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Metallica

Hardwired: To Self-Destruct

Format: CD   Release Date: 11/18/2016
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    Track Title

    Time

  1. Hardwired 3:09
  2. Atlas, Rise! 6:28
  3. Now That We're Dead 6:59
  4. Moth into Flame 5:50
  5. Dream No More 6:29
  6. Halo on Fire 8:15
  7. Confusion 6:41
  8. Man UNkind 6:55
  9. Here Comes Revenge 7:17
  10. Am I Savage? 6:29
  11. Murder One 5:45
  12. Spit Out the Bone 7:09

Metallica began their long journey back home some time after nearly imploding during the recording of 2003's St. Anger. Hardwired...To Self-Destruct arrives 13 years after that album but it, almost more than its 2008 predecessor Death Magnetic, feels like a repudiation of the band's '90s, the years when Metallica shined up, slowed down, and got a lot weirder. Sprawling over two discs when it could've fit onto one (an aesthetic choice certainly meant to evoke memories of 1988's double LP ...And Justice for All), Hardwired...To Self-Destruct does indeed rage, roaring out the gate with a title track where James Hetfield bellows "We're so fed/S out of luck." That palpable desperation recalls the free-floating angst that fueled Metallica's '80s, but Hardwired...To Self-Destruct doesn't find the quartet scrambling to sound as ferocious as they did during their heyday. Often, they do unleash the fury -- "Moth into Flame" gallops forward in a manner reminiscent of "Battery" -- but there's no denying that Metallica are an older band now, either incapable or uninterested in maintaining that intensity over the course of a full double album. When they slow down, it's not exclusively to churn and brood. "Murder One," a salute to departed Motörhead leader Lemmy, may belong in that category, but "Am I Savage?" teeters between ominous dirge and intricate transitions, while "Dream No More" has a backbeat that nearly swings. "ManUNKind" also has a bit of buried funk in its rhythms and that, along with the preponderance of complicated suites, is a clue that Hardwired...To Self-Destruct is primarily the work of Hetfield and Lars Ulrich. Kirk Hammett doesn't have a single songwriting credit -- allegedly, this is due to the guitarist losing an iPhone filled with riffs just prior to recording -- and he's also diminished in terms of solos, leaving Hardwired as a showcase for Metallica's musical constructions. If the riffs don't always sink in deeply -- and if the entire production feels slightly monochromatic -- what impresses here is the thought and musicality within the compositions and the performances, elements that have always been at the band's core and shine brightly on Hardwired...To Self-Destruct. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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