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Metallica go old-school thrash with first Hardwired…To Self-Destruct single
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Metallica go old-school thrash with first Hardwired…To Self-Destruct single

by Stephen Charlton2016/08/19

Metallica dropped the “Hardwired” single earlier today, which is their hardest hitting song since 1988. The band released a lo-fi filmclip which perfect matches the frantic playing in the song. The main riff sounds a little like “Fight Fire With Fire” from Ride the Lightning. Kirk Hammett lays down a very loose, wild solo that brings to mind his playing on Kill ‘Em All.

Metallica return to form with “Hardwired”

Hardwired is one of the best tunes they’ve put out since the ’90s. It’s Metallica so of course there’s haters but many fans have already called it a return to form after a lacklustre decade or two.

The single is cut from their 10th studio album, Hardwired…To Self-Destruct, which is due out on November 18. It’s been eight years since Metallica’s last LP, Death Magnetic, which the band acknowledged on their blog:

“We know it’s been a long time coming, but today we proudly introduce you to Hardwired…To Self-Destruct. Two discs, nearly 80 minutes of music is coming your way.

“Hardwired…To Self-Destruct represents the next phase of our journey as Metallica and we are so excited to share it with you. You heard the… first track “Hardwired” and we’re hoping you’ll hear a lot more of it in the coming days. It’s available for pre-order in a variety of configurations including 12 songs on a double CD, vinyl, digital download, as well as a deluxe version with the riffs that were the origins of the album. Everyone who pre-orders the album through Metallica.com will receive an instant download of the song “Hardwired.””

“Keep watching this space for more information, we cannot wait to hit the road to play these songs live and get in your faces once again, so strap yourselves in… INCOMING!”

Fidelman at the desk for Hardwired…To Self-Destruct

The album was produced by Greg Fidelman, James Hetfield and Ulrich. Thankfully the band have not repeated the terrible production decisions on St. Anger (trash can snare) or Death Magnetic (brick walling the mix to death). Rick Rubin handled production on Death Magnetic but Fidelman did mix and master the album, so it appears he’s learned a little from the backlash. Fidelman has still been pretty heavy-handed with the compression on “Hardwired” but not to the point of making it completely unlistenable.

I wouldn’t get too excited about the prospect of the band returning to their thrash metal roots with the album as a whole. Ulrich recently commented on the style of the album, saying:

“It’s probably a little less frenetic than the last record… It’s probably a bit more of a diverse record than the last one.”

Metallica early years doco launches on Spotify

If the old school vibe of “Hardwired” got you hankering for more, Metallica were featured recently in the Spotify Landmark doco Metallica – The Early Years. Hetfield and Ulrich speak in the documentary about the band’s rapid ascent in the underground from ’81 onward. Early scene players like Anthrax’s Scott Ian and Metal Blade Records CEO Brian Slagel also make appearances.

Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct tracklisting:

Disc One

  1. Hardwired
  2. Atlas, Rise!
  3. Now That We’re Dead
  4. Moth Into Flame
  5. Am I Savage?
  6. Halo On Fire

Disc Two

  1. Confusion
  2. Dream No More
  3. ManUNkind
  4. Here Comes Revenge
  5. Murder One
  6. Spit Out The Bone

Disc Three (Deluxe Edition Only)

  1. Lords Of Summer
  2. Riff Charge (Riff Origins)
  3. N.W.O.B.H.M. A.T.M. (Riff Origins)
  4. Tin Shot (Riff Origins)
  5. Plow (Riff Origins)
  6. Sawblade (Riff Origins)
  7. RIP (Riff Origins)
  8. Lima (Riff Origins)
  9. 91 (Riff Origins)
  10. MTO (Riff Origins)
  11. RL72 (Riff Origins)
  12. Frankenstein (Riff Origins)
  13. CHI (Riff Origins)
  14. X Dust (Riff Origins)
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About The Author
Stephen Charlton
Stephen Charlton is a musician, journalist and editor.

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