Everywhere I go in the last few days, every time I look at social media, everyone is losing their shit over the new Metallica single, “Hardwired”. Before I launch into my thoughts on the new song, let me say that I was a huuuge fan of the band for a long time. I got into arguments with friends and foes alike over “Load” and “Re-Load”. I loved this band like I have loved few other things in my life. So I'm not a hater, and I'm not jumping on the “its cool to bash Metallica” band wagon. I've actually been very unhappy with this band for a long time.
For starters, this song is really not that great. If it had come out on “Kill 'Em All” or “Ride The Lightning” or “Master of Puppets”, it would have been filler. And honestly, after unfurling the shitstains that are “St. Anger”, “Death Magnetic”, and “Lulu”, a mediocre Metallica track is going to sound awesome. Like Eddie Murphy once said, “If you've only been eating saltines, and someone gives you a Ritz cracker, you're going to think that Ritz is the best thing in the world”. I think there is a lot of that syndrome going on here. It's a nice track, and it could be a good start, but after what Metallica have put us through over the last 3 releases, they are going to have to prove it to me that this track is not just a one off fluke.
The problem with bands like Metallica is that they constantly talk about going back to their roots, but that just isn't possible. There is a hunger, an anger, a drive in young bands that just want to reach the top that a band can't duplicate once they get there. It's very hard to write angry music when you have houses everywhere and drive whatever vehicle you want and own your own office building. There's no hunger to fill. You've topped it off 20 times over. And as much as we fans want them to put out another amazing album, we have to be realistic too. Once the “Black Album” blew the world open for Metallica and made them ultra-rich megastars, that was it. That was their high point, that was the best it was going to be, and we need to accept that. I know a lot of fans who consider “...And Justice For All” to be the highlight of their career anyway.
One more thing. Metallica are not a metal band and haven't been since “Justice”. Be honest, they've just been a really heavy rock band. That's ok too, but in keeping with the theme of this whole thing, let's call it what it is.
I understand the enthusiasm, because it comes from wanting a band we love to really step up and remove some of that tarnish on their legacy. It's time for Metallica to be honest too, and stop telling us they've gone back to the beginning and they are leaner and harder and blah, blah, blah, because they have to know in their heart of heart's that it's all bullshit. For the reasons noted above they can't go back and they know that too. And I'll just say this because you all are thinking it anyway: there's no way Lars can play that song live. He admitted five years ago how much trouble he has playing the old stuff. They'll have to bring in a stunt drummer. They probably had him play that beat for 8 bars and then just looped it. Sorry Lars, but we're trying to real here.
You all can do what you like, but I'm going to temper my enthusiasm and keep my expectations real, real low. Maybe the new album will blow me away. There have been a few bands in recent years who have managed to do that, like Carcass and At The Gates, to name a couple. I will continue to be a skeptic until a band I formerly loved gives me a reason not to be.