So until the official release of Hardwired... we caught glimpses of the album by 3 tracks issued for release. The first was the self-titled track, "Hardwired...To Self Destruct", followed by "Moth Into Flame", and most recently, "Atlas, Rise!" One interesting thing about these releases was that I had the opportunity to ask Metallica fans their thoughts of said releases, and opinions varied. Never a negative comment, but what I discovered was that there were some who favored the track "Hardwired..." more than "Moth Into Flame". I realized those who preferred the title track, were the older Metallica Fans, that were there since the beginning. They knew albums like "...And Justice For All", "Ride The Lightning" and "Master of Puppets" in their entirety. I respected the individuals' opinion because, well their arms are branded with the Metallica logo tattoo and their opinions are something I truly respect. As for my personal favorite, read along to find out ! Metallica is still James Hetfield (vocals, guitar), Kirk Hammett (guitar), Robert Trujillo (Bass), and Lars Ulrich (drums),
Hardwired... To Self-Destruct
The title-track that told the world Metallica was back with something new and something powerful. The intro of the song is vintage, raw metal at its core. Lars is beating the snare drum with his 16th note sequence where the band joins in on a razor-sharp staccato element. This has become an instant favorite for the veteran Metallica fan as they are channeling their head-banging days. The lyrics are just as edgy and sharp as the music. "Gone insane, We're so fucked, shit out of luck, hardwired to self-destruct"!
The third release of the album also has a familiar driving force in the guitars that carry James' vocals. This one has a couple of time signature changes that give the song a more of a hard-rock vibe as opposed to metal. I am especially drawn to the parallel in the vocals and guitars during, "Die as you suffer in vain, own all the grief and the pain, die as you hold up the skies, atlas, rise".
Now That We're Dead
The low steady staccato rhythm and tempo comprise "Now That We're Dead". James uncovers a bit more melody in his vocals. This is not a heavy-metal track by any means, but it is still a powerful track. Kirk's feature on this one is also steady and congruent with the rest of the track. Lars brings out the lower toms in 16th note rhythms to give a soft feel. Probably one of my more favorite lyrical songs of the album. Check this line out, "Now that we're dead my dear, we can be together, Now that we're dead my dear, we can live together".
Moth Into Flame
Ok, I will not beat around it, this is my favorite track of Hardwired...To Self-Destruct. Moth Into Flame has rich melodic elements blended with edgy vocals that merge perfectly with each other. The video for this song is equally badass. Listening to Metallica on this track evokes a sense of strength and courage within oneself. Kirk's solo on this one solidifies his immortality among the greats. To this one, I bow down ! Check out the video below !
Dream No More
It seems like Metallica has a thing for summoning Cthulu. Dream No More reminds me of the latter days of Metallica, with those slow-tempo, sharp power chords and heavy lyrics. I have a feeling all Metallica fans new and older can dig on this one. This is one of those breaks from the fast-paced heavier tracks. Take a step back, catch your breath and enjoy the musicality of the song.
Halo On Fire
Heavy introduction that quickly segues into a softer song. Lars just gives a steady beat that accent the vocals. Towards the chorus, the band rises the volume and shift slightly aggressive sequence of chords and repeats once more. The song tracks in at a little over 8 minutes and goes into different directions musically, but its blended so well that it is a smooth transition throughout.
Insert disc 2.
Another of the great tracks of the entire album is Confusion. What draws me into this track of over 6:41 are the changes throughout. At the entrance is a steady, aggressive downbeat, a "1-2-tri-pl-et-4" that gives way into double-time initiating the rock vibe. The lyrics remind of something out of ...And Justice For All in that they are singing about a soldier who still faces traumatic flashbacks of war.
A softer beginning to yet another musical pounding. ManUnkind is not your typical driving rock song where we have a steady tempo. This interchanges with a 3/4 and 4/4 time signature. I love the lyrics on this track, but musically, it is not one of my most favorites.
Here Comes Revenge
A tale as old as time. Since the time of Ancient Sumeria and the law of Hammurabi have we often sought the indulgence of our interal urges to give in to revenge. Fast forward a few millenia and not much has really changed. James is opening his vocals at the chorus of this one where he shouts, "Here comes revenge, just for you/ Revenge, you can't undo/ Revenge, is killing me/ Revenge, set me free".
Am I Savage?
This is another slow-tempoed track with heavy guitar progressions. This track also reminds me of the latter days of Metallica and their earlier influences. Listen especially to the juxtaposition of the guitar and vocals for this line: "Sharpened edge touch liquid flame/ Deepened seed soaks angers reign/ Arching back, shape-shifting derange/ Father, how I watched you change".
The introduction to this one also takes you back to the younger days of Metallica. Truly they wanted to re-capture their early years on this album. "Murder One" is yet another of my preferred songs of the entire album for its lyrical depth.
Spit Out The Bone
We have made it to the last track of the album, of this version at least. Hammering away to literally end Hardwired... To Self-Destruct, this is a driving rock song in the classic style of Metallica. The high-energy continues to feed through the speakers on and shows that Metallica has not slowed down since the early 80's.
Metallica continues to reign over rock-music setting the standards for many musicians today. From veteran rock bands, to those picking up their first guitar or drumsticks, many long to emulate the styles of this quartet. In Hardwired... To Self-Destruct we are reminded of a vintage-thrash style that has dominated all of rock radio for decades. I have asked around for thoughts on this album and the opinions vary based on the person you ask. Fans of Metallica who have been around since the 80's are really loving the old-school vibe, while newer generations of Metallica fans are discovering what has kept this band successful all of these years. There are a couple of fans I know who simply loved this album for the passion of the band and I chose to ask for their thoughts because as I previously mentioned and how they proudly expressed their Metallica tattoos on their arms.
On a side note, for those individuals who claim to be fans of Metallica yet find something to always criticize or judge, you're not fans of Metallica. Perhaps you like one song, or one album but there is no need to insult what this band has accomplished. Take what bands like Queen and Led Zeppelin have done, they experimented and have left us with songs that will be forever immortalized along with questionable albums, but fans remain true. In other words, this review is for the Metallica fan and for those discovering Metallica for the first time.
Comment below and let us know your favorites, or your least favorites. How does this album compare with the other Metallica albums? Share with us.
- The Scientist
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