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Review: Metallica’s new album ‘Hardwired… To Self-Destruct’ proves the band has run out of ideas

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Everyone’s favorite thrash metal band has returned for its 10th studio album. That’s right folks—Metallica has returned with new material, proving once and for all that some bands just refuse to go away.

Its latest record, Hardwired … to Self-Destruct marks the band’s first studio album in eight years after 2008’s memorable Death Magnetic.

The album comes as a two-disk set with six tracks each disk, and has a running time of just over 70 minutes.

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Lead singer James Hetfield and company may have started working toward the latter part of their musical career, but the band continues to show no mercy in doing what it does best—thrashing, thrashing and more thrashing.Metallica has always characterized its sound through Hetfield’s melodic singing and heavy screaming, combined with the ferocious guitar riffs of Kirk Hammett and the never-ending drum solos of Lars Ulrich.

Much of Metallica’s music certainly has an acquired taste for listeners who don’t usually prefer what can sometimes seem like hours of mind-numbing noise. However, the band’s music does have moments of greatness sprinkled within all the commotion.

Metallica sparingly produces new music and this new album feels like more of the same. In many ways, it sounds a lot like Death Magnetic with the long guitar riffs and punchy vocals, but Death Magnetic had more songs that stood out—although at this point all of Metallica’s music seems to blend together.

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The new album starts out with “Hardwired,” a track that consists mainly of Hetfield screaming and cursing, but there is luckily some decent music in there as well.

One standout on the record is “Now That We’re Dead,” which combines all the positive qualities of Metallica’s music and a catchy chorus as well. It’s not exactly the most pleasant title, but listeners never admired Metallica for its pleasantries.

The first disk of the album seems strong enough to stand alone, but by the second disk, listeners will likely feel tired with songs like “Here Comes Revenge” and the closing track, “Spit Out the Bone.”

Metallica represents a fairly typical case of a once-great band who has just run out of things to say.

This album shows Metallica further suffering from the disease of not knowing when to quit. On this album, among others, some songs reach a length of six to seven minutes, when the track could have easily ended after three.

Still, Hardwired … to Self-Destruct provides just about everything you’d expect to hear from a Metallica album. It’s doubtful that it will help Metallica gain many new, young fans, but long time head bangers should find themselves right at home.

Grade: C


Follow Alec Kuehnle on Twitter.


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