Metallica, the band that it has become cool to hate, is back with their latest effort, Hardwired… To Self-Destruct. I cannot begin to comprehend why it is become fashionable to hate the metal titans. I understand the controversy with Napster, but that was so long ago that the younger generation has no idea what Napster even was, and this is surely not the forum to revisit that fiasco.
Of course, the band has had its shared of missteps (LuLu and St. Anger are the two biggest mistakes that the band has made). Sure, they have had some mixing issues where the drums sound like buckets or the bass is non-existant (…And Justice For All still kicks ass though). The band has not been stellar throughout their entire career, but Death Magnetic was a welcomed return to form for the band and with Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, Metallica proves that they can still kick ass.
For those of you not purchasing the album because “they have not released anything good since Justice,” you are doing yourself a disservice. Hardwired… To Self-Destruct is one kick-ass song after another with no let up in its intensity. The crushing riffs never end and the lead guitar work is something that I have not heard from Kirk Hammett in a long time.
The album has its shared of fast paced tracks, namely the opener, “Hardwired,” and the closer, “Spit Out the Bone.” There are plenty of songs with a nice groove, which is pretty much every song. I would like to list all of the best songs on the album, but the truth is that I would be listing every song as they each bring something to the table with no wasted effort from any track.
The first half of the album is one astounding track after another. James Hetfield is in rare form on vocals. This may be the best that I have ever heard from him and I have been rather critical of his vocals in recent years. The second half of the album is not as good as the first half, but songs like “Confusion” still bring the heavy. “Here Comes Revenge” is the track that I cannot get off of repeat these days, but I have been that way with almost all of the tracks at one point or another.
For the record, I hate hearing how the band sold out as well. The guys matured as people and as songwriters, which happens to every band. Over the years, not much has changed from how the band writes songs. The Black album was an intentional shortening of songs and they had good reason to do so. The band saw that the live crowds were bored during the Justice tour. The Black tour was the most successful tour that the band had at the time, so it is not like the band was losing fans by any means.
Just because I feel I have to mention it, their performance at the 2017 Grammys with Lady Gaga was a train-wreck and I fully expected it to be, and the sound issues were not even the main reason. Lady Gaga sounded completely out of place, which is something that I said would happen before there were any sound issues.