Design By Humans
Published On: Fri, Feb 24th, 2017

Metallica: Hardwired…To Self-Destruct

Hardwire…To Self-Destruct
(Blackened Recordings)

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Just as most people can’t think “reggae” without thinking Bob Marley, heavy metal and Metallica have basically become one and the same. They aren’t merely a metal band; they’re the metal band. They’ve held on to their diehard fans while also moving into the mainstream with massive selling albums. At this point they just need to put out anything that sounds like “Metallica” to maintain their career, which is exactly what they’ve done. Is Hardwired…To Self-Destruct a bad album? Absolutely not. I’d go so far as to say there isn’t a bad song on it. But there isn’t a great one either. Opening track “Hardwired” is a tight slab of metal that’s great for head-banging. It’s also three minutes long and the only song that doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. They could’ve done with a few more like it. The next time I paid attention was on “Dream No More,” four tracks later, when I realized my head was nodding along to the music. It’s slow and heavy, sort of reminiscent of Soundgarden, and genuinely kicks ass. Other songs like “ManUNkind” and “Spit Out the Bone” definitely stand out, but those moments are few and far between.

Hardwired…To Self-Destruct isn’t a head scratcher like St. Anger, nor is it a left turn like Load. But at least that album tried to do something different. This one sounds kind of like …And Justice for All, but without any of the memorable riffs or any songs as epic as “One.” That album knew what to do with a long song. It’s title track stretched past nine minutes and never got boring. Most of these songs plod along, change up the tempo slightly at some point, then give way to an uninspired Kirk Hammett guitar solo. Metallica doesn’t need good reviews to sell records. They don’t even need good records to sell records. They just need to keep doing what they do and lots of people will be interested. If there’s one thing I can say about this album, it’s that it sounds like Metallica.

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Metallica: Hardwired…To Self-Destruct