Brand New Metallica Single “Hardwired” Goes All Old School
By Jeff Feuerhaken
Metal legends Metallica have just dropped a bomb on the rock music community by the unexpected release of the first single and music video off their upcoming album Hardwired…To Self Destruct, available November 18. “Hardwired”, the first new Metallica song in 8 years, will no doubt delight fans of the band’s early years, as it revisits their thrash metal roots. The song is fast, featuring a double-time drum beat accompanied by the signature palm-muted 16th note picking style that first brought the band attention on their 1983 debut, Kill ‘Em All. James Hetfield’s vocals maintain that edgy intensity he is known for, but unlike a lot of metal singers, he brings a clarity that allows listeners to decipher the lyrics without too much work. The lyrics themselves are of the pissed off variety, and beyond that there’s not too much else to dig into. Hetfield drops some F-bombs along the way to show how mad he and the boys are. The only drawbacks in the song for me are some of the tones. I don’t know what it is with Metallica, but they have a tendency to go extreme on some of the drum sounds, usually to an unsatisfying result. Those who remember the coffee can snare drum of St. Anger will know what I’ve talking about here. The offender in “Hardwired” is not the snare, but rather the kick drum. I’m hearing A LOT of click, but very little of the bottom end, which is odd for a metal song. Whereas the guitar tone in Metallica songs is usually front-and-center and strong overall, I found the tone in this song a little too dry for my liking. I could have used a bit more of the classic Metallica distortion.
The accompanying music video for the song is also a throwback, but to a more recent time in the band’s history, specifically the megahuge hit, “Enter Sandman”. “Hardwired” echoes the strobe effects used in Sandman, resulting in brief flashes of the band otherwise obscured by total darkness. It’s nothing too flashy (get it?), but the vibe of the video is consistent with the no-nonsense character of the song. I’m certainly on board with this direction, and I hope that this sound is representative of the new album as a whole. Time will tell. Hardwired…To Self Destruct arrives in stores and online November 18th.