Review: Metallica's 'Hardwired' Shreds Back to Vintage Eighties Terror

Rolling Stone


It's been eight years since Metallica's last studio album. But that's small change next to their long haul to this two-disc resurrection: via the jagged apocalypse of 1988's ...And Justice for All and the focused brawn of 1991's Metallica. The mostly epic-length tracks – almost entirely written by drummer Lars Ulrich and singer-guitarist James Hetfield – are melodically assured furies of serial riffing and tempo shocks. "Hardwired," "Atlas, Rise!" and "Now That We're Dead" are relentless whirls of tribal chug and hyper-thrash, braking hard at the title chorus lines. One striking passage: bassist Robert Trujillo's foreboding glide in front of "ManUNkind." Guitarist Kirk Hammett's torrid wah-wah solos affirm his standing as heavy metal's most tuneful arsonist. And after working out his interior rage earlier in this century, Hetfield is on vintage lyric ground in the wastelands here: the false-idol worship in "Halo on Fire" and "Moth Into Flame"; the cycles of arrogance and inhumanity that breed payback in "Here Comes Revenge." In the blitzkrieg "Spit Out the Bone," Hetfield imagines an earth cleansed of man by the technology we crave. If you listen on your phone, be very afraid.

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