Eight years after “Death Magnetic,” you can hear the fresh pounding riffs, thrashing rhythm section and impressive vocal delivery on Metallica’s long-awaited two-disc album “Hardwired … to Self-Destruct,” released on Nov. 18.
Containing six songs on each of the two discs, this album gives fans a lot to take in. Think of the return-to-thrash style on “Death Magnetic” and combine that with the straightforward, hard-rock grooves from 1991’s self-titled release.
Disc One of the record kicks off with the lead single, “Hardwired,” which instantly sets the tone for the old-school, heavy metal elements heard throughout the entire album. Songs like “Atlas, Rise!” and “Moth Into Flame” stand out for their catchy hooks and pounding verses, with “Moth Into Flame” portraying the dangerous aspect that comes with fame, almost like a warning label. However, tracks like “Now That We’re Dead” and “Halo on Fire” do not meet expectations due to their mid-tempo range and overuse of evil-themed lyrics.
Memorable lyrical moments from lead vocalist and main songwriter James Hetfield, as well as one of Metallica’s grooviest, slowest, head-nodder tracks (as opposed to the majority of the head-bangers on this album) are heard on Disc Two.
Beginning with “Confusion,” Hetfield tells the story of a soldier returning from war and the struggles that come with readjusting to regular life. The lines, “Rapid is the road to sacrifice/ Just takes longer to come home,” can be interpreted to portray how quickly it takes to make a sacrifice and then how slowly it takes to return to a normal setting, or “home.”
Metallica created visuals for each song on this album, allowing the story behind each song to develop further. “Here Comes Revenge” is the perfect example. This song depicts a character who seeks revenge, thinking that it will set him free. The music video shows the character being haunted by the revenge after committing it. He eventually gets what is coming to him.
The exceptional “Am I Savage?” is the groovy head-nodder track comprised of a creeping guitar riff over the verses and a trudging chorus, which diversifies the album’s sound.
Closing with “Spit Out the Bone,” Hetfield evokes the dystopian concept of the mechanization and digitization of the world, as seen in lines like, “Plug into me and I’ll save you from emotion.”
In short, fans should have something to satisfy their hunger until the next record, which co-founder Lars Ulrich said will not take “another eight years,” according to a story on Blabbermouth.net.