Just to set the record straight, I love Metallica. The thrash metal titans from San Fransisco are definitely one of my top five favorite artists of all time. I saw them in concert on their Death Magnetic tour in 2009. I attended movie theater showings of their Big Four concert performance (with Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer) and their feature film Metallica: Through the Never (2013). I have a 20160818_193900_7549_939482nearly life-sized poster of the band hanging over my bed. And I’ve been anxiously awaiting the followup record to 2008’s Death Magnetic for eight long years now.

So, naturally, when I received word on Tuesday that Metallica had dropped the lead single “Hardwired” from their forthcoming tenth studio album Hardwired…to Self-Destruct, you can imagine my exuberance.

Actually, you probably can’t. You can’t begin to fathom how excited this new single was making me. That was, however, until I put it in my earholes.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad song at all. “Hardwired” features a blistering, double-kick-pumping drum beat, fuzzy guitar riffs, and menacing vocal melodies. James Hetfield spits ferociously into the microphone as per usual, growling out his grievances about the current state of our nation.

But, as heavy metal fans may know, that’s nothing new for Metallica. “Hardwired” kinda sounds like a watered-down, generic rehash of the band’s Kill ‘Em All (1983) and Master of Puppets (1986) era. The band seems to have lost all of the maxresdefault-2interesting progressive rock elements that made Death Magnetic so fresh and enjoyable. Sure, Metallica purists might be stoked that their favorite 80s act is trimming the fat and returning to their roots. I just don’t think “Hardwired” was the most seamless return-to-form.

Overall, I did enjoy the song. I’m a Metallica fan; I don’t have it in me to not like it. But, after eight long years of waiting, I expected more than I got from “Hardwired”.

Hardwired…to Self-Destruct drops November 18th. Hopefully the record impresses me more than its lead single.

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