By Brian Ives
Eight years, a feature film, a wild collaboration with Lou Reed, and many tours since 2008’s Death Magnetic, Metallica return today with a double album, Hardwired… to Self-Destruct. Like Death Magnetic, it has a classic metal sound, with few nods to any current trends in any genre. Here’s our favorite songs from the album. (We’ll skip over “Hardwired,” since the song has been out for a while… but it’s surely in the album’s top five songs).
“Here Comes Revenge” – During the Load era, Metallica fans lamented the lack of guitar solos. Of course, Kirk Hammett made up for that on Death Magnetic. But on “Here Comes Revenge,” he plays some of his wildest lead work. Also: even though we’re talking about the music and not the videos here, it’s worth mentioning that this song sports one of Metallica’s creepiest videos ever.
“Atlas, Rise!” – “The New Wave of British Heavy Metal” has always been a huge influence on Metallica, and here, there are echoes of two of the giants of that scene, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. James Hetfield growls “Save the Earth and claim perfection/Deem the mass and blame rejection/Hold the pose, reign perception/Grudges break your back,” which may not endear him to the Sierra Club.
“Moth Into Flame” – The most surprising thing about the album might be that James Hetfield sings the words “Pop queen” here; it’s a rather unusual topic for Metallica. Through the song, you imagine Hetfield watching as a fellow star — albeit one in a very different genre — goes through the entire crash and burn drama that so many musicians and actors have in the past. Although “Moth Into Flame” isn’t about a Britney-type pop singer; Hetfield told Guitar World that this song was inspired by watching Amy, the Amy Winehouse documentary.
“Am I Savage?”– This song starts of slow and then slips into a tough riff-driven rhythm; while much of the album sounds inspired by Slayer, this one has a bit more of a Black Sabbath vibe; you could almost hear Ozzy wailing along to this one.
“Spit Out the Bone” – Yes, it’s a long album… but don’t split before it’s over; “Spit Out the Bone,” the album’s closer is maybe the best song here, and sees Metallica in full speed-metal mode. “Disappear like man was never here/Long live machine/The future surpreme/Man overthrown/Spit out the bone,” could be the basis for a post-apocolypse nightmare film.