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Well, after eight years between albums, the good news is that Metallica has rediscovered how to properly master a rock album.
And the good news doesn't stop there: James Hetfield has lost most of the annoying afflicted "yelp'' he added in the early '90s; Lars Ulrich, who cops a lot of flack for his drumming, really nails it; and Kirk Hammett is still reliably awesome with his tastefully-executed solos.
Hardwired ... To Self-Destruct, against most expectations, is a real return to form.
Love 'em or loathe 'em, when Metallica get on to a good riff, which it frequently does here, the band wrings it for all it's worth.
Now, if only they knew when to end their songs.
Metallica. Hardwired ... To Self-Destruct
Four-and-a-half stars (out of five)
Single download: Atlas, Rise
For those who like: The first half of Metallica's career
- Mark Orton