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.
METALLICA – 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.
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.