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Lords Of Redundancy - 30%

Thumbman, July 17th, 2014

On their new single "Lords of Summer", Metallica try their very hardest to be the band they were in the '80s. Here, they go through the motions, resurrecting old ideas in tired and hackneyed form. Sure, in terms of schematics, this may be as close to classic Metallica as they have been in a while. However, this sure as hell doesn't have that spark. This still has the sterile production that plagues modern Metallica and it never really treads into territory worth exploring. In the end, this is just a bloated corpse that far overstays its welcome - it tries so hard to be what they used to be, but this really isn't anything but barebones.

Preceding the release of the official single, they put up a "garage demo" version of the song. While this sounded pretty shitty, it's still a lot better than this version. The main reason for this is the production is garbage. It's completely sterile, killing the raw and energetic vibe they were hoping for. The riffs here are utterly uninspired and are so obvious and tired that it doesn't even seem like they are even trying. James' vocals seem a bit strained, as if he is getting too old and tired to really be able to put his heart into them anymore. The pathetic excuse for a solo confirms that they are just going through the motions, probably thinking that fans will be too happy that they are reverting back to a thrash sound to notice. It honestly seems like Kirk shat that rehashed tripe out on the spot. Lars' drumming shows that he's an absolute hack behind the kit, but this should come as a surprise to precisely no one.

The most inexplicable thing about "Lords of Summer" is that it's eight minutes long. Obviously, Metallica are no strangers to longer songs, but this has absolutely no rational reason to stretch much further than the four minute mark. Songs like "Orion" and "...and Justice for All" demanded to be long. This is long, seemingly, just for the hell of it. While castrated thrash in execution, the songwriting draws heavily from textbook rock. It's the type of typical verse-chorus-repeat thing that has no business being stretched out that long. The track ends up being more bloated than Rob Ford after a drunken all-you-can-eat buffet binge.

This track is disappointing, but not all that surprising. Metallica has been desperately struggling for relevance for a long time, and this is a testament to that. They tried pandering to a more mainstream rock crowd, they tried experimenting, they've tried exhuming the old thrashy corpse - the fact is, they've long outlived their usefulness as a band. Sure, this does bring back some old ideas (there are definitely some discernible nods to Masters of Puppets here and there), but it doesn't do anything with said ideas and just haphazardly regurgitates what we've all heard before done insurmountably better.