It’s been nearly a decade since Metallica’s ninth studio album, Death Magnetic, which was hailed as a sort of comeback record following the tepid reception of St. Anger in 2003. The band announced a new album, Hardwired… To Self Destruct, in August, and the early returns make it seem like the group is continuing on an upward trajectory.
“Hardwired” is a short and intense 3-minute blast that showcased the straightforward production the record will ostensibly feature. Then they shared “Moth Into Flame,” which is structurally more similar to the longer songs they’re known for, and keeps the same intensity up with the entire band in excellent form. Now they’ve shared “Atlas, Rise!” and even though this is only the third of 12 tracks we’ve heard so far, we think Metallica’s tenth album could be pretty awesome, their best in years.
While Death Magnetic, despite the quality of its songs, was panned for subpar, overly-loud, and just not good production, “Atlas, Rise!” takes a direct approach; It’s very easy on the ears, which is absolutely essential for a metal record, which is brutal in its composition and therefore needs to give a listener room to breathe with its production. It’s relatively straightforward compositionally as well, leaving room for James Hetfield’s vocals, which hold up excellently after all these years, to exist on a bed of clean-sounding guitars and percussion.
Hardwired… To Self Destruct comes out on November 18, and while we can’t wait for it, we’re going to have to. In the meantime, join us in listening on “Atlas, Rise!” above.
Featured image: Metallica and Ross Halfin