Is Metallica back? We won’t know until we hear the full album because the title-track of Hardwired… To Self-Destruct is the band doing everything that made them great, but like Death Magnetic it does sound like they’re trying too hard to invoke the fire that was doused long ago.
Of course the ‘Tallica can write amazing songs; they have a whole bunch of them even in Load and Reload but surely we don’t expect a group of men who have already achieved everything they wanted and a lot more to have anything other than personal pain to make songs about. Hey, what kind of angst about what’s wrong with the world would you write about if you had a fucking big house with vintage cars and spent a lot of time in your swimming pool with fancy cigars and the finest alcohol and everything else money can buy?
I don’t grudge Metallica their success; I fucking love them more than anybody else I know, but I also recognize soulless music when I hear it. It’s not hard to tell when a band is pretending to be affected by or even concerned about problems that’ll never touch them. I catch Indian metal bands bullshitting all the time, and hell, even Slayer has written some laughable lyrics. Kerry King concerned about oil wars, really? Even Megadeth gets tiring with Dave Mustaine singing way too much about politics than he should, and he’s another dude who really needs to go vegan.
So what does Hardwired have? The riffing from Kill ‘Em All with the sound Metallica is now known for. They’ve pumped themselves up and Kirk Hammett has been made to play a solo that makes me wonder if it was Megadeth’s latest album that made these four want to see if their old fans would come back if they did this. The lyrics are terrible, as if they were written by James Hetfield’s clone in Mumbai who doesn’t deserve more of a mention than this. Read the lyrics and you’ll see them pissing on Fight Fire with Fire, perhaps trying to extinguish that as well.
I’ll take Low Man’s Lyric over Hardwired (and Lords of Summer – ha!) any day, but I look forward to the new album anyway; if nothing else it’ll make for a few more conversations about the Big 3 (Anthrax has no place in a discussion about great bands) over several glasses of whatever you drink.