This review is going to be written in real time as I listen to the album. It has been 20 years since I enjoyed a new Metallica release. After the abomination that was Load and Reload I gave up on the band (and thus far seem to have missed nothing). Our multimillionaire rockers are still trying to connect with an audience that grows increasingly distant from them. Whatever. Without further hesitation—I shall press play!

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Hardwired

Sure sounds like a Testament rip off! Why is this two discs? I can fit 80 minutes onto one CD…

The song sounds like lazy-Testament thus far. The biker-ish-blues-feel that came to be from the band in Load/Reload era seems to have morphed into more of an alpha-thrash style. If I were not forcing myself to listen to the whole album I would probably have turned the CD off by now.

Atlas, Rise!

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (haha, get it?) this sure sounds like Testament. Thus far in the album, I hear no emotion. One thing that Metallica always did well in their heyday was to push true emotion through solid song structures. I have heard people call Metallica formulaic before, this sounds like a formula song. Catchy riff with basic structures and mandatory solo.

The guitar work is competent. Hammett is a talented musician, and his story seems to be the most tragic of the band. He has always seemed to want to play music and not get mired in the dramatic bullshit that haunts the band.

Now That We’re Dead

My boredom with the album is increasing. It is like they were told to make an album that everyone expected. In an effort to distract myself I see that The Rolling Stone is gushing over this mediocre album. Be warned, this does not sound like 1980s Metallica.

The songs are more like an endurance test. Only three minutes until the next one!

The riffing isn’t terrible, I suppose. If I heard the music I would not think this was done by a band that has been around for so long. Hetfield sounds tired.

Moth Into Flame

Another boring intro.

I suppose Metallica can at least take solace in the fact that they are better than Megadeth. That is an odd thing to say as this corny slow-fast riffing actually reminds me of Megadeth.

Maybe I am one of those folks who doesn’t understand the band or is immature. What a dismissive argument. Not liking Metallica is not embracing maturity? I suppose I am immature as this sounds like the same garbage they have been producing for twenty years.

This is not to say there will be people who enjoy this album. Diehard Metallica fans will find something to enjoy (this song being the best so far), but as far as a new experience, I doubt it.

Dream No More

The overall feel of the album is coming into view for me. This song sounds more like Black Sabbath than Metallica. About halfway through and no power ballads, which surprises me.

This song feels like actual growth. It is still Metallica, but it is different. (To be fair I have not heard their last couple albums).

Halo On Fire

The last song on the first disc. I know that most people listen to their stuff digitally, but this is weird to me. I have to change out the disc to listen to the rest of the album? There better be a stark shift in tone to account for this change.

Oh some clean guitar.

Is this the obligatory melodic song? Or is this actually something the band wished to produce? I can’t tell! Now nearly 4 minutes in (with another 4 to go…) I could walk away from this album.

Well, this is boring.

A nice lengthy solo to end the album (oh shit, there is another disc). Odd to have such a send off when we are halfway through.

Aside from maybe Dream no More I don’t see any reason to put this back into the player again.

Disc II

Confusion

Back to Black Sabbath worship.

I am starting to see that this review was a bad idea. Not only do I have to suffer through more of this repetitive rip-off crap, I am running out of things to say. I am not sure if I am listening to thrash metal or something mall-metal-heads can dance to on the weekend.

Dun dun dun dun dun…

I have to take a break.

ManUNkind

With a quivering hand I push play. I honestly debated deleting the review and going on with my day.

The award for dumbest song title goes to…

The album drips with teenage angst (which is where they made their name in the beginning). The lyrics are lazy—designed to be catchy and nothing more. “Blind lead blind.” Wow, so insightful.

The songs are becoming indistinguishable from one another. I have to check to make sure I am keeping up on the track-by-track review.

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So metal

Only about 27 minutes left. I can’t believe how bored Hetfield sounds. His voice seems to have lost all power or emotion for this new outing.

Here Comes Revenge

Filler riffs. That is a trademark of this album. Each song could be cut down by at least 20%.

The truth of the matter is that the diehard fans are going to defend this album. No matter what is released it will be the “apex of musicality.” Anyone hoping for something more than standard nonsense from the band is going to be disappointed.

Metallica is probably the biggest metal band of all time. With such a moniker comes responsibility to fans and to the genre. Metallica has shown their willingness to shirk both over the years. I am fine with people being in it for the money (which these guys clearly are), but be honest about it. Further, it would be nice if fans would admit that Metallica has been reproducing the same album for decades now. Like it if you want, but don’t act like this is anything special.

Am I Savage?

Nope.

Murder One

 Oh how they tease us with a riff reminiscent of One. A nice intro, but we get back to the circular riff that has pervaded the entire album. Screw it. Skip!

Spit Out the Bone

Their goal here seems to be to wake you up at the end so you can put in a better album from a different band. The song seems to be reaching back to Dyer’s Eve without the power or wrath behind it.

Ugh. Overall, I would rate this as another failed attempt at recapturing the magic. It is easy to hate Metallica, and I seem to have fallen into the trap. As important of a band as they are they sure don’t seem to deserve the fame. As said, fans will probably like it. For the rest of us—save your money. Hell, just listen to the far superior Testament and call it a day. 3/10

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