Still an an­gry Metallica

> The band is out to prove it hasn’t lost its thrash metal edge or its sta­tus as one of the defin­ing acts in heavy metal with its 10th al­bum

The Sun (Malaysia) - - ENTERTAINMENT -

BACK with its first al­bum in eight years, Metallica has re­turned to its thrash metal roots, mak­ing it clear the band hasn’t lost its anger.

Hard­wired ... to SelfDestruct, which was re­leased last Fri­day, is the 10th al­bum by a group de­ter­mined to pre­serve its reign as one of the defin­ing acts in heavy metal.

Metallica, which was formed in 1981, com­prises found­ing mem­bers vo­cal­ist-gui­tarist James Het­field and drum­mer Lars Ul­rich with long­time lead gui­tarist Kirk Ham­mett and bassist Robert Tru­jillo.

“We’re four an­gry guys,” said Ham­mett, now 53, with a touch of grey in his long curly hair.

“These songs have been writ­ten with a lot of anger, a lot of ag­gres­sion, with a real sort of vi­sion to do that,” the Cal­i­for­nia na­tive told AFP dur­ing a visit to Paris.

The first track, Hard­wired, sets the tone for the 12-track al­bum – un­com­pro­mis­ing and ul­tra-fast with en­raged, ni­hilis­tic lyrics that re­call Metallica’s first opus, 1983’s Kill ’Em All.

The ti­tle of the lat­est al­bum is “a state­ment on the hu­man con­di­tion and how we all kind of do things that we know are bad for us but we do it any­way,” Ham­mett said.

“We are hard­wired to be a lit­tle naughty, a lit­tle bad, and on the ex­treme end of that, some peo­ple just self-de­struct be­cause they just can’t get enough of that bad stuff.”

The sec­ond song – At­las Rise! – re­calls Master of Pup­pets, the ti­tle track of Metallica’s 1986 al­bum that was ground­break­ing for the mu­si­cal depth of a heavy metal song.

While not as epic as the ear­lier mu­sic, At­las Rise! runs for more than six min­utes, shift­ing be­tween vo­cal and in­stru­men­tal pas­sages and Ham­mett’s cel­e­brated gui­tar so­los, free-flow­ing and true to form with a wah-wah pedal.

Ham­mett, who claimed he first turned to mu­sic to re­lease his anger, says he plays so fe­ro­ciously on the gui­tar that he breaks more strings than he re­places.

“I al­ways play very, very ag­gres­sively, and in a very an­gry way,” he said. “It makes me feel bet­ter.”

His re­la­tion­ship with his in­stru­ment is still evolv­ing, he added, say­ing he has “re­con­nected” with his gui­tar in re­cent years.

“Ev­ery time I play my gui­tar, it’s so dif­fer­ent from two years ago or three years ago,” he said. “It’s dif­fer­ent now and it feels good.”

Ham­mett is es­pe­cially fond of jazz and bossa nova and has tried to de­con­struct the gen­res’ sounds and tech­niques.

“I learn stuff in those worlds and play it and I go: ‘Yes, I to­tally can use it in heavy metal’,” he said.

On its lat­est al­bum, Metallica slows down on Halo on Fire, with front­man Het­field tak­ing on a more airy, nuanced voice, if not quite to the ex­tent of Noth­ing Else Mat­ters, the bal­lad from Metallica’s top-sell­ing work, 1991’s Black Al­bum.

“We wanted to cre­ate some­thing with the sim­plic­ity and ag­gres­sion of Kill ’Em All, but what ended up hap­pen­ing is the songs sound like the first five al­bums,” Ham­mett said, adding that the new work was not a “car­bon copy”.

Ham­mett has a keen ear for younger gen­er­a­tions of heavy metal artistes.

He is fond of Lamb of God, say­ing he has “high hopes” for the group ev­ery time it re­leases an al­bum.

He heaped praise on a com­par­a­tively ob­scure group, Go­jira, say­ing that the French met­al­heads were “the best thing I’ve heard in a long time”.

“I love their new al­bum [ Magma],” he said. “I think it’s an in­cred­i­ble piece of art. It’s heavy, it’s vibey, it’s moody. It has all the things you want to hear – great com­plex rhythms, great drum­ming, great riffs, great songs.”

But Metallica is not look­ing for early re­tire­ment.

“We al­ways want to be the best,” Ham­mett said, de­scrib­ing his at­ten­tion to his mu­sic as ob­ses­sive-com­pul­sive. “We just want to go out and con­quer.”

Af­ter the quiet spell in re­cent years, the quar­tet plans a world tour next year start­ing on Jan 11 in Seoul.

“My goal is to live to 100 years old and be able to stand there with a gui­tar on and play Seek and De­stroy,” Ham­mett said, re­fer­ring to the band’s first recorded song.

How­ever, other songs might be more dif­fi­cult for a cen­te­nar­ian met­al­head, he added.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to do Fight Fire with Fire. I might break in half,” he said. “But I know I can do Seek and De­stroy.” – AFP

Four an­gry men … (from left) Ul­rich, Ham­mett, Het­field and Tru­jillo show­ing younger met­al­heads that Metallica is not look­ing to re­tire any­time soon with the re­lease of its lat­est al­bum.

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