Metallica purists were thrilled with the speed and vigorous crunch of the first taste of Metallica’s new album, Hardwired… to Self Destruct, which will be released on the band’s label, Blackened Recordings, on November 18. The first tune released, “Hardwired,” has a lot of Metallica fans thinking the new album will be a throwback to the band’s first release, Kill ’em All, just as many believed that their last release, Death Magnetic, was a throwback to Metallica’s seminal Master of Puppets. However, Metallica fans might be wise not to get too riled for a double album worth of “Hardwired”-type tunes. With over 80 minutes of music covering 12 Metallica songs, “Hardwired” comes in at just a little over three minutes long, meaning that we’ve still got more than 76 minutes of music awaiting us in the 11 remaining tracks, which, if we do the math, means that each of the other remaining Metallica tunes on Hardwired… to Self Destruct could be almost seven minutes long.
What can we guess about the other tunes on Hardwired… to Self Destruct? Rolling Stone broke the news late last week that a snippet of a second song, “Moth Into Flame,” could be heard on the promotional video released for the new Metallica album. With a bit of Wah-pedal-laden guitar similar to something from the Load years removed, the song slides into a nice groove with more of those staccato lyrics from front man James Hetfield. “Blacked out! Pop queen, amphetamine, the screams (screens?) crashed in the silence…” But other than the initial “Hardwired” release, and an eight-second “Moth Into Flame” sneak peek, what more do we know about the new Metallica album?
Last week, Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo was asked about Hardwired… to Self Destruct, and he gave some very interesting responses that might have been missed by the national and international media. While speaking to Minneapolis-based City Pages about Metallica’s latest album, Trujillo was asked if “Hardwired” was like the rest of the songs on the album.
“I think so. ‘Hardwired’ is the perfect statement to lead into this body of music. I think this album sounds crushing. Sound-wise, it’s got a lot of firepower. I’m excited about the songs, but I’m also excited about the sound quality of the record. Greg Fidelman did a great job with the production.”
It’s interesting the Trujillo mentions the production quality of Hardwired… to Self Destruct. Metallica has taken some flack over the past few decades for just that. From the unheard bass on …And Justice for All, to the tin-can sounding snare on St. Anger, to the production of Death Magnetic, which a lot of fans thought was just mixed too loudly, Metallica has tried different things on different records, sometimes missing the mark.
Trujillo also gave some other hints as to the content of the other new Metallica songs.
“It’s really fun music, but it’s also challenging. It can be a bit complex, but there’s strong melodies. I feel we’ve matured in the right way as a band. We’ve had a lot of creative challenges over the years and as we’ve gotten older, we’ve been going for it, you know?”
“Fun music” is an interesting statement for a Metallica member to make about the band’s album. Yes, most Metallica fans would consider Metallica “fun music” to listen to, but descriptors like “crushing,” “huge,” and “powerful” have usually been more apt to describe the bands’ tunes in the past. Here, though, Trujillo might be referring to the recording process for Hardwired… to Self Destruct. In the making-of video released for “Hardwired,” it really does appear as if the band is having a good time making the record. Hetfield and drummer, Lars Ulrich, laugh about the recording process, Trujillo himself ribs producer Greg Fidelman in a humorous way, and guitarist Kirk Hammett seems to be at the top of his game on the solo.
The “complex” comment in the above quote is interesting as well. Metallica has been no stranger to complex structures in their songs. Their 1988 release, …And Justice for All, was an over-the-top crash course in the amount of time changes you can have on a single album. “Death Magnetic” was complex too, offering up a rich variety while reminding fans that James Hetfield is truly one of the best rhythm guitar players in the world. But does “complex” mean longer songs? Longer songs with multiple parts? And perhaps another return to the instrumental like we saw with Death Magnetic‘s “Suicide and Redemption?”
At the moment, we still have more questions than answers. We’ve waited eight years for a new Metallica album, and in a few months, all will be revealed with the release of Hardwired… to Self Destruct.
[Photo by Raphael Dias/Getty Images]