By Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR
Metallica is back. The modern kings of metal and forerunners of 21st-century thrash have come back to the top of the rock charts with their latest LP, Hardwired … to Self-Destruct. To “announce” this to the world, Metallica released a video for the first single, Confusion.
As superfan David Milberg noted, “The video is powerful, current and sure to be a hit with the band’s favorite demographic, the U.S. military. In the video, a former soldier returned to civilian life from a war zone, but can’t quite separate reality from memory on the job. In the video her – yes, her – cubicle life becomes running for her life on the battlefield, and back again, an endless loop of terrifying flashbacks.”
Meanwhile, lead singer James Hetfield growls: “Delusion, all sanity is but a memory … my life, the war that never ends…”Metallica debuted the album on what it called “Blackened Friday,” November 18, a Metallica play on the after-Thanksgiving sales day. And what can fans expect on the new record? Lars Ulrich laid it all out to Rolling Stone last August:
“We introduce a mood, and we stick to it, rather than songs we’ve done where one riff happens, and we go over here and then over there, and it becomes a journey through all these different soundscapes… The songs are more linear. And by ‘less frenetic,’ I mean there are certainly less starts and stops in the songs. It cruises along a little bit more than the last record.”
Metallica as cruising music? Interesting concept. But fans, anticipating the band’s 10th album, are just happy to have more Mandatory Metallica to sink their teeth into. After all, it’s been eight years since Death Magnetic, longer than fans have had to wait for any new Metallica album.
So, how will they respond to “Hardwired” after the long wait? Critics are already calling it “pretty good”… not the best Metallica album, but certainly not the worst. Entertaining in a way that should appeal to traditional hardcore fans of the band yet be accessible to others who are just getting to know the group who practically invented thrash and then “sold out” with the massive pop hit Enter Sandman.
So which version of the band can fans expect? The early thrashing rock gods or the corporate band who led the fight against Napster? The answer to that question will likely be up for debate for years to come.