Metallica ‘Hardwired…To Self-Destruct’ Album and Video Review
By Ides Bergen
Thursday, November 17th, 2016 at 11:00 am
In a move unprecedented in the metal world, thrash titan Metallica has just released, in 2-hour intervals, videos for all 13 tracks from their highly anticipated tenth studio album Hardwired…To Self-Destruct, which will be available worldwide tomorrow, November 18, 2016 via the band’s own Blackened Recordings label.
The release will be the first double album of original material in the band’s history. Let’s take a look at each song and its respective video per the sequence in which they appear on the album, shall we?
Metallica “Hardwired” (Official Music Video)
Up first is the title track (of sorts). “Hardwired” was the first of the album’s singles to be released several weeks back. The song itself is an aggressive, full-on, thrash throwback reminiscent of “Blackened” or “…And Justice for All.” Metallica immediately reassert their relevance by addressing today’s uncertain political climate with lyrics such as “We’re so fucked, shit outta luck, hardwired to self destruct.” The black and white, strobe laden video brings to mind the clip for the band’s biggest hit “Enter Sandman.” It is telling to the anticipation for this record in the fact that this clip has already racked up 20 million views on YouTube before the album even hit the streets!
Metallica “Atlas, Rise!” (Official Music Video)
The second track is “Atlas, Rise!” Another track that might have had its genesis around the period between …And Justice For All and the Black Album. The video showcases a band seemingly having a blast in the recording studio. An image in sharp contrast to the confused and disjointed era on display in their 2003 documentary Some Kind of Monster. This one is destined to be a staple of Metallica’s live shows and a fan favorite for many years to come!
Metallica “Now That We’re Dead” (Official Music Video)
Fans of the band’s most iconic tune “Enter Sandman” will have something to rejoice in when hearing the album’s third track “Now That We’re Dead.” Major riffage on display here. I predict that this will be a massive, mainstream rock radio hit very soon. It may be the most straight-forward rock song on the record, but that in no way diminishes the degree to which this little ditty kicks ass! As for the video, it begins as a straight performance clip and then morphs into a live-action interpretation of the bizarro album cover.
Metallica “Moth Into Flame” (Official Music Video)
“Moth Into Flame” is up next and addresses the downside of fame. The song is destined to be a huge commercial hit with an unforgettable chorus and main riff. The video is a fairly run-of-the-mill studio performance clip, but check out Kirk Hammett‘s Ouija board guitar! I want that!
Metallica “Dream No More” (Official Music Video)
“Dream No More” returns to the theme of H.P. Lovecraft’s mythical monster Cthulhu which the band previously addressed on the instrumental classic “The Call of Cthulhu” from their 1984 sophomore album Ride The Lightening. The song is a riff-fest that is sure to attract fans from every era of Metallica’s history. The accompanying clip features the band performing juxtaposed with otherworldly, surreal images of a shadowy figure of a hallow man of sorts.
Metallica “Halo On Fire” (Official Music Video)
The first disc closes out with “Halo On Fire,” another track that would have sat comfortably right in the middle of The Black Album. The video is sure to cause some controversy as it starts out with, what appears to be, a battered woman getting out of bed and facing the world. It turns out however that the gal in question is no victim, but rather a badass who is not about to back down. I’d tell you more, but the first rule of fight club… Also, Hammett turns in a rather tasty but brief solo.
Metallica “Confusion” (Official Music Video)
Disc two kicks off in a state of “Confusion,” though (thankfully) not in any musical sense! This track can best be summed up in the following way: Imagine if “Harvester of Sorrow” and “Eye of the Beholder” hadn’t made the cut for …And Justice For All but had been reworked and mashed up for inclusion on the Black Album. That makes for one badass hybrid! The conceptual promo clip has more in common thematically with Metallica’s very first foray into video, 1988’s “One” and its “war is hell” message. We follow the daily struggles of a female combat veteran wrestling with PTSD. It is a powerful and captivating visual tale that I highly recommend checking out.
Metallica “ManUnKind” (Official Music Video)
It would seem that we finally have a misstep in the next song! “ManUNkind” sounds like something off of Load, Reload, Unload, Crapload… whatever those records were called. Cool video though. It’s an homage to legendary Norwegian black metal pioneers Mayhem and their fallen members Dead and Euronymous. It even starts with the singer inhaling something from a paper bag a la Dead’s notorious ritual of internalizing the scent of dead animals before going onstage. The use of this imagery is bound to have metal elitists losing their shit, crying blasphemy. I’m one hundred percent certain that it’s just the world’s biggest metal band trolling the trolls. Also, LOVING the black metal treatment on the Metallica logo!
Metallica “Here Comes Revenge” (Official Music Video)
“Here Comes Revenge” is a solid and memorable radio ready rocker. This is the first animated video and, wow is it a weird one! Best to experience and interpret it for yourself, so here you go…
Metallica “Am I Savage?” (Official Music Video)
The next song is very dis-settling (to me at least). The lyric “I don’t recognize you anymore” coupled with the video’s imagery of a middle-age man interacting in a semi-transient and superficial way with his faceless family and coworkers amidst an unraveling sense of self, is something that I believe makes “Am I Savage?” very relevant to men of Metallica’s (and my own) age.
Metallica “Murder One” (Official Music Video)
What? I’m not crying! You’re crying! The penultimate track is a gorgeously fitting tribute to our lord and savior, the late Motorhead front man Mr. Lemmy Kilmister, whose amp shared the name of this track “Murder One!” It’s a pretty damn good Metallica song and by far the best video from Hardwired…to Self Destruct! The video is an animated love letter to Lemmy and his illustrious career. On a side note though, the animated version of Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich is somehow even creepier than the real thing!
Metallica “Spit Out The Bone” (Official Music Video)
Which leads us to the closing track of the standard release of Hardwired…To Self-Destruct. So. Much. Epic. They definitely saved the best for last on this record. I’ve been hearing for weeks that “Spit Out The Bone” was the best thing they’ve done since “Blackened.” Well, for once, the hype was legit! This is a thrash masterpiece that even the most cynical of former fans would be hard pressed to find fault with. If for no other reason, you should run out now and score a copy of this record for this one track alone! It ranks amongst the greatest Metallica songs ever. Seriously! The whole Escape from New York meets Kill Bill via Terminator video is awesome as well!
Metallica “Lords of Summer” (Official Music Video)
The deluxe edition of the album includes a studio version of “Lords of Summer” the song that Metallica released a couple of years back to appease the fans during the 8 year wait since their last album, 2008’s Death Magnetic. The take-away here is that:
1) Metallica have apparently dubbed themselves the “Lords of Summer.”
2) They are making a loud and clear declaration of their return.
3) This suddenly modern sounding track would have musically fit right in on the band’s 1983 debut Kill ‘Em All if not for James Hetfield‘s cleaned up singing voice.
4) The band has no bones about the full circle back to 1983 as evidenced by the references to the Kill ‘Em All tracks “No Remorse” and “The Four Horsemen.”
As for the video, it features Metallica doing what they do best… pouring it all out on stage for their legions of rabid fans.
In conclusion, the Metallica that long time fans have been hoping for are back! While I’m not in love with every track, overall Hardwired…To Self-Destruct is easily the direct descendant of …And Justice For All!
I’m left with mixed emotions. On one hand I’m blown away that these guys who have done everything possible to tarnish their immense legacy are still capable of this degree of greatness. On the other hand, I’m pretty much pissed off that it has taken nearly three decades for THIS Metallica to get back on track. If only they had left off “Man UNkind” and “Am I Savage,” I would be giving this record a perfect 10. Those minor missteps lead me to a final score of 9.5 out of 10. Easily the best Metallica effort in 25-plus years!