metallica_hardwired_0135 years into their career, Metallica‘s music is so ingrained in heavy metal’s DNA that writing about it objectively is almost impossible. Their albums were among the first I ever owned, and they were the first live show I ever saw (with Suicidal Tendencies and original-lineup Danzig opening!). In recent decades, I’ve cringed alongside the rest of you at the band’s various missteps, and rooted for them as they slowly reclaimed bits of their 1980s glory. 2008’s Death Magnetic was a huge step in the right direction, and while I’m skeptical of a Metallica double album, Hardwired…To Self Destruct seems to offer a more thorough return to the band’s old-school values.

Opener “Hardwired” is a short, focused blast of proto-thrash, and despite its juvenile lyrics, gets the record off to a promising start. To my relief, the obnoxious production of Magnetic is gone, replaced by a beefier update of the …And Justice mix. More importantly, the band sounds firmly committed to playing heavy, thrashy music again — a direction that felt somewhat tentative on Magnetic. “Atlas, Rise!” ups the ante with chunky riffage and, as many have noted, some very Maidenesque guitar harmonies. “Now That We’re Dead” is a perfectly good mid-tempo crusher, marred only by the return of Reload-era Hetfield to ruin the chorus. However, the band redeems themselves with “Moth into Flame,” a thrashy, dynamic composition that is one of the best things they’ve written in decades (even if they totally stole the riff from “The Toxic Waltz“).

“Dream No More” is the first blatant dip in quality, nailing “Sad But True”‘s riffs to “The Memory Remains”‘ vocal melody for an exercise in disappointment (and don’t even get me started on those lyrics). I hesitate to call “Halo On Fire” a ballad, but it’s the first track on the record to contain clean guitar tones, building up to an intense Hetfield vocal and, eventually, an extended guitar outro a la “Fade To Black.”  As Disc 1 concludes, consider me impressed. It’s not perfect, but it proves once and for all that these guys can still kick ass, when and if they feel like it.

metallica_2016Sadly, those asses get kicked with much less frequency on Disc 2. “ManUNkind” finds Hetfield yarling like a goddamn buffoon again, while Ulrich attempts swing rhythms that are not in his wheelhouse (to put it gently). “Confusion” is Metallica‘s first war/military lyric in forever, but the subpar riffage and low energy ensure that this is one battle they will not win. “Am I Savage” is the first track here to truly resemble the band’s Load/Reload period, with lame groove riffs and a vocal melody that Hetfield should’ve steered clear of. “Murder One” is ostensibly a tribute to Lemmy Kilmister, with lyrics strung together from Motorhead song titles, but musically, the song never really takes off.

As you may have noticed, self-editing is still problematic for Metallica. Every single goddamn song save “Hardwired” is about six minutes or longer, resulting in a ridiculous “double album” that contains only 12 tracks. Nearly every song approaches a part that feels like a perfectly-timed ending, then carries on for another 1-2 minutes. Even the crappy songs have a few redeeming parts, like the atonal Gojira bit in “Am I Savage,” or Robert Trujillo’s bass intro to “ManUNkind.” But sadly, it’s not enough to hold some of these tracks together or keep them interesting for 7-plus minutes.

However, some highlights still remain. “Here Comes Revenge” is a thick slab of metal reminiscent of Metallica‘s 2nd side, with a building tension that’s rare in the band’s catalog. Hammett opens and closes the song with some animalistic guitar noises, adding a primal feeling that complements the lyrics nicely. And fans have already gravitated to “Spit Out The Bone,” which rages hard enough to hold its own against the “Battery”/”Damage Inc.”/”Dyer’s Eve” contingent. This track is thrash by any definition, as Hetfield weaves a man-versus-machine lyric that offers no happy ending. At 7 minutes plus, the track’s arrangement is perhaps overly convoluted, but it simply overwhelms with a barrage of riffs and solos.

metallica_hardwired_02

More-so than any Metallica record since …And Justice, Hardwired feels heavily dominated by one James Hetfield. The riffs and guitar harmonies are unmistakably his doing, delivered with deadly precision and THAT guitar tone. And other than a few embarrassing spots, this is his best vocal performance since 1991. Ulrich’s often-mocked drumming is pretty solid, and if the band’s studio footage is any indication, his arranging skills were crucial to this album’s effectiveness. Hammett’s writing contributions are thankfully minimal, and aside from a couple spotlight parts, Trujillo wisely stays out of the way. This seems to be a departure from the band’s more democratic post-St. Anger protocol, but clearly it was for the greater good. Here’s hoping that Hammett’s “missing” cell phone was in Hetfield’s possession all along.

As always, Metallica has plenty of fans that will cry “they’re back!” no matter what they release, and an equal number of individuals who will hate this album regardless of its merit. The truth, of course, is somewhere in between. A lot of Hardwired is non-essential, and Metallica‘s inability to self-edit is troubling (says the guy who wrote a 1,000 word review). But beneath its flaws, there are large portions of Hardwired that sound convincingly like the band that helped define this genre and introduce so many of us to the heavy stuff, myself included.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Blackened Recordings
Websites: metallica.com | facebook.com/Metallica
Releases Worldwide: November 18, 2016

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  • Chris Timbó

    A lot of the review echoes my conclusions. It is kinda good, but the songs drag on and on. Editing most of the songs and omiting one or two would have made this a true return to form.

    And Moth To The Flame is addicting! Hope it makes the setlists on the next tour. Hopefully a date Rio de Janeiro?

  • Matt slatz

    Kirk’s phone actually wasn’t in James’s coat…..mustaine found it, and it is now being worshipped like a false idol

    • Dr_Fisting

      I picture a scenario where Hetfield and Ulrich hid the phone while Kirk was off surfing or something. Thereby keeping all writing royalties for themselves, and sparing us “Hero Of The Day” mach II.

      • Or Unforgiven IV!

  • Diego Molero

    Meh.

  • Shrümpelstiltskin

    THEY’RE BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!! m/ m/ m…../

  • Danny Becker

    very fair review if you ask me. Congrats on picking up on the toxic waltz rip — didn’t see that one coming. hardwired is better than death magnetic and on the same level as reload (nostalgic factor puts reload a tad bit higher), but certainly pales in comparison to black album, load, or death magnetic as far as songwriting is concern.

  • AngryMetalBird

    it’s just too damn long. that’s what I though when I listened to this for the first time already

  • Bats

    I can’t stand it, I literally can’t. And I did spin Death Magnetic, warts and all, quite a lot. Honestly after Testament’s I just can’t…

    • Kryopsis

      Yes, the highlights on Brotherhood of the Snake show Thrash Metal at its finest. Although as tempted as I am to call Hardwired ‘Trash Metal’, it’s not terrible. It’s just disappointing how hard other bands have to work to get anywhere close to the recognition Metallica has by default. Most of the mainstream reviews of Hardwired are gushing with praise.

  • groverXIII

    I agree with this review more than I expected. I like the new album, and I think it feels less like a conscious effort to recapture Justice (which was what Death Magnetic felt like) and more organic, which is probably why some Load-era elements pop up from time to time, but it’s still new Metallica and so I am predisposed to like it no matter what.

  • I tried to get through it to do a companion review but it’s just too long and dragged out. Some good moments, but overall pretty flat.

    • Oscar Albretsen

      Agreed. IMO, this, as well as Death Magnetic, were just attempts at doing what people wanted (call them cash grabs if you will, but we all know Metallica isn’t greedy at all). Both of them were completely insipid, IMO. This is a good review, though, and I’d probably admit I fall more with the “hate it regardless of its merit” crowd when it comes to this band. Good observation by Fisting there.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      I guess we’re shit outta luck, then.

      • I didn’t have much new to add anyway. My score differed but otherwise, all the same complaints.

    • Oscar Albretsen

      It’s kinda misleading to call it flat, though. The instruments are in tune at all times!

      • I mean from an interest perspective.

        • Oscar Albretsen

          It’s called wit, man. WIT!

  • Daneel Olivaw

    so metallica….is metal?

    • Oscar Albretsen

      They’d like people to think that.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      Not thrash, sadly.

      • Daneel Olivaw

        those days are long gone…

  • Zach Ward

    Have yet to listen to the full album yet. But I did really enjoy Death Magnetic. I don’t think I’ll like this album as much tho. But it’s not like there hasn’t already been A fuck ton of good metal released this year already, so I’m fine with a mediocre metallica album.

  • Tim

    It’s alright. But it’s nowhere near the quality of other 2016 releases–Gojira “Magma” or Insomnium “Winter’s Gate”.

    • Ted Nü-Djent ™

      Gojira was nothing but a bitter disappointment

      • Reese Burns

        I’m inclined to agree, Magma didn’t grab me at all. Winter’s Gate though… that’s something special.

        • Ted Nü-Djent ™

          I’ll have to check that Winter’s Gate out

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    Whenever I see the name “Metallica” these days, I automatically think “3.0”. Nothing else. As it would seem, I am not the only person of this disposition. The bottom-middle face on the mess of an artwork seems to be thinking something along the lines of “damn, crapped my pants again” or “this band gave up years ago so why am I here”.

  • This album is a solid 2.0 in my book. I spun Death Magnetic, despite it’s blatant brickwalling, it held my interest. Hardwired is just long and boring as hell and the drum work is jarring to the point of annoying… I had high hopes for this.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      I went even lower, a meager 1.5 (I explained in the forums: https://www.metal-fi.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=454&p=15756#p15756 ) but now I softened up since then. 2.0 seems like the perfect score for this.

      • I hovered around that point myself, except that they can play their instruments which IMO gives them a leg up from the 1.5 zone.

        Read your comment on the forum, I particularly like the point you made about the contrast between “not that bad” and “not that good”, it’s a very fine line.

        • André Snyde Lopes

          Barely, in the some cases *cough*Lars*cough*

          Thanks, means a lot, coming from an actual writer. xD

          • *chuckle* … yes ;)

            Anytime! It pays the bills … mostly haha.

          • Dead1

            2.5 for me.
            A bit of judicious editing could’ve made it a 3.
            Soundwise it’s still pretty bad but not Death Magnetic level bad.
            Death Magnetic did have better songs by far (even Unforgiven III). There’s nothing even close to All Nightmare Long or Cyanide on this new album.

    • Eli Valcik

      I’d have to agree with you there, deffinently a 2.0 for me as well.

    • Agreed.

    • MastersApprentice

      I think it’s hard to judge this album as a whole because it’s so inconsistent. I personally cannot get over the constant clipping on Death Magnetic, it just sounds awful even on a modest setup.

      Even though ‘Hardwired’ clocks in at DR5 I was quite suprised how much clarity and punch there is in the mix. It doesn’t feel like the wall of sound it’s predecessor was.

      Anyway, I really liked the video they did for the song Confusion. I feel that song has a stronger emotional resonance after you’ve seen the video. Whoever directed that deserves a pat on the back.

      • Love that song!

      • RDGEEK

        I actually got misty-eyed at the end of that video, which is not something you expect to happen during a Metallica video.

        Unfortunately, the song itself hasn’t held my interest very well at all. In my “Hardeditted…For Lean Efficiency” arrangement of the album, that song gets cut.

        • MastersApprentice

          Oh, I agree some of these songs didn’t need to be on the album, I just don’t think Confusion is one of them. Personal taste and all that. (It’s also really fun to play on guitar too).

          I personally think there are too many mid-tempo songs on the album that make it a real slog to get through from start to finish.

          • RDGEEK

            Definitely. In my opinion, “Savage” and “Murder One” absolutely kill the momentum going into “Spit”. Two slow-to-mid-tempo songs in a row that just don’t go anywhere…

          • MastersApprentice

            I wasn’t going to name specific tracks but….yes, those two :)

    • Wilhelm

      The guitar hero version of Death Magnetic is mastered at DR12 or something, listen to that version instead. I can tell you where to find it but I don’t need lars showing up on my doorstep tomorrow.

      • Philip Pledger

        If I recall correctly, Guitar Hero 3 dlc actually included unmastered tracks. There are several different remasters of those floating around, with at least one of them clocking in at DR 12.
        Frickin’ Lars, though. He tried to defend the mastering by pointing to how Justice is a classic album despite people complaining about the lack of audible bass (as if that somehow lessens the validity of either complaint).

    • herrschobel

      so you mean it´s solidly disappointing ? at this point i won´t even listen to a new Metallica Album. I respect the Band and loved them when i was a teenager…but that´s almost like ancient history. With the current amount of great Metal Bands i wonder why anyone would care about Metallica t this point. Too much money is very ‘unmetal ‘anyhow.

  • beurbs

    There’s a Rainbow medley on disc 3 (deluxe edition) that’s the best thing they’ve recorded since the Mercyful Fate medley from Garage Inc. A blast to listen to with a rare Hammett solo of non-wah-wankery

    • RDGEEK

      Yea, the Rainbow medley is awesome!

    • Refined-Iron Cranium

      IIRC it was released on the Dio tribute album last year.

  • Reese Burns

    I was right on the money! Solid 3.0!

  • Handy Donut Hole

    After a single play through I can’t find any reason to return to this album. 😐

  • Charles Henderson

    I got to the same conclusions after this week. Overall a good album (better than I expected, to be honest, after my disappointment with Death Magnetic, which I haven’t even played at all in 6 years), but with quite a few flaws.

    The production, while still far from good, is a huge step up from the previous couple albums and doesn’t cause headaches at least. James is for the most part in top shape vocally, and he’s still the riff machine he’s always been; definitely he’s what makes this album worthy in my opinion. For the first time we can hear Rob on album and he does a good job, nothing to fancy but definitely good. Lars shows some tricks (!) he hasn’t used in maybe 20 years, and while obviously very far from his prime, it shows he’s put an effort in this album, so at last, kudos for him. But Kirk… oh man, it’s hard to believe this is the same guy who played those classics. Going into the studio without any preparation, churning out an absolutely forgettable and sloppy pentatonic and (sometimes) out-of-key noodling and wah-abuse for 10-15 seconds and job’s done: rinse and repeat for 3/4 of the songs here and that’s his contribution. Just shameful.

    And as a comment about whole for the band, yes, they’re still incapable of self-editing. Out of the 12 songs, 4 are complete filler material, 2 are decent but could be a lot better, and most of the rest is really good but could be cut a good minute each song. If that was cut down to a ~45-50 minute album it’d be great, but as it is, it’s no more than a solid 3.0 for me.

    • RDGEEK

      Agreed about Kirk. Was just thinking on the way into work this morning: will anyone even notice if he doesn’t play those same solos live? Really forgettable.

      • Charles Henderson

        Yeah, I mean, he’s never been a particularly proficient guitarist, but he did the job and could write really memorable and well-crafted solos. I actually liked him. But to be honest, I can’t recall a single solo from him since Load. And if you watch him live now it’s just painfully obvious how out of practice he is, sloppy as hell and with more mistakes than an amateur.

        • RDGEEK

          Actually, I think he’s got the hardest job in the band live, with all that virtuosity to remember and pull off. You’re right, though, that he doesn’t have the fluidity he might have had before. I think he gets through it well enough. More or less. Most of the time…

  • hallowed

    This album is just one 18-minute epic short of greatness.

    • GardensTale

      Are you referring to a certain Iron Maiden album?

  • hardysponge

    Could have been a very good long EP/ short LP… Also, who came up with that cover artwork?

  • RDGEEK

    I’m more in the 3.5-4.0 range, myself. Really like the first disc, with special interest in “Dream No More” actually. I like the way it combines the eeriness of “Where the Wild Things Are” with the mood and general Cthulhu continuation of “Thing…” I found the vocals pretty heavy. Looooove “Hardwired”. Classic Hetfield. And “Atlas Rise!” is the “AJFA” in slot number two.

    You’re right about disc 2 — it is weaker, and by the time I get to “Spit Out the Bone” it’s hard to be excited even though it really does rival “Dyer’s Eve”. I actually dig “ManUNkind” — very Sabbathy to my ears. You can almost hear Ozzy singing “Alright now!” once the riff gets going…

    Generally, I’ve appreciated Metallica’s efforts to be their own artists and to try things, and what I hear in this album is them being unafraid to revisit and embrace *most* of those things (Lulu is missing, though I’d be down for a bit of spoken word as a middle section somewhere). Could it be more adventurous? Yes, but for what it is, I think it works well.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    Their album artwork has mightily improved since the “Load,” “Re-Load” days. No more piss and cum. That’s a plus…

    • RDGEEK

      But it’s still artsy photographs, not drawings/paintings, though the St. Anger and Death Magnetic covers weren’t the most inspiring things I’d ever seen.

      • Oscar Albretsen

        Well, that band photo here. Now THAT’S inspiring!

      • The Metal Pigeon

        Yeah I thought the Load cover art was pretty interesting, just from a purely art-visual standpoint. St. Anger, Death Magnetic and Hardwired are just terrible. Hardwired especially…. seems like they’re trying too hard. Could’ve done something iconic and classic, like a Pushead piece…. but no, we got this.

    • Diego Molero

      I think the new album artwork is really bad.

      • Oscar Albretsen

        Agreed. They haven’t had a good album cover since “Justice.” But, not having to look at piss, shit, cum on an album cover is nice. (If you can’t tell, I just despised those “Load” “Re-Load” covers. Kind of in the “Chocolate Starfish” realm).

        • Diego Molero

          Well, they haven’t had a good album since Justice haha. I kinda like the album cover on St. Anger though, it’s not great but at least it isn’t as bad as this one and Load and Re-Load.

  • Brent Blakeborough Snr

    Gave it 3 listens back to back whilst driving my truck I agree with this review 100% , would of liked more solos rather than the 7 min riffs , Lars drumming Is very full on not technical but a step up from previous outings .
    Can’t see me playing it a lot to be honest definitely a 3 .
    Megadeth and Testaments Releases this year are far superior .

  • Enslavedeld73

    I think the record would have been better if Kirk and Trujillo had helped write. There was some negativity about Kirk in the review, do we even know what a Kirk riff sounds like? Did he write anything on the last few records? He hangs out with death angel, maybe he has taste. Trujillo can jam on bass, he could have written some interesting riffs if james had loosened his chokehold.

    • RDGEEK

      Yeah, I was pleased to see Trujillo get a little feature in “Spit Out the Bone,” but it’s just the same riff played four times! It’s no really statement of his own. Too bad, as these opportunities don’t come around very often…

    • Dr_Fisting

      The “Enter Sandman” riff is Kirk’s, so is the riff from “2×4.” And he seems to have contributed a lot to the albums between “Load” and “St. Anger.” I’m personally fine with hearing less of that style.

      You raise an interesting point about Trujillo. I don’t know if he even writes riffs, or what those would sound like, but they should at least give him a shot.

    • hallowed

      I guess we’ll never find out what riffs Kirk and Rob brought to The Table.

      • Grymm

        Awwwww snap, son!

  • Gage

    I didn’t even know they were releasing an album this year until now. I wasn’t expecting much but still ended up disappointed. Is it better than Death Magnetic? Maybe, but that doesn’t mean much. Good review but I think you were a little too nice. This gets a 2.5 from me.

  • brklyner

    Metal has long evolved past them. That doesn’t mean they’re bad or that they should retire if they’re having fun and people are entertained by what they produce, but this album is nowhere near my top 50 for the year.

    • Slayerformayor

      With multiple genres devoted to celebrating old metal music without a whole lot of innovation, I never understand this sentiment. The music either grabs you or it doesn’t. Suggesting that is hasn’t “evolved” just seems silly to me. Basically, what makes you say that? I desperately want to understand what that means. The past two Vader albums have been fucking awesome for being straight up old-school death metal. Are you suggesting to me that metal has “evolved past” Vader? If metal’s evolved past fucking Vader, then I guess I’m all about sloped foreheads and shitting on the bare earth.
      3/5 for me also. Good score.

  • Aguy

    If this is bad, then was Metallica ever really good?

    I never had a head – or an ear – for music theory, or the finer aspects of songwriting. I don’t play any instruments. “Does it sound good?” is my only criterion for quality music.

    So when I listen to Hardwired… and compare it to Metallica’s celebrated pre-Black catalog, I don’t hear a lot of difference. Yeah, the newer production’s taken some of the ragged edge off the guitar tones, and maybe that’s a mistake (although the drums sound pretty awesome). And yeah, Hardwired… has a few songs that are just losers, and others that could use a haircut, while older albums were more consistent (though I dare anyone to admit they actually like “Escape” from Ride the Lightning). A single album with the fat trimmed would surely have been an improvement. But the same basic formula is there: lay out a bed of chugs, layer some melodic riffs on it in verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo fashion, and garnish with James’ trademark barks and growls.

    What’s that, you say? Kirk’s lost it? Lars is old and tired? Some of the lyrics are dumb? Well shit, son, no one in his right mind ever held Kirk up as the world’s greatest guitar prodigy, and most people had better sense than to accuse Lars of being a great drummer. Hetfield never was much of a poet, and his voice was only ever good for one thing. Metallica was never a super-technical band. What they were was heavy enough to offend your parents while still being accessible, melodic, and having a sound that was rarely duplicated (although a couple of Evile’s albums sure came close). Metallica is buttmetal, and it always has been buttmetal. And I’m okay with that. But it would be a shame if people dismiss the new material because it can’t measure up to material that’s been placed on a higher pedestal than it ever really deserved.

    • I like “Escape” quite a bit!

      • Dr_Fisting

        Seconded.

        • eloli

          Thirded.

          • [not a Dr]

            Four Horsemenned.

          • Lars Barres

            I can’t fathom not liking “Escape” – but to each their own. Is it too melodic? I like that it is – a nice contrast to some other stuff on the record. And those lyrics are pure ’80s metal gold.

      • Danny Becker

        me, too

      • strychnin

        Had to listened to it right away. Seems that Aguy will have to wait for any objective response.

      • chitownproud85

        Yeap, good stuff. Not sure any of the first four Metallica albums has a bad song on them…I certainly dont feel the need to skip anything.

        …if I’m totally honest with myself, I dont think the “Black” album did either, but maybe the rose colored glasses are really getting foggy here.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Fuk yeah Escape is a cool song

      • Ted Nü-Djent ™

        Never understood the hate. In fact, I didn’t even know people didn’t like it until the internet rolled around

    • eloli

      “material that’s been placed on a higher pedestal than it ever really deserved”

      Dude, I appreciate your honesty, but Metallica’s first four albums are on the highest possible pedestal for a very simple reason: they’re just mind boggingly great.
      I know, music is not objectively good or great, it just is, but let me elaborate here.
      When Kill ’em All came out, nothing out there sounded like it.
      When Ride the Lightning came out, few bands embodied how powerful metal could be, and the few that could didn’t write such great songs.
      When Master of Puppets came out, people outside metal started taking the genre seriously.
      When Justice came out, again, nothing out there sounded like it, and the record industry was blindsided about how some scrappy band could get so fucking popular without radio or MTV.
      Yeah, I know that thirty years down the road, those records may not sound that groundbreaking, intense or life changing, and I don’t expect you to understand that simply because you weren’t there, and a lot of the magic within these records is just about being a teenager in the mid to late 80s.
      I can’t simply say that those four albums are objectively good, it just happens that they were very original, came at the right time and became insanely popular, and that must be worth something, I think.
      Now, let me tell you a story:
      Last week, I was driving home for work and listening to Metallica’s new album.
      At one point, I was waiting for a red light to turn green in really busy crossing, when I noticed both the cars at my right and left were listening to Metallica, the same album, and he same song (Moth to a Flame).
      We weren’t perfectly synched up, though, that could’ve happenned in the old days, when lots of people listened to the radio instead of streaming and bluetoothing.
      Anyhow, the three of us were amazed by the coincidence, and nodded accordingly.
      Now, I can’t think of a any heavy metal band that could’ve made that scenario possible (not even Maiden), not in the US, or Europe, but in the literal rear end of South America, where I live.
      So yeah, pedestal my ass, Kill ’em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and Justice are untouchable heavy metal monoliths that stand on their own, and they will never be duplicated simply because the circumstances around their creation can’t and won’t be duplicated.

      • Diego Molero

        Where are you from? Venezuelan here, just curious.
        And I totally agree with your point, and I wasn’t even close to be alive when Metallica started making music. Those 4 albums are simply untouchable

        • eloli

          Uruguayan.
          But, to be fair, when those first four albums came out I was living in Costa Rica, and for a brief period, France.
          Fun fact: before the Black Album came out, Anthrax was as popular as Metallica in Costa Rica. Or that’s how I remember it, anyway. :D

          • Diego Molero

            That is indeed a fun fact. Anthrax is waaaay less popular than Metallica (clearly). I mean every metalhead knows Anthrax, but basically every person knows Metallica.

          • GrandmasterB

            How did the two of you learn English so well? Surely it couldn’t have been the result of listening to metal lyrics.

          • Diego Molero

            Actually, it kinda is. I mean, not entirely of course, but music (in general), helped me a lot in learning english. Also movies, books, and stuff like that. I’m self-taught. I still have some minor difficulties , but I’m only 17 years old, so I considered myself as a good english speaker.

          • eloli

            English’s a very easy language to learn.
            As a kid, I had a much harder time learning French, which is related to Spanish, than English in school, and to this day, I can barely understand Portuguese, which is suppossedly almost identical to Spanish. Believe me, it’s not. :P
            Please don’t take this the wrong way, but due to my job, I have to speak both with native English speakers who learned Spanish as adults, and native Spanish speakers who learned English as adults, and the former have a much harder time expressing themselves than the latter, I usually tell them something along the lines of “dude, I’m bilingual, just quit it already and let’s chat in English”. :D
            Anyhow, my guess is that the biggest hurdle for native English speakers when it comes to mastering conversation in Spanish (and most Romance languages), is that the verb “to be” is actually two different verbs, “ser” and “estar”, that that are used depending on the subject’s condition, the former when its a permanent or inherent condition, and the latter when it’s transitory. For example, the phrase “the apple is green” in Spanish could be written as “la manzana está verde”, which would mean “the apple is still not ripe” (transitory condition) or “la manzana es verde”, which would mean “the apple’s color is greeen” (permanent condition).
            Sorry for the rant, but one of my worst pet peeves is hearing an English speaker greet me with a “Soy muy feliz de verte” instead of a “Estoy muy feliz de verte”. :D

          • [not a Dr]

            French speakers have that same issue. The other thing both native French and English speakers have trouble with, is the implicit pronoun, they tend to always plug it in the sentence and get confused when they don’t hear it: “Yo estoy muy feliz de verte”.

          • GrandmasterB

            I learned English as a child of 9 after immigrating to the US from the FSU back in ’91 (right before the Monsters of Rock festival in Moscow, which Metallica headlined) and acquired English effortlessly through immersion. However, my parents would dispute your claim that English is a very easy language to learn as they struggled with the reconciliation of the numerous grammatical differences between Russian and English, not to mention the pronunciation. My original comment was prompted by the fact that I have seen your posts before and it never even occurred to me that you weren’t a native English speaker.

          • Vice-President of Hell

            no, it’s just ’cause russians are terrible at foreign languages. 95% of population can’t speak any language except for russian. give them a chance to learn a very close ukrainian language and they will fail that too

          • GrandmasterB

            Yeah, I guess you’re right — the only Russians with linguistic abilities have been deployed abroad as spies.

          • Nahuel Benvenuto

            i learned by playing video games and watching movies as a kid, dont ask how, i have no idea

          • Diego Molero

            That’s how I learned. I mean, I know it was because of that, but I wasn’t trying to learn or anything like that

          • [not a Dr]

            My father used to say that he spoke English fluently. It’s the English-speaking people who won’t understand.

          • Nahuel Benvenuto

            eh viva la hermandad latinoamericana, saludos de Argentina

      • Dr_Fisting

        This guy, right here.

      • chitownproud85

        Cheers, motherfucker.

      • This might be the most fun reply of the year on AMG.

      • Ted Nü-Djent ™

        I want to have your children

      • herrschobel

        haha ! Full on !!

    • [not a Dr]

      “[…], and others that could use a haircut […]”
      It is widely accepted that haircuts were where it started going downhill.

    • Drew P. Weiner

      Sure there’s a difference. The first four Metallica albums are heavy. I couldn’t agree more re: buttmetal but no, the first four Metallica records are the work of a very different band. And you’re right, no one ever liked “Escape” (I always thought it sounded like a Wendy O tune) but there are riffs in that song that would easily be the heaviest thing on “Hardwired”.

  • Phil Daly

    Missed opportunity to have “Give in to your St Anger” on the summary page?

    I like a few tracks on this, but production notwithstanding, I think Death Magnetic has the better songs, on average. This has a few nice moments, but even then it still feels like they’re borrowing too heavily from their past selves, as though the only thing that can possibly influence Metallica is Metallica, and dear God it plods. Granted, Maiden were as guilt of that on Book of Souls, but that still feels more enjoyable than this. Whole thing just feels bloated, and releasing videos for all tracks (and what the hell is that Mayhem spoof all about?!) does seem like a gimmick to deflect attention from the actual songs.

    • RDGEEK

      Maybe not to deflect attention but to ensure some of the songs don’t fall off into the void and never get heard.

  • ‘“ManUNkind” finds Hetfield yarling like a goddamn buffoon again’

    I found this line particularly humorous.

    • Matus Dust

      Agreed, enjoyed that one quite a bit.

  • Thatguy

    Where’s the unicorn?

  • Kill The King

    3.0 is higher than I thought AMG would rate it. I’m still kind of soaking it all in, but damn, the new Witchery owns me right now.

  • Adam

    My thoughts similar, as I posted elsewhere. The first disc is dare I say very good, the second mostly filler except for Spit out the Bone. Also bonus track Lords of Summer is better than anything else on disc 2.
    2.5 for me but a 3.5 if I strip out a few of the more boring songs.

    • chitownproud85

      Agreed, totally. I honestly think Lords of Summer would be the 2nd, at WORST, 3rd best song on the album…and have no idea why they left it to a bonus disc and included some of the other drivel. If you swap out…say…”Am I Savaged” for “Lords of Summer”…I feel like you gain a half a point right there.

  • Refined-Iron Cranium

    Still can’t get over how silly some of these song titles are. ManUNkind? Seriously? What was the thought process behind this song?

    James: Hey guys, I got an idea for the title for this next track. We’ll call it Man… UNkind.
    Kirk: Uh…
    Rob: I don’t…
    Lars: *stands looking at the other two smugly*
    James: Get it? ’cause it’s mankind, but…
    Rob: Oh, I see, ’cause like…
    Lars: Like, this is some deep fuckin intellectual shit, like, it’s subliminal fuckin’ messaging in your brain about, like, society and people, man.
    Kirk: …

    (also the title track ripped off Newsted’s Soldierhead)

    • RDGEEK

      But it has to be the baby-Lars from the Napster cartoon, crawling around the edge of the screen…

      • Refined-Iron Cranium

        “Me and my buddy like, James Hetfield here shed blood, sweat and motherfucking beer to get where we are today!”

    • Nag Dammit

      I also thought it might include a dig at the United Nations but on second thoughts, I might have being a bit un-UNkind.

      • Refined-Iron Cranium

        Nah, Megadeth already covered that with United Abominations. Wouldn’t want another case of Metallica borrowing Dave Mustaine’s ideas now ;)

        • Nag Dammit

          If you listen very carefully you can hear the sound of Mustaine stating that he wrote half of this album before he left Metallica

          • Philip Pledger

            I dunno, not too sure Mustaine would want to lay claim to their post-black album content. Then again, the man did think it was a good idea to release Super Collider, so what do I know. :P

    • MastersApprentice

      This made me laugh, thank you. This sounds exactly like the type of conversation they would have in the studio…

  • Huck N’ Roll

    I’d have also gone with a 3 on this. The good: seven of the songs. The bad: the other five songs. The ugly: the drum sounds, and the drum playing.

    • 2.5 tops.

      • Reese Burns

        To me, what makes it a good record rather than a mixed one is that there are more good songs than bad, and I definitely like the good ones more than I dislike the bad ones.

        • Even the good songs drag on 2-3 minutes past the expiration date. Too much filler, not enough killer.

          • Reese Burns

            Maybe my standards were a bit lower for this album than most people. I think we could both agree that with a little restraint though, the record coulda been something special.

          • No dice.

          • [not a Dr]

            FILL ‘EM ALL!!!!!!!!

      • Adam

        That’s kind of where I sit. It has enough good songs to be a legitimately good album.. but then pads it out with repetitive end-song reffing and most of the second disc is meh.
        2.5 is fair, 3 is also fair, I rounded down.

    • Treble Yell

      I’d say this is a “3” from me as well. Then again, I’m an avowed Load/Re-Load apologist.

  • Alexandre Barata

    “Atlas, Rise!” has a cool riff and is overall a very nice song, something I can’t say about anything they made since Reload (yes, Reload isn’t a great Metallica album, but it has catchiness, even if it lacks balls). Other than that song this album couldn’t grab my attention, although I prefer it to Death Magnetic. I would give it a 3.0 for that second song, but the rest of the album make it a 2.0 for me

  • tomasjacobi

    Rating this 3/5 is an insult to bands who earned their “good” rating by releasing enjoyable albums.
    And what happened to rating albums in relation to the band’s entire discography?
    Sure, Metallica has released garbage for more than 20 years now, but they are responsible for some amazing, classic albums. Compared to those this mediocrity deserves a 2/5 or less.

    • Dr_Fisting

      I found this album enjoyable, to some extent. And I consider it a 3.0 in relation to the rest of the discography, i.e. “St. Anger” and “Reload” hover around 1-2, “Lightning” and “Puppets” are 4.5-5.

      • tomasjacobi

        “enjoyable, to some extent.”
        That, and the whole review, sounds like a “mixed” rating :-)

        • Dr_Fisting

          Hey, if it makes you feel better, take a post-it note, write “2.5” on it, and stick it to the screen over the actual rating. I said what I meant.

          • tomasjacobi

            Done!

          • tomasjacobi

            And hey, I respect your opinion and always enjoy reading your reviews. I just think this album is really undeserving of a “good” rating.

    • Listening to a local radio broadcast this morning, it actually made me sick to my stomach hearing the hosts pushing this album as being just about the best thing since sliced bread. To think that they’re creating so much hype around a mediocre (at best) album, encouraging people to go out and spend their hard-earned cash on it… there’s better out there that deserves our attention.

      This shouldn’t bother me as much as it does, but it’s Metallica… they gave us Master of the Puppets for goodness sake… what happened!

      • tomasjacobi

        Hear, hear!

      • Dr_Fisting

        That happens every time they put a record out. The “Some Kind Of Monster” doc has a montage of media people losing their shit over “St. Anger.”

  • madhare

    I think Madam X and other commenters are right. It’s actually only 2.0. But it gets an extra +1 from the long-time fan reviewer who is simply relieved that it isn’t a complete piece of shit. Both views are understandable, but in the end the album is just “Meh”.

    • h_f_m

      I resemble that, I personally liked Dream No More though. I thought it was definitely one of the better structures and solos on the album.

      I think Hardwired, Atlas, Moth, Dream, Confusion and Bone are good enough to hold them album together to be a good one.

      What they should have done was dumped the rest and included Lords of Summer and the Dio medley and made that the album.

      Of course I can sit here and critique it and still not make an original song anywhere near as good as any of them on the album. :)

  • DrChocolate

    My main problem is I can’t tell who they’re writing for anymore. Are they writing songs for their First 4 fans? Are they writing for that weird fan base who also like 5FDPunch and was stoked about them touring with Limp Bizkit? Are they writing for teeming Middle? I don’t think they’re Amon Amarth-ing it (i.e. releasing an album just so they have a reason to tour again). As much as I would like it, I don’t think they’re going full Darkthrone either and writing songs they want to hear and don’t give a flying fuck what anyone thinks – there’s just not enough audible passion for that to be true. Which brings me back to my original question, who are Metallica writing for? I don’t think they know either, which is exactly why this album is half good with some genuinely promising tracks, and the other half is overstuffed humdrum banality.

    • RDGEEK

      You don’t believe them when they say they’re simply writing songs they like and want to play, and hopefully others like it too? Why must there be a calculation beyond them being creative and wanting to share it? They’ve got gobs of money and a priceless back catalog, so if they actually are in the enviable position of doing whatever the hell they want to, isn’t that a cool thing?

    • Vice-President of Hell

      their main audience is audience of dead presidents

  • beurbs

    It’s ridiculous getting into conversations about this album with people that don’t go on the AMG site. They think this album is great because they’re comparing it to Metallica’s recent past, instead of the vast array of modern metal at large. If I play 2016 Haken, Ihsahn, Barishi, Anaal, Testament etc I just see this glazed look come over their faces like they’re watching a Chinese soap opera and have no comprehension of what’s happening.

    • Dr_Fisting

      I don’t think Metallica needs to match any of those bands, or even exist in the same context as them. They’re not “extreme,” they’re a band that writes good songs and great riffs — which is why “normal” people like them.

      • MelbCro

        That sounds like accepting mediocrity, no thanks.

        • eloli

          Writing good songs and great riffs is mediocre now? The nerve of some people! :P

          • MelbCro

            I don’t think they are good songs, the album is shit. If this kind of music didn’t have Metallica’s on it I wouldn’t even have even bothered checking it out.

    • Nag Dammit

      Give them Xoth, Black Fast, Beyond Creation and Vektor and they’ll shit themselves.

  • Oberon

    Their Rainbow medley makes me really want to hear a full rendition of Stargazer, but that is all

    • Dr_Fisting

      With Hetfield yarling his way through it? No thanks.
      However, I do dig the “Kill the King” section. They should’ve just covered that song.

      • Oberon

        Metallica is still a consummate cover band, they have that going for them

  • dedseed1

    While it’s not the streaming pile of shit that I’m used to hearing from the band that got me into metal in the mid 80s, it’s not something I can see myself returning to very often if at all. I’m glad they’re taking a step in the direction of their older stuff, but just isn’t my cup of tea anymore. This album is being celebrated all over the Internet (thank god AMG isn’t a site that jumps on the bandwagon! ) because it’s not terrible. Blows my fucking mind :/

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    These guys are nearly as good as King 810

  • The Nerd.

    That last paragraph you wrote Doc is perfect for this comment section. I personally love it but can understand why others dont

  • Half of the album needs to go. Of course, they get double royalties for a double album and won’t sell any less because it is a double album. Metalli¢a

    • Dr_Fisting

      Is that how that works?

      • Nag Dammit

        Shit – that is sooo lame. Swallow the Sun must be rolling in it.

  • SegaGenitals

    Metallican’t. No thank you.

  • SuzyC

    Haven’t cared what Metallica does for a LONG time. I moved on.

    • RDGEEK

      Thanks for contributing that insightful comment to the discussion.

  • chitownproud85

    Loved the bookends of this album .Spit out the Bone, particularly James’ performance, is enough to make you ask WHY – WHY cant they do THIS with regularity – WHY is THIS the exception to the rule – WHY cant James just deliver the lyrics with piss and vinegar and not with a yarl and noodle doodle – WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY. WHY are the rest of the songs on the album NOTHING LIKE THOSE TWO. Its almost like they are straight up throwing a bone – like, here guys, we know this is what you came for…now enjoy our “artistic expressions” on the other 10 songs. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

    • Drew P. Weiner

      Couldn’t agree more. Hetfield’s post-“Load” crooning leaves me totally cold. So he “sings” now…great…but does he ALWAYS have to do it that way? There’s no snarl, no animosity, no bite. Those years where he was pretending to be a cowboy ruined him.

      • RDGEEK

        There’s plenty of snarl and bite on this album (see “Spit Out the Bone” where he actually borders on *overdoing* the snarl). It’s not the only way he sings now though, but, hey, people change.

  • Philip Pledger

    As usual, there’s a quality 45 – 55 minute album buried somewhere in those 77.5 minutes that we got. Metallica’s refusal to self-edit is back with a vengeance, it seems. For the sake of having a visual aid, I created a graph of Metallica album lengths. I think it pretty clearly illustrates the problem.

    http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2cd5fb3cb39f35b72789c2e2f708255462e104da61a79d97ed52e41e30459efc.png

    • André Snyde Lopes

      It is not coincidence that their best album is also their shortest.

      • Asral

        There are actually two albums in the list that are shorter than their best album.

        • Diego Molero

          C’mon Ride the Lighting is better

          • Asral

            Ride the lightning is great, but I prefer Master of puppets.

          • Diego Molero

            Fair enough. I really think RtL is better and is also my favorite. Although my favorite song by Metallica is from MoP, “Battery”.

          • The Unicorn

            Im a Justice fan…I know…

            (goes to corner and cries)

          • Diego Molero

            Hey, I freaking love Justice, more than Kill ‘Em All. For me it goes like this:
            Ride the Lightning
            Master of Puppets
            …And Justice for All
            Kill ‘Em All
            The Black Album
            .
            .
            .
            .
            .
            Shit

          • Reese Burns

            I’d switch the Black Album and Kill ‘Em All around, but other than that, our lists are about the same

          • The Unicorn

            Agreed, but I also favor Master over Ride.

          • h_f_m

            For me, unpopularly probably…

            Justice
            Ride
            Kill ’em
            Master
            ——-
            Garage Days (Re-Re first.. but I like that Mercyful Fate Medley so.. I’ll Merge them..)
            Hardwired
            Beyond Magnet
            Magnet
            Black
            St Anger
            Load
            ReLoad
            S&M
            LuLu

            But between those top 4 albums, most likely which one I like better depends on when you ask me, that list has moved around quite a bit and probably will continue to. I think the above represents the overall average ranking for the last 30 years of listening.

            Lets get something straight though, just because I put them in this order doesn’t mean I don’t like them all for one reason or another. I’m not going to sit here and say St Anger sucks. Sure, I hated it when it released, it was a vast divergence. It took me years to actually go back to it and spin it for a week before I was like this is actually a good fucking album. The only ones I don’t really care for are Load and Re-Load, but down to St Anger I actually go back to them quite a bit. Trutfhfully the Black Album is the only one I haven’t gone back to much even though I do like it.

          • Diego Molero

            My issue with The Black Album is that I think it’s really good but it has some songs I considere fillers, like “Of Wolf and Man” and “Don’t Tread on Me”, I always skip those songs. Although I admit that album does have a soft spot on me, it was my first Metallica album (and in Metal in general), and “The Unforgiven” was the song that introduced me to Metallica. But yeah, Kill ‘Em All and The Black Album come close. The other three are untouchable.

      • it fit with one of the AMG’s motto: less is more.

    • Danny Becker

      I think Load (aside from poor twisted me and thorn within) is a masterpiece. I’m in the minority, I know :( I think Destruct is better than st anger and reload though :)

      • Philip Pledger

        I honestly like Load too, if not on the same level as their pre-Load material. There was an interview Hetfield had with Guitar World (back when the magazine actually had quality content) with a relevant section on Load, Reload, self-editing, and why Lars screws everything up. “On Load and ReLoad, I learned that when you write too many songs, your focus gets watery; it gets diluted. I hate that part of us. We know how to take an okay song and make it good. But the question lately has been, Do we have the discipline to dismiss an average song and say it’s not on the record? Do we know when something is not good enough? We used to have that discipline early on. And I attribute that to having blinders on – that fuckin’ attitude that says, ‘Fuck that, it’s not heavy enough to put on the album.’ In the Nineties we tried to embrace everything and Bob Rock was good at helping us do that. Each time we did, we opened our eyes a little more, but the discipline kind of went away. We became craftsmen instead of destructors. So from Load and ReLoad, what I learned is that I can’t spread it out over 40 songs. I just can’t. I’d rather have eight powerful songs than 14 so-so songs. … Lars and I battle constantly about that. I’d rather have eight that are going to get people hard, and he’ll go, ‘Let’s play ’em all.’ I don’t want fluff. I don’t want extra stuff. I don’t want bonus tracks. I don’t want, ‘You gotta give ’em more.’ Fuck that. I want to give them GOOD. And if it’s good, they’re gonna want more. It’s as simple as that. That frustrates me a lot. And he and I go back and forth on that.”

        Oh the irony of all that, now that they’ve released a bloody double album and their longest since Load. :P

        • Danny Becker

          wow, they nailed it 20 years ago, but never followed through with some reason

  • Drew P. Weiner

    Problem #1: The damn songs are way, way too long.
    Problem #2: Hetfield’s crooning might work well with their more commercial lite-rock type stuff but he too often sounds neutered here.
    Problem #3: Every time you think it’s about to get heavy it doesn’t. They go for the hook too often when they should go for the crush. This gives the overly-long songs a bad sense of repetition for repetition’s sake.

    All things considered it’s probably their best record since “Black” but this nonsense about it fitting in snugly with real Metallica is silly. The first four records (and $5.98) laugh at “Hardwired”, not even in the same ballpark.

  • sevenslab .

    This album is crap…the instrumental is pretty solid in most songs but Hetfeild is just horrible. It may be that the band set the bar so high in the past that they just can’t reach it anymore, reguardless though, far from their best effort and if this is their best, it may be time to give it up.

  • Mad_Iguana

    I’m pretty much in tune with this whole review. Might go for 3.5 myself, to be honest, but it’s borderline. I agree that there are places where the album drags a lot, but there’s a definite 4.0 album in there with the following tracklist:
    Hardwired; Atlas, Rise!; Now That We’re Dead; Moth Into Flame; Confusion; Here Comes Revenge; Spit Out The Bone.
    I know that Now That We’re Dead, Confusion and Here Comes Revenge aren’t the strongest tracks on the album, but they break up the faster ones nicely. It’s a 51 minute album now with decent variety.

  • flashgordon

    The review is spot on. Just take Atlas Rise, Halo on Fire and Spit out the bone to your playlist and be happy for some new Metallica…

  • Berit Dogg

    I hate this album regardless of its merit.

  • lennymccall

    I’m just gonna edit a list of the songs I like together and call it Hardwired on my iPhone. Much easier than skipping past all the junk they couldn’t edit out themselves. The sad part is I can’t remember a time I’ve ever had to do that with a band I liked as I’m usually a full album listening guy. But ugh too many flubs on this one. It’s gonna be an Ep, Ha!

  • Tyr

    Sorry, 1.5 or 2.0 tops. Fan since RTL….the only songs on here I like are the title track and Pain. The rest of it sucks.

  • Dr_Fisting

    Since a lot of us are talking about making our own edits of this album, here’s mine. (And yes, “Am I Savage” sucks, but it’s been stuck in my head for 2 days, so I added it). http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e1425b2ec9ab9e8bf25e0f2a07ebb6071295215d9526bbb035de7d0f233fe91e.png

    • The Phantom (Lord) Edit!

    • RDGEEK

      Pretty close to mine. I include “Dream No More” and keep “ManUNkind” instead of “Am I Savage?”. So, nine songs to your eight. Mine’s the “Justice” version, I guess. Lol

    • Reese Burns

      Aside from Savage, yours and mine are pretty well identical. I switched Atlas and Now That We’re Dead around though.

    • Adam

      I keep Dream No More and Confusion (minority on this one it seems) and lose Now That We’re Dead, Here Comes Revenge and Am I Savage. + Lords of Summer promoted from bonus track.

    • h_f_m
      • Dr_Fisting

        There’s a strong case for promoting “Lords…” from bonus track.

  • FutureBeyondSatan

    I like it. I still can’t forgive Lulu, though.

    • For me, the best thing Metallica did in the last 25 years, was acting as backing band for Lou Reed. Still spin Lulu every now and then, and it’s still as good as when I first heard it.
      I’ll skip Hardwired though…

      • HMG, is that you??

      • tim.o

        … and the cracker boys go: “I am the table; I am the table”.

  • Bart the Repairman

    At 3rd spin I was beginning to almost like this album, despite all it’s flaws (and my initial criticism). Refreshing my memory by playing Ride the Lightning first time since 5 or 6 years brought me to back to my senses.

  • Wilhelm

    3.5/5 on this one, I really enjoyed several of the songs and found no real clunkers, a couple less inspired ones on disc 2 but nothing shameful. This is the first Metallica album released since the black album that I can get behind…next I would like to see them ditch the standard rock influence all together and make a really cool NWOBHM album, which is quite possible but highly unlikely.

  • Ryutallica

    They forced themselves to release a double album cause of guilties of 8 years long waiting period and to correct their fault they did releasing separate Load/Reload albums.

    Second fault is the attempt to prove “still i’ve got it,i can play thrash”,so they threw hardwired,Spit Out,Moth speedy fast songs for die hard fans,then Dream No More style for Load/Reload fans.

    The first CD is decent and if you take Spit and put it there you have 7 really promising good songlist,second CD lacks power,inspiration,speed,too long parts,actually CD2 is garbage expect Spit song.

    Trujillo can’t sing back vocals,they left him out of writing,this is a bit unfair cause Rob isn’t just a sessionist bassist.Same thing with Kirk,fine,he lost 250 riffs/solos stuff,but again nothing we haven’t heard before,the classical wah wah loop and some licks here,there.

    Is this stuff better from Testament’s Brotherhood album,Mustaine’s Dystopia?,Kreator is another level,we still waiting their new album.

  • Niviss

    I don’t agree with most of the commenters.

    I would rate this as a solid 3.5. What can I say, Metallica really resonates with me. The supposedly weaker songs like “Confusion” and “ManUNkind” sound great to my ears (the latter has an amazing rhythm!). Metallica isn’t trying to play Thrash metal, or at least not pure thrash metal. In this record they play fairly traditional catchy heavy metal that is sometimes closer to thrash (Hardwired, Spit Out The Bone), sometimes closer to groovy hard rock (Am I Savage, Murder One, ManUNkind, Dream No More), sometimes closer to british new wavish heavy metal (Atlas Rise, Moth Into The Flame).

    Comparisons to Brotherhood of the Snake are simply *out of place*. Metallica isn’t trying to achieve AT ALL the same vibe that Testament is trying to build. (I was going to say how HTSD record is actually much more memorable but I would be falling into the same mistake).

    I agree though that some songs are bit overlong and I cannot get myself to enjoy the chorus in Now That We’re Dead and Halo On Fire, but overall to my ears it’s more of a success than a failure.

  • Shane R

    I hear a lot of recycling in this album. To my ears, it is really tired: a mail it in effort. Not good.

  • dblbass

    That band pic at the top….I mean….WHAT THE FUCK?? Their eyes look ….I don’t know…..jacked up. I don’t know what detail I’m trying to nail here….but ..WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE?

    • GardensTale

      Just looks to me like they are trying to look tough while staring into really bright studio lights for way too long.

      Not a bad allegory for the album, actually….

  • Innit Bartender

    I applaud the Good Doctor for a very good and balanced review.
    I tried to listen to some tracks the day they were posted online with the videos, but really, to me Atlas is just James singing another vocal line over Creeping Death…
    That aside, I loose myself in the bigger question: who needs a Metallica review? I mean, it’s like a Marvel movie or a new Saw movie or a new Hostel movie: you already know everything there is to know, you already know if you’ll see it or not, and only you will be the judge wheter you liked it or not.
    Some may go that this applies to every review, but it doesn’t. I want(ed) to read a review of the new Testament or the new Anthrax… mostly because with those bands it’s all about the music. With Metallica is more like a reality show, will they won’t they…

  • MemberBerries

    Member Ride the Lightning…Member Battery…yeah I remember

  • ElectricEye

    Approaching a new Metallica album is like going on a blind date. You are hoping for Giselle, but you end up with your cousin Gladys. Sure, you still are going to hit it, but you won’t brag to anyone about it.

  • Jeremy Freeman

    Yeah almost everything on here was very Load/Reload-esque. Except Moth To Flame and Spit Out The Bone. Everything else was very mid-tempo and blues. The Song Hardwired was ok, but to short, and generic. I do actually like Death Magnetic better. Also they over analyze some of the EASIEST riffs that a 10 year old could play. That tells me they let Bob Rock burn them out on being so ANAL about the most simplistic things. Like having 1500 riffs just lying around? Really? That’s sad. In the 80’s they wrote, recorded, played live and just kicked ass. It wasn’t FORCED!! Oh well. I figured as much.

  • I spun this disc so many times. And grew bored of it mostly. Specially after the other bands of the era keep releasing good albums.

    Perhaps they are suffering Maidenitis? Too long of an album. Madam_X is right.- 2.0 is a good number for this album. Set, forget, and put it on the vault among the old yellos books so no one else finds it.

  • themetalyears

    Took me awhile to work up the courage to listen to this, but I will say that the band sounds relaxed and confident, which to my (admittedly aged) ears is an improvement over the clenched-teeth anxiety of Death Magnetic. A lot of fat on this bone, but you do get the sense that these guys just enjoy getting in a space and jamming together, regardless of how long the riff drags out. A solid effort from my childhood heroes that got my head banging on more than one occasion.

  • [not a Dr]

    Metallica, I can’t stay mad at you…

    When you inflicted the Black Album upon me, I listened to it with an open mind. I really tried.
    But I couldn’t be the fan you wanted me to become.
    Thanks to that album, I discovered that there were plenty other fish in the sea. More kvlt and trve than you were willing to be.
    I discovered a whole new universe of metal I didn’t even suspect existed, which you were eclipsing with your awesomeness of old.

    I forgive everything you have been doing to yourselves since 1991.
    I’m not 16 years old anymore, so I can’t love what you’re doing nowadays the way I would have loved it 25 years ago. But I can imagine how I would have felt listening to this at that age.
    And, because of that, I’m buying this and keeping an ear out for the next one.

  • Óðinn

    Well, at least the album name is appropriate.

  • Pedro Morini Mietto

    Wanna make this album better? Listen on Youtube with 1.25 speed.

    Try at Atlas Rise and listen to a very cool song!