Metallica are one of the greatest bands of all time. Some people would call that an opinion, but they would be wrong. It is fact. Few bands have rewritten the rulebook as many times as James Hetfield and co. Go back and listen to Kill ‘Em All and then throw on Justice For All… and tell me that sounds like the same band. You can then mosey on down to the Black Album and hear something completely different.
And yet, despite that genre defining legacy, recent years haven’t been kind to ‘Tallica. The live show – while still good – is nowhere near its peak and the recorded output is at times dire. I mean did you hear Lulu? Even if you are kind enough to say it’s not as bad as people make out, you’d still have to be a nutjob to see it was anything better than terrible. It’s the legacy that keeps the fire burning.
Yet, last week we got the announcement that once again a Metallica album will be heading into the shops. Hardwired… To Self Destruct will be a double album coming in at around eighty minutes long and is set to be released in November. And I can’t help but think that is a terrible idea.
Look, double albums are tricky at the best of times. Nine out of ten would be better served by tossing that second CD off a bridge. They are even harder when you are a band who in recent years has struggled to release anything of supreme quality. Death Magnetic was alright, and that’s about it. While ‘Lords of Summer’ was dogshit. Which brings us nicely to ‘Hardwired’ the first single off the new album.
Which sadly drew an underwhelming ‘meh’ from me. It’s the musical equivalent of a bowl of cornflakes. It’s not that I dislike it, but it’s not got me excited. It sounds like a band trying to be Metallica rather than Metallica who are smashing down doors. If it had been given to me independently of the information of the new album information, it might have even got me excited. A three to four-minute metal track is exactly what I want from Metallica in 2016 when they are old men who honestly don’t have it in them to play huge epic songs anymore. Yet, every other piece of information suggests it will be the exception on the album rather than the norm.
Look, I love Metallica. I don’t like the complete lack of enthusiasm I currently feel for this album. I’m also pretty sure that the closer we get to it the more excited I’ll be. There’s no denying that it will be being bought on day one, and I’ll probably even convince myself I like it for a while. Christ, hopefully, I do like it. However, what I’ve heard so far doesn’t fill me with excitement but instead makes me wonder what Metallica are in 2016 and if it’s a band that I can love the way I love the band they used to be.