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Metallica: Self-Destruct

Coming eight years on the heels of Death Magnetic is the latest release from thrash metal legends Metallica, titled Self-Destruct. Now, I know to many fans Metallica have ceased to exist as a meaningful thrash act going on 25 years or so, and they've taken quite a beating from serious metal fans over the years while still appealing to the casual listener who will treat anything they pump out as gospel. Let's not get into all the extraneous bullshit that always seems to surround this band, and instead concentrate on the music of Self-Destruct, shall we?

First, to back up, Death Magnetic was a complete step in the right direction back to that classic Metallica sound, an album mired by crappy production but containing their best material since the black album, which, for many, helped reduce the sting of the crappy Load albums and certainly St. Anger. This one here features cleaner production, and seems to return to the bloat of And Justice For All, a 2CD set complete with a dozen tunes. Strangely enough, all of this could have fit cleanly into a single CD with maybe a tiny bit of trimming, as some of these songs plod along in the 6-7 minute range much like those 'Justice' songs did way back then, nothing a little editing couldn't have solved. That being said, some vintage sounding stuff to be found here, like the rip snorting kick off track "Hardwired", that, despite the cringe worthy lyrics and 'click-clacky' drum sound from Ulrich, is like the second cousin to "Battery". The heavy "Atlas, Rise!" might just be the best tune in this whole set, a rumbling, weaving, menacing track that again recalls the dark heaviness of 'Justice', Hetfield & Hammett pulling all sorts of guitar twists for the listener, which they also do quite nicely on the crunchy "Moth Into Flame". The band mix stoner grooves with some doom laden riffing on "Dream No More", kind of a departure that also sees James toss in some different vocal styles, while "Halo on Fire" mixes in the bands penchant for blending atmospheric balladry with ferocious heavy metal riffing. "Confusion" is another powerful mid-paced piece with earth shaking riffs and vintage Hetfield howling, and "Spit Out the Bone" returns the band to their thrash roots, a raging slice of hot, violent metal chock full of riffs, fat bass lines, acrobatic drums, and Hetfield's venomous vocal delivery.

Not all is quite so successful however. A few tunes kind of border on the generic bluesy heavy rock the band were into throughout most of the '90s, such as "Now That We're Dead", "Am I Savage?", "ManUNkind", and "Here Comes Revenge", and again, for some fans, a bit of trimming might have done this album some good. None of these are bad tunes by any means, but they pale in comparison to the rest. Kirk Hammett gets plenty of room to solo throughout the album, but as has been the case with him for many years he doesn't really go out of his comfort zone of 'speedy break accentuated by wah-wah', which, if you are perfectly fine with that, lots to enjoy here. Overall, Self-Destruct is a pretty solid 2CD set that COULD have probably been a very strong single disc with a few deletions. I think if you wrote Metallica off back in the mid-'90s, there is enough strong material here to perhaps entice you to give this album a few listens. For some it might sound a little forced, as if they are trying too hard to get back to their classic sound, but I say give them credit for trying. In a day and age where Testament, Megadeth, Overkill, Exodus, Slayer, Death Angel, and Anthrax are still creating some kick ass music, Metallica have known for a while that they have some catching up to do.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
1) Hardwired
2) Atlas, Rise!
3) Now That We're Dead
4) Moth Into Flame
5) Dream No More
6) Halo on Fire

7) Confusion
8) ManUNkind
9) Here Comes Revenge
10) Am I Savage?
11) Murder One
12) Spit Out the Bone

Added: November 24th 2016
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1876
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Metallica: Self-Destruct
Posted by Scott Ward on 2016-12-24 10:10:21
My Score:

I am with you on this one, it could have been a lot better but it is still a decent effort.

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