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Deem the Mass and Blame Rejection - 65%

KingOfHydras, November 6th, 2016

Is... is this really the theme Metallica is going with for the single covers? Ugly shit like this? What does this Joker lookalike have to do with a song about being overwhelmed by your burdens? Fucking hell, they can't even get artwork right anymore. Tomato-faced James on the 'Hardwired' single cover was too much. This thing is just disgusting, and I can't think of a single person who would want this in their record collection. The four faces on the album's cover is neat - it worked for Queen when they released The Miracle - but that was as far as they went.

Oh, there's a song, too? And it's not a letdown like 'Hardwired?'

Indeed it isn't, but it suffers from the same problems. 'Atlas, Rise!' is a step in the right direction in all regards, but it also doesn't have the juvenile declaration of "We're so fucked! Shit outta luck!" so that's not really an accomplishment. Lyrically I think it's a great metaphor for being unable to deal with your problems and collapsing from the pressure, a subject Metallica is no stranger to, and I have no doubt it will be considered a strong point from the album, along with 'Moth into Flame.' It looks like they gave up giving each song a billion different verses, because I can read the lyrics to the released tracks and not get lost. This is a change for the better, because Death Magnetic bordered on unreadable a lot of the time and, unsurprisingly, the abundance of ideas weighed the songs down. So it's nice to see a standard verse/verse/pre-chorus/chorus song from Metallica for a change.

The song is as awesome as you'd expect, but is still a victim of a creatively stagnant band. Its riffs are not attention grabbing, the change in speed from verse to pre-chorus has no impact, and the chorus itself sounds just like the rest of the song. Then there's the solo, a choppy and inconsistent baker's dozen of ideas which actually climaxes, has an ending and doesn't simply stop like the one in 'Hardwired,' but proves that Kirk has no idea how to write a solo anymore. I'm not expecting another face-melting thrill ride like the ones in 'Fight Fire with Fire,' 'One' or 'Broken, Beat & Scarred,' but they should be cohesive. I hate to say it, but this song is basically just Metallica going through the motions. The drive is there and the effort shines through, but it's not paying off because they refuse to let go of the "going back to the roots" shit they've been yammering on about for the last decade. You're Metallica, one of the few bands that could bounce back from something like St. Anger - fucking act like it. They're holding themselves back, and once they shed this dishonest identity they've caped themselves in, their music will universally be considered holy again.

The weakest "Hardwired" single yet... - 70%

BlackMetal213, November 5th, 2016

So, "Atlas, Rise!", in my opinion, is the lesser of the three tracks Metallica have yet released from their upcoming album " Self-Destruct" due out on 18 November. But does that make it a bad track? No, I don't think so. This is actually fairly decent. So far, we have gotten the title track, "Moth Into Flame", and now "Atlas, Rise!". While the first two songs follow mainly a thrash metal style, what we get here is more reminiscent of the NWOBHM sound that developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This is interesting, because Metallica really hadn't made a song that sounds quite like this, and it definitely pays homage to one of their main influences: Iron Maiden.

The song opens up with a jagged riff that eventually turns into a thrash/speed metal riff similar to something they would have recorded for their "No Life 'Til Leather" demo way back in the day. I think the main issue I have with this song is how inconsistent it tends to sound. It goes from more of a thrash riff into a melodic NWOBHM riff in the chorus, which eventually features harmonizing guitars. This isn't necessarily bad. Although it seems to jump too quickly between these ideas. I will say the solos in this song, as there are two, are definitely better than the simple lead on "Hardwired" and are about on the same level as the one in "Moth Into Flame". There is another NWOBHM section after one of the solos that is absolutely melodic and freaking awesome, and it actually lasts for a decent length of time.

Drumwise, there are none of the thrashy "gallops" that we have seen with the previous two songs. It's pretty much standard, more simple drumming, bearing more resemblance to the "Metallica" album from 1991 than anything. Seeing as Lars has actually used some impressive drumwork on the last two songs, surprisingly enough, this one kind of falls short. But it does fit with the music on this song. I guess that is the only thing that matters.

Really, this song still manages to get me excited for the new album, which may or may not be the band's best release since "...and Justice for All". I was a fan of "Death Magnetic", but this so far is impressing me a bit more. My main issue, aside from the inconsistency of this song, is how the band has released three singles, and they are all only from the first disc. We still have no idea what anything from the second disc will sound like. Seeing as we have an idea of how the first disc will sound like, even if it's a bit diverse, I am really looking forward to hearing a glimpse of the second one, although it likely won't happen before the release of the entire album.