Although I made a post a while ago that questioned whether we need a new Metallica album, and whether it would be beneficial to the band, I promptly had to eat my words when the band dropped the title track from their new album: Hardwired… To Self-Destruct. Despite being one of the shortest songs in the band’s career, it was the hard-hitting shot of thrashy-goodness that the metal community had been yearning for. So in anticipation for when their DOUBLE album (yes, you read that right) drops on November 18th, I’ve set about my list of things I can’t wait to see on the albums, as well as 1 thing I don’t.
What made the bands lead single, “Hardwired”, so refreshing was that it harked back to the early days of Metallica. After spending nearly twenty years playing hard rock to whatever they did with Lou Reed (lets just try to forget that one), its great to see the band hark back to their earlier works, particularly the straight-forward pedal-to-the-metal approach of their 1983 debut album Kill ‘Em All. Hopefully they maintain this fast and thrashy approach throughout their double album extravaganza.
Whenever you evoke classic Metallica songs, the stuff that built their impressive legacy, its apparent that the songs that stick with the fans have a certain epic quality to the them. Take for example “The Four Horsemen”, “For Whom The Bell Tolls”, “Master Of Puppets” or “One”- all of these songs have an air of grandeur about them. Every aspect of these songs, from the lyrics to the instrumentation, has a bold quality to them: a vastness in vision and complexity. Considering that there will be twelve songs (across both albums) that will last 80 minutes long (thus averaging to around 6 or so minutes), I’m hoping to see some metal odysseys with plenty of twists and turns to keep the listener hooked.
That being said, I want to see an album that’s all killer and no filler. If the songs are going to be intricate exploratory works then each riff, verse and chorus should have a purpose and embellish the song- nothing should be wasted. Metallica fans will be all too aware of the perils of songs that just outstay their welcome- just look at the entirety of St. Anger, where the shortest song is five minutes and 13 seconds- and it can really dull the impact that the song was trying to achieve.
If there’s one aspect of Metallica that always gets me excited it has to be the leads and solos of their guitarist Kirk Hammett. His creative use of metal licks has conjured iconic and memorable tunes for the metal masses to rally behind- there’s a tuneful quality to his work that ensures great moments like his solos in “Enter Sandman”, “Sad But True” and “Nothing Else Matters” are wedged in your head for days.
Even though Metallica may be referencing their earlier works, their albums will by no means be a nostalgia-fest. Never ones to repeat themselves, I feel that the band will probably try to take the feeling and energy of those first few albums and filter them through a modern approach to song writing. Therefore it would surely make sense to include a guest or two on the albums, as the band haven’t done so in their career. Whether it’s a vocalist to take over a verse or two or a legendary guitar hero to bring the shred, I really want to see someone new brought to the table to shake things up. How about getting Gary Holt to trade a few licks with Kirk Hammett like they did in their Exodus days? Surely this would get fans super-pumped for the new album.
And What I Don’t Want… Poor Production
If we’ve learnt anything from St. Anger and Death Magnetic, its that no matter how promising a song maybe it can be completely undone with poor production. Metallica’s detailed compositions require a production that ensures that each instrument has clarity and is dynamic, yet there needs to power behind each note to give it a metal feel. The bass must be audible to allow the song to have backbone and the drums need to be sharp and punchy without the snare drum sounding like a biscuit tin. There’s definitely a lot that needs to be carefully balanced in the mix, but it is worth remembering that the production can completely alter the texture of a song.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? What are you anticipating or dreading? Feel free to leave a comment, like this blog post, like the Facebook page , follow the Pinterest page, and follow this blog for more content.