Hardwired...To Self Destruct (2016)


Hetfield and Ulrich heal the wounds with a great record

Reluctantly, the big-shot critics of the music world have had to lean in and give a 9 out of 10 to Metallica’s new record. ‘Hardwired...to self-destruct’, a fate of which those from San Francisco would mock starting from of the title with the return after 8 long years of silence, to show that they’re not only alive but they won’t give up being the scepter of the 4 greatest metal bands.  

A mere coincidence changed the direction of the record. Or at least that’s the official excuse to why Hetfield and Lars Ulrich have taken captured the nearly 80 minutes  that they shared in the two albums. Apparently, Kirk Hammett isn’t noted as author of any song, the first time since he joined the band, because he lost his phone in the airport with 200 ‘ideas’ for the new record just before the recording session, where his mates were waiting for him with their homework done. At least Bassist Robert Trujillo collaborated on Manunkind.

Kirk Hammett was left aside -just saying- to shine with his ESP collection on the solos, showing that some of those lost ‘ideas’ were still in his head. With Hetfield’s and Ulrich’s songs ready, he leaned hard into it  with his repertoire of tricks and effects.

Another ESP is one that takes command, yet only with the grace of the colossal drums (Tama) of the problematic founder of the band. James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich got over their life struggles, which were almost 2 decades of lurching about, musically speaking, on stage with poor records. Not even Death Magnetic, 8 years ago, managed to convince their fans. It was a good try, but not enough.  

Metallica even now has its own record label, Blackened, in order to control its work without ‘industry’ interference. Maybe this is what liberated the 2 veterans of the band to try and revive, at least in spirit, the energy of their first records. And that, without a doubt, is what they achieved on this album, the 10th of their career, which defines heavy rock, in every sense of the word, through Ulrich’s drums and Hetfield’s rhythm.


The critics who had written off Metallica as dead, have only been able to complain that it’s “too long”, there are too many songs, and that some could be shorter. Are they bored? Their penance is that in the ‘deluxe’ edition there is a third dose that leaves you feeling like having even more hard drugs. On the second CD, Murder One gives homage to Lemmy (Mötorhead), and leaves for the third, which is nearly entirely live, a tribute to Ronnie James Dio and a couple of covers of Deep Purple and Iron Maiden.

Time has, simply put, done its work. it has rubbed away their fans’ and their own sense of anguish, caused by Ulrich , when he resolved to punch wind in the war with Napster, during the prehistoric age of online downloads. Today, it seems the wounds have healed fully, and the blood flows again.  

(Images: ©CordonPress)