Sunday, 11 December 2016

Metallica - Hardwired... To Self-Destruct (2016) / 83%

*Insert witty joke about Dave Mustaine here*

James and Lars are back in full force after the insanely fun train-wreck of Lulu and Hardwired is perhaps the best thing Metallica could had done in 2016. Say what you want about the quartet, they never gave up and they’re always willing to experiment and renew themselves. At this point, they just do what they want and they earned this right.

Considering Kirk lost all his riffs in an iPhone incident (how fucking dumb is he?), the whole album is a collaborative effort by Metallica’s eternal duo. The tall blond rhythm guitar god basically lifts the album to another level and the Danish tennis legend keeps things rooted in an efficient simplicity. Kirk is alright at times but he rarely has the place to shine and I’m not even sure Metallica has or even need a bassist. Use Robert’s skills, dammit.

This is a frustrating record since it's easy to identify what was necessary to make it a great one. The main faults are once again the overindulgence the quartet has and their complete lack of editing. This could be seen as the "old metal legend" syndrome as Priest and Maiden did it as well. Metallica's arch nemesis Megadeth's recent endeavors (except for Dystopia actually) sucked but for other reasons.

I thought Death Magnetic was a fine record plagued with a messy loud production but Hardwired managed to sound renewed without compromising the identity of Tallica. It's just four guys having fun playing a style of music they like and I believe this is the biggest strength of this album. The biggest metal band on Earth sounds confident, powerful and convincing. I have no issues with the production either, it’s heavy without being brick-walled.

One of the consensus that I've been seeing online is that it would had been a strong eight songs record and that most of the second disc is sort of weak. While I agree for the most part, I do think that the 12 songs (13 if we consider the new version of Lords of Summer as part of the record) are all solid and interesting. It’s just too much to take in.

The first disc is catchier and faster while the second has this groovy doom approach but the entire opus is cohesive in its sprawling length. This is a feat in itself since I feel this is a song based effort. A compilation of new material if you will. It's self contained well-written numbers of mostly 6-7-8 minutes alternating between the eras of the Californian icons. Mixing the rock sound of the Loads, the thrashy comebacks of Death Magnetic and a fair share of the groovy heavy metal of the self titled, Hardwired is ultimately a fun album with strong songwriting and diverse footings. Metallica never wrote an uninteresting album and that's one of the reasons they're metal's biggest band. This one is no exception.

-The Lovecraftian Alice in Chains-esque vibe of “Dream No More”.
-The excellent leads at the end of “Halo On Fire”.
-The aggressiveness and riffs of “Spit Out the Bone”
-James’ vocals
-The RJD medley on the bonus disc is awesome, especially "Tarot Woman".

CD1 85%
CD2 79%

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