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Is this really the best they've got? - 50%

Deathdoom1992, November 6th, 2016

Eight years is a long time. Such a long time, in fact, that if you are a musician and wrote as much as Metallica insist they've worked, you'd have quality songs coming out of your ears, and you'd definitely have an album's worth of those quality songs. However, I've now heard about a sixth of the content on Hardwired...to Self-Destruct and nothing is jumping out at me, saying "I was the product of eight years' graft."

But to be truthful here, the amount Metallica claimed they'd worked and the amount they have don't even begin to stack up. Whilst 'Tallica fuck around advertising Italian suits and god knows what else, those ides ebb away, and when it comes time to record, something like this appears out of the woodwork.

Musically, it's not bad, even good in places. There's a strong intro with some brief but nice harmonized guitars and then we go into boring riffing like "Through the Never" meets Dream Theater's "The Glass Prison". Now, these riffs may have a certain effect on the listener but there is no variance or excitement to be found. Hopefully, on "Atlas, Rise!" the mindless staccato leads which have dominated the first two tracks are abandoned. I'll reiterate the point: we've waited eight years for some shitty staccato riffs.

Lyrically and vocally, this track is decidedly worse than "Hardwired". The lyrics are flat and could be bettered by just about anyone with a pen and paper and knowledge of the English language. Hetfield's voice now sounds noticeably strained, and for this album he seems to be singing in a slightly higher register than past efforts if my assumption that most of the other tracks will sound somewhat like this. The "Sold your soul" sections are actually nice moments, reminding me of the only good track on St. Anger, "The Unnamed Feeling". On the other hand most of the verses suck, and Hetfield's worsening voice does little to help. I mean, check out this gem, which sums up the average verse here:

"Blacked out
Pop queen, amphetamine
The screams crashed into silence"


What. The. Fuck.

If this was my decision, I would have everyone refuse to support Hardwired until they showed that it really is worthwhile, but that won't happen. No, the real Moths into Flame here are Metallica's fans, myself unfortunately included, who allow the band to release things like this after making us wait close to a decade and still give this band the time of day and our hard-earned cash.