souls so fast where it took me a full year almost to review it….
    Anyhow…
    This is a good sign. Strong Tallica Album….
    Also dig the fact that they added cool stuff to the bonus disc! As a bunch of millionaires they at least have there ear to the ground ……
    Great stuff Mikey!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember doing Maiden clearly and it wasn’t actually that tough. It was a cottage weekend, Jen bought the CD and we hit the road. Got to hear the entire Maiden album on the way up. Once we got there, I got the laptop out, played the CDs for the second time and started writing. It was a lot of work but a labor of love!

      With this one I felt like I wanted to get my initial feelings out and then go back and talk in more detail about CD3. CD3 is a good one and I’ll enjoy expanding upon this review soon. I also have a Lords of Summer 12″ single to add to the Metallica reviews!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nice! Granted like Maiden. This one has a ton of material to absorb! Like i have said i’m glad they went the extra mile with the bonus stuff etc.
        Originally the bonus was just going to be demos which i would have passed on but when they added the cover songs/Live stuff..bam i was in!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. True that, I already had all those songs because I bought the Dio, Maiden and Purple tribute albums. For fans that didn’t (and Maiden is exceptionally rare) this is a super duper bonus!

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    1. I did not see them play at the Cup FInals last year, unfortunately!

      Speaking of Hockey, Monster Truck have recorded a new theme song for Saturday nights…a cover of Saturday Night by the Bay City Rollers! I hope you get a chance to hear it! I think last night was the first broadcast.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The songs online have me keen thus far but nice to get yer perspective on the record so quickly thanks Mike, throws out any doubts about throwing down coin for this one cheers \m/

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Absolutely. Like when they did St Anger, you got the album, a full DVD of the album played live, and a free live download. 3 albums for the price of one. And now they have done it again.

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      1. Got this one thanks Mike and plunged for the 3disc set (or at least the wife kids and Santa did!) Is sitting under the tree for tomorrow :)

        That said know my way around the songs well enough now would lock it in a 4/5 had they condensed it to a single record release 4.5 with the rest of the tracks coming along later perhaps.

        Re-Hardwired hmmm…!? ;)

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  3. Great to read you’re so into this. I’ll always have a soft spot for everything up to ‘And Justice For All’. ‘Puppets’ and ‘Ride The Lightning’, imho are the quintessential speed metal albums. Much like Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’, those two records redefined what heavy music was and how heavy it could be. I lost interest in the mainstream-ish Metallica of the 90s, then I was one of the few select that dug ‘St. Anger'(lousy snare sound and all.) I liked ‘Death Magnetic’ for the first month then lost interest. I should revisit it. I’m going to buy this one, too. Eventually.

    True fans like yourself are convincing me it’s worth the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t mind St. Anger. However I have found over the years that I can’t listen to it in one straight sitting. It will give me a headache if I do. So St. Anger has to be split in two for me to enjoy.

      I too have lost interest in Death Magnetic. Maybe it just wasn’t memorable.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can make it up to “Some Kind Of Monster”, then I take a break. Still enjoy the doc, too. It’s like a mocumentary, but it’s not. The scene where Lars pouts about “Jason is the future and Metallica is the past” still cracks me up. One for him being ridiculous and two for the fact that Jason’s post Metallica career was about as lasting as a fart in the wind. Cinema verite at its finest.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Jason is the future and Metallica is the past! That was funny. I was following Jason in VoiVod at that time and I had a hard time believing that Metallica didn’t even know he was in VoiVod! I thought they would have at least known that. Jason did three great albums with them before he started his Newsted project. But yeah, fart in the wind, I agree. What was that band he was playing with? Echobrain?

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Yep, Echobrain. They were gone before they got started. Newsted was a good guy that was humbled to get to join one of his favorite bands. In the end I felt bad for him, as I think he saw them moving in a direction he didn’t think they should go. I don’t think he ever got out of the hazing phase in Metallica. I dug him in Flotsam and Jetsam before Metallica and like you said, in Voivod. The guy just wanted to play.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. When I was working at the store during the Load/Reload era, they were releasing a lot of live videos. A few friends of mine said, “My favourite member is Jason now,” because he seemed so into it and so enthusiastic about being there. And his backing vocals helped the songs out.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. From memory I thought there was a comment Jason made about his band was going to be bigger than Metallica. Not sure of the band. I do remember laughing about it back then though.
          My memory is a little muddy though.

          One thing I will say is Cliff and Jason seemed to have a say in the bass input.
          Robert seems more like a hired gun that gets told what to do. His bass seems buried below the drums and guitar. Perhaps more so early on.

          Liked by 2 people

        5. I just don’t think anyone will be as good as Cliff in their eyes, ever. For my money he was Metallica. They became a different band when he died, for better or worse. Those are big shoes to fill and I don’t envy anyone attempting to do so.

          Burying the bass in the mix has always sort of been an issue with them. The new remasters of Kill Em All and Ride The Lightning have a lot more of Cliff in the mix than they ever had before. I’d be interested to hear the same happen to And Justice For All.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review, Mike. I’m awfy interested in this one, so might just pick it up on the ol’ vinyl at some point.

    These comments have reminded me that I’ve still to hear Death Magnetic!

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  5. Awesome, dude! I jammed this last night with the good headphones on and it just sounds great. Everything about it. Love love love.

    So far my fave is opener Hardwired, and closer Spit Out The Bone (that’s classic metal up yer ass right there)! It could change as I continue to listen going forward…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice. I know I’m a lone voice in the wilderness but I still like Death Magnetic ‘Broken Beat & Scarred’ is one of my favourite ever Metallica tracks.

    I’m always so wary about doing reviews of recent stuff because I find it impossible to get any real perspective on things, so hats off to ya.

    Like

  7. I’ve only listened through this album (s) once and I guess I need a couple of more spins before the final judgement. Headphone time at work tomorrow. But after one listen, I’m not convinced at all. Sure, it’s way better than the last two useless records and it just might be their best work since The Black Album even if that don’t say much.

    I guess I have to get back to you on this one.

    Like

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