Blackened Records [Release date 28.11.16]
Before I plunge into a review of Metallica’s latest opus I would like to offer up a cautionary tale to all aspiring bands, be afraid….
Once upon a time there were two snotty nosed teens in Los Angeles. These two shared a dream of forming a rock band and playing hard and fast music influenced by the wandering minstrels of the UK led by King Lemmy. The two friends found another couple of likeminded players who shared the vision and set about creating their sound.
For the first few years all went well, they released four records which went down well with long haired peasants around the shires and although the band were faced with hardship and tragedy they came out stronger and with a good level of success.
For the two friends though this was not enough and nothing less than global domination would do, but how could they achieve that? Enter into the story a shadowy character who had overheard the lads’ plight in a local tavern and offered to help. ‘I am Sir Bob of Rock, sage and guru’ he said, ‘and I can help you achieve success and wealth beyond your wildest dreams!’. Our two heroes, blinded by their lust for fame and gold, readily agreed to Sir Bob’s terms, but in their haste they omitted to read the small print…
Sir Bob was as good as his word and provided the band with all they craved and times were good. However when, a few years later, the band decided to create more music they found that their creative talents had gone! They called Sir Bob in a panic, he then revealed himself not as a sage and guru but as an evil wizard! Back when they had first met and contracts had been signed he had added a clause that stated that in return for their new found fame they had signed away their creative souls for 20 years (cue evil, manic laughter)
The band soldiered on but over the years things went from bad to worse, even a sacrifice to St Anger, the patron saint of sound engineers, couldn’t save them. Finally though the curse started to lift and the guys discovered some of their mojo returning and Death Magnetic restored their faith.
Now, five years on, Sir Bob and his evil ways are finally a distant, hazy memory and the two friends have regained their full creative powers to return us to the glory days of yore. Back to a land where the death was creeping and the metal was up your ass!
Hardwired…To Self-Destruct is the best Metallica album for many years. From the opening bars of the title track, an urgent, machine gun riff with Lars rattling the snare drum like Animal from the Muppets, it is clear that Metallica are back. This album calls upon all that was great about those early albums, from full on thrash to more creative and progressive melodies, the album has it all.
‘Atlas Arise’ and ‘Moth Into Flame’ are great examples of what Metallica are capable of and what had been missing during the ‘Sir Bob’ years. This is grown up metal which doesn’t follow the well- trodden path. The bluesy feel of ‘Am I Savage’ again changes the pace with Kirk Hammett adding a few deft touches, in fact Kirk sounds revitalised throughout as do the rest of the band. There is also a tribute to King Lemmy entitled ‘Murder One’ which references many of the great man’s best moments, a fitting reminder of the influence he had on the band and their career.
‘Spit Out The Bone’ rounds off the album with another reminder of who Metallica are and where their roots lie. Four long hair Los Angeles kids (or three and a Dane!) with a dream to rock the world, well as the song says ‘Dream No More’.
Hardwired…To Self Destruct is an ironic title as Metallica have never sounded more together in years, they just need to steer clear of shady characters in bars, beware my friends… ****
Review by Dave Wilson
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 2 August 2020.
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