Hardwired To Self Destruct Review – Metallica, Where Bass Players And Thrash Go To Die


What has Robert Trujillo brought to this band?

He has become, unfortunately, analogical to what’s happened to Metallica.

I think he represents what Metallica has become because he’s had no perceivable musical impact, and that holds for the band as a whole. They sell a ton of albums but musically this is a no impact uninspiring band. No impact doesn’t mean that they put out a bad product, just one that doesn’t have the quality one would expect from a once mighty musical machine.

Man, I feel way off even saying that because they haven’t put out a quality album since And Justice For All, so maybe I’m wrong and we haven’t come to expect anything other than what we’ve gotten since?

There is a thought by some in the community, yours truly included, that the band’s musical soul was lost when Cliff was taken from us, and based on all releases after Justice it is more than the proof one needs. This a corporate machine now, with a lost musical soul, that despite a mediocre product will still move inventory in huge numbers. This is now Metallica Inc.

We all know the history of the wrong turns that were Load/Reload, they’ve never been able to recover since they decided to, as some say, sellout. But I see it differently, I don’t think they sold out, I think after the massive sales of the heavy but boring Black Album that they began taking themselves too seriously and started seeing themselves as “artists” instead of Metalheads. They threw away all their roots, all their fundamentals, their composition skills, and decided to go Country Rock. The results were disastrous. Not only was the product horrific, Load/Reload are possibly the worst material by a major “Metal” band ever, but since they threw away everything that made them the greatest Thrash band ever, they have never been able to recover it.

The band that could have helped save Metal during the 90’s instead abandoned the movement. Once my favorite band, they became one that I felt left us all hanging after they struck gold with the Black Album. It was a betrayal.

The lesson is that once you throw away what made you great, the odds of recovery are near zero.

Metallica, as successful as they’ve become, have shown with the release of Hardwired than they have stayed true to recent form. And that’s not a good thing.

The album starts off promising with the release of the surprisingy powerful and venemous Hardwired, it was a great first release that caught us by surprise in its ferocity. But in hindsight this was a headfake because the rest of the album doesn’t begin to match it’s guttural power with the exception of the last song.

The songs that follow it, Atlas Rise, Now That We’re Dead, Moth Into Flame, and Dream No More are serviceable, somewhat forgettable songs. There are moments of what made this band great though, such as the midsection harmony solo of Atlas Rise, and the brief moments of speed and power in Moth Into Flame. At times it makes you think that maybe Lars is about to break into his old form like he did in Hardwired, but alas the moment of greatness is brief.

Halo On Fire is one of the better songs on CD1, though long and slow it has more soul than the rest of the songs on CD1. There is a bit of musical variation on it, and rhythm changes that work well in adding to the mood of the song.

CD2 starts with Confusion, a song about the inner battles of a veteran transitioning into civilian life. The video is far superior to the actual song itself. Which leads me to ask, why is the visual more emotionally impactful than the song itself? That is backwards and another indication of what Metallica has become.

ManUNkind is a good song, with its killer calm harmonic intro, leading into what turns out be a good song about James distrust of mankind. It’s a reminder that wayyyy too many of James lyrics are actually public therapy sessions. Therapy sessions YOU pay for. Heh. The highlight of the song again is…THE VIDEO, where they pay homage to Mayhem of Black Metal infamy.

Here Comes Revenge, Am I Savage, and Murder One follow, all mediocre and uninteresting songs.

Thankfully, CD2 ends where CD1 starts, with a Thrash, speed oriented song that is pretty good, though they still do too much of the twangy riffing crap. It is the highlight of CD2 and shows that this album could have been so much more than what it is. This song has speed, power, and feel. Where has this been throughout this album?

Well, I wish I could recommend this album wholeheartedly, but frankly I feel like I wasted my money because it is a mediocre release from a mediocre band that lost what made it great long ago. I honestly had high hopes after the release of the first single Hardwired, but began to lose it after each release, and now that we have the whole product before us it is definitely a letdown for me. And man, what happened to Kirk Hammett? His solos absolutely blow now, Lars actually outperforms him on every level when it comes instrumental mastery. And James voice continues to sound emotionless and without vigor.

Robert Trujillo continues to have NO impact, much like this album, and much like the bands music post Black Album. Nickeback can sell tons of discs but their music lacks creativity and soul, therefore no long term impact. That’s what Metallica is now like. They’ll sell millions, many will continue to think they tried, and others like me will be feeling void  knowing that we have received yet again verification that this band has all but disappeared musically.

Much like Metallica KILLED the creative writing and playing of Jason Newsted so too have they done to Rob Trujillo.

In the end, Hardwired To Self Destruct is not a return to form that many thought it would be, actually to me it’s regressive. Many thought Death Magnetic was a return to form but I find it boring as well, not bad, just boring, but to me the single Hardwired had a fire that was missing from Death Magnetic. But my hope was misplaced because as a whole, Death Magnetic is actually better than this album.

8 years for this. 8 freaking years. They’re just cashing it in at this point. All their peers from that wonderful Thrash era surpass Metallica in everyway except with sales, they know this, and that’s why they know they can release turd on a sandwich and millions will buy it and call it filet mignon.

Some of you will like or even love this album, but to me this is just another mediocre release from a mediocre band. Normally this is where I tell you buy an album, but frankly, I don’t care whether you do or not. If you like mediocrity, go for it, if you want a great Metal album buy the latest Testament/Avenged Sevenfold/Megadeth album instead.

Oh, and James, stop with those twangy riffs, you write wayyyyy too many of those.

4 Pompous Puckered Lips
2 Snotty Nose Flare

Do the math dummy

Review Formula:
Pompous Puckered Lip = 1 point
Snotty Nose Flare = .5 point
10 Highest Score

Carlos the Mexican king of all Metal