Hardwired...To Self-Destruct review by Metallica

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  • Released: Nov 18, 2016
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 7.8 (193 votes)
Metallica: Hardwired...To Self-Destruct
6

Sound — 7
On production and "sound," it's very similar to "Death Magnetic" (if "Death Magnetic" was done better), which is a relief due to the over compression on the last album.

James really stands out to me on this one, delivering better vocals then he has in a very long time, creating some very catch vocal melodies. It sounds like a really good combination between "Reload," "Black Album" and "Death Magnetic." It's a welcome sound that lets you feel very satisfied when listening.

Instrumentally it was a bit of a letdown. Throughout the entire album, there isn't a single guitar solo that sticks in your mind and give you goosebumps after hearing it. The wah pedal I can live with, there are a lot of creative and great things you can do with it (in appropriate amounts), but this is not one of those cases. Every guitar solo feels as if they finished the album, they pulled Kirk in for an hour and did one take improvisations for each song, and called it complete. It's a major disappointment if you're expecting incredible guitar solo.

As for the riffage, there's nothing incredibly memorable here. There's some great points in "Moth to a Flame," and during 1:37 in "Dream No More" is something I really dig. Otherwise they just feel like recycled riffs that "never made the cut" on previous albums. And on that same note, they drag on sometimes longer then they need to be. There will be lots of times where you go "Ah, and here comes the next vocal section," but instead it's just double time of the exact same section, played once again. I have nothing against long songs, I actually really enjoy them, but not when the goal is "Hmm, how can we make this longer?," and then just lazily duplicating sections for the sake of it.

Lyrics — 8
In a world where 85% of lyrics are about heart break and relationship issues, (once again) James doesn't fail to deliver. He always finds interesting things to write about, and if he doesn't, he always find creative ways to express those more simple subjects. Sometimes hearing other bands work, you think "oh gosh, how many different set of words can you deliver the same message but sound different," but James always finds a way to do that, and the end result never sounds cliche or just like another song. Lyrics are solid, not worse then previous albums, but not any better.

Overall Impression — 7
Instrumentally, I feel it's a step back from "Death Magnetic." Despite what a lot of people who are die hard "early Metallica" fans think, that album was a solid 8.5 for me. The only thing holding it back was the production quality. But this time they have the production, but but they failed to deliver in creativity. "Dream No More," "Halo on Fire," "Moth to a Flame" and "Now That We're Dead" are incredible songs, but the rest are just regular "not Metallica kind of level" songs.

Overall, I'm a little disappointed with the final result after waiting 8 years, but I'm not upset with (or have less respect for) the band. These guys are getting close to 60 years old, yet they still insist on playing 2 hour long shows, and putting out an entire album. I admire they're persistence and respect them just doing what they want to do. But hey, they're a legend, and there's always going to be an entirely different populous of fans who love this album through and through, that's just not me though.

26 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Mamurra
    So much people hate on the second disc... It's different, true, but it just takes more time for it to sink in. On Kirk's solos: give them time also. They might sound all the same at first, but I think he's pretty much conscious about them.
    jgsb2001
    I agree with your comments. I find myself humming Am I Savage? and Here Comes Revenge a lot. The more I listen to the whole album the more Kirk's solos sound right.
    Mamurra
    Now that I've been listening to it for like what? almost three weeks on repeat, it just sounds better and better. And there isn't really a huge difference between the two discs at all. What I like about this album is that it has a coherence just like they emphasized in interviews. It can be listened to in one go, and I don't want to skip songs or something. I think that the last album like this was the Black Album. Those that came after that were good but can sound like collections of songs at times. My biggest problem with DM was exactly that, in my opinion, it lacked this coherence. And the new version of Lords of Summer...! Man, that's absolutely a killer song, and James voice... blablabla, I could go on and on about this album in the same manner. So, I don't care about the shit it gets, I'm all for it. Give it time, give it a few listens. It's rewarding. Edit: On Kirk's solos part 2: it turns out, he was really on a mission here, meaning he consciously improvised them. And if you read one of the interviews with him, he said that's what he did on pretty much all of the songs on Kill 'Em All. I put on the CD and yeah... If I wanted to be critical about it, the same things could be said about those solos as well. But it's a classic record that nobody dares to question in any way. And I won't either.
    TACOHELL
    Great Album. I hope they turn another one quickly and get back in the swing of things. I got to admit there was a few times I felt like a kid again. I guess I needed that.
    powerstorm
    The more I listen to the album the more I enjoy disc 2. Specically, Here comes revenge and am I savage.
    jgsb2001
    Those two songs are so good! And I really love the videos that accompany those songs in particular. The whole album flows together perfectly. I put this album at a "9" because of its cohesiveness, outstanding riff-age, and amazing vocals. I cannot understate how good James sounds vocally.
    Sidlavs
    It grows on me! The first three listens where not bad. Now a few days later listening it for the fourth time and it seems much better, especially the second disk.
    suli5591
    best metal album in the world to ever get released since black album and it gets this rating? lmao, deserves a 10/10 in all aspects friends, youre all just a bunch of haters. best album available in the world right now, love it. best guitarists, vocalist, bassist and drummer the world has seen so far. gonna go listen to it now, what an amazing album it is, number 1 in the world
    breadfan82
    I can't believe how badly the fans are willing to make lemonade here. This album is just bad. Just because it says "Metallica" on it doesn't mean we should or have to accept or excuse its lack of quality. It sounds exactly like what it is: 50-somethings trying EXTRAORDINARILY hard to recreate successes from thirty years ago by attempting to channel feelings that they haven't had in just as long. And why do they seem to think that the only problem the core fan base has had with their music over the last 25 years is that they don't write 8-minute songs? And if they don't think that, why has their only effort to improve the product been "oh shit, make it longer! Quick...we need more ego!!!" They proved they can still write an 8-minute song...they just can't write a GOOD 8-minute song, or at least one that doesn't have you begging to switch tracks at the 2 minute mark. Just because it's the only Metallica record we've had in 8 years doesn't give us the right to pretend it's better than it is. They haven't had a good record in 25 years--aren't the rest of you tired of being disappointed yet?
    Ristifer29
    Lol. Telling other people what to think. That's rich. Your last paragraph alone is just trying so hard. I don't know why you feel the need to try to hammer something home to others. If you don't like it, you don't like it. But don't make it some odd hard-on crusade because you don't like Metallica.
    breadfan82
    Oh, I don't know...it's no more hammering on a point than anyone else is doing. I like how you came in here with the "I got this" attitude. Your first four sentences were a collective failed attempt to appear profound on the internet. I do like Metallica. Been listening to them for 25 years. And what are your credentials on the subject? I don't usually assume this much about someone I've never met, but you sound like a 17-year-old scene kid with a Bring Me the Horizon tattoo that just heard of Metallica last week. At least I provided points to be agreed/disagreed with. All you did was wait for the right moment to use an embellished "calm down" comment. Yell upstairs and ask your mom if she's proud of you.
    deconno
    Other than James's vocals which are amazing on this album and the odd good riff, the rest is pretty boring. Kirks contributions are laughable, the bass is too low to be anyway meaningful, Lars doesn't go beyond 4/4 for the vast majority of the album and the drums are too loud in the mix. Overall a very underwhelming album. At least the live shows will be good.
    imarcelletti
    Overall, some SWEET songs. Doesnt have the Metallica feel, but great music. Definetly worth buying it As an album, on its own its alright. Compared to the first 5 albums... A pile of poop
    howyjr
    Lots of catchy elements to this album and it seems to take inspiration from their entire catalogue. Bit of a pity about Kirk's soloing though. Not sure what's happened to him in the last few years. Wish they'd developed the intro to manunkind a bit more. Overall pretty pleased with this effort.
    1eyedwillie
    Metallica is one of my three favorite metal bands. Hardwired was decent, but I definitely thought Magnetic was a better album. I wasn't necessarily looking for that Master Of Puppets/Kill Em' All record, but I was hoping that it was a little meaner sounding with some unforgettably tight riffs from James, but what do I know, gotta give them boys credit for hanging around as long as they have we it all the bumps that they've encountered down through the years...God bless em!!!!
    lukep1308
    I thought the album was ok, nothing more than that. Quite disappointed really... 4 songs stood out for me, Moth Into Flame, Atlas Rise, Spit Out The Bone and Hardwired
    PRSguitars87
    Even those who are reviewing it favorably are saying the second disc sucks. Every song has the same sound to it. The drums, once again, are way too loud and way too simple. I was looking forward to this "bass intro" on Manunkind and it was such a letdown. 30 seconds long and so bland. The whole album is just bland metal with a bunch of old redone tricks. There is nothing here that they havent done in 100 times before
    LordHawHaw
    Metallica's next project is rumoured to be an ambitious concept album based on Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell's Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 and is entitled "Dismantle 'Em All!"
    Megadeth2011
    I'd give it a solid 5 out of 10. It's not a bad album, but there were only 4-5 songs that I can get into. And that's unfortunate, because I really, really want to love this album. I really enjoy Hardwired, Moth Into Flame, Spit Out the Bone. Confusion isn't too bad, but most of the album, to me, is just mid-tempo and doesn't do anything for me. I really wanted to like Murder One, but it just falls flat. That's my biggest gripe with the album- tons of awesome intros, lots of great riffs, but then the fire dies as the song goes on. Lars's drumming seems to be holding them back- it's really basic mid tempo 4/4 beats that don't leave an impression on me, and him not being a driving force of the band makes this record seem like its monotonous and dragging in several areas. Between that and Kirk's uninspiring solos, the album just doesn't seem to be one that I'll look back on and want to play again. But the good songs are really, really good, and several of them are closer to 80s Metallica than we've gotten since Justice. If this was the last album Metallica put out, I think they ended on a good note.
    c660917
    "an album that almost serves as a proper summary of their entire career, pulling influences from nearly every era of the band." THIS Haters gonna hate. Metallica never stops rolling