Metallica announced a Nov. 18 release date for Hardwired ... to Self-Destruct, even as they continued to tweak the album. “We want to make this as sharp and potent as possible," James Hetfield said. "So, all the way up to the last minute, even running order, there’s always something we’re thinking about and trying to make it the best.” They've already changed the track listing, as new songs, tour dates and more details begin to arrive. Feel like you've missed something? Here's what you need to know about one of the most anticipated releases of the year ...
This ends a lengthy journey for Metallica
Metallica took their time with Hardwired … to Self-Destruct, considering that their last proper album was 2008’s Death Magnetic. They issued Lulu – a heavily criticized collaboration with Lou Reed – back in 2011 and then Through the Never, a soundtrack for their 2013 concert film. Other than that, the only other new music was 2014's "Lords of Summer," a stand-alone track that will be included on the deluxe edition of the new album.
We had more than a few hints along the way
Metallica first provided photographic evidence of their work on Hardwired … to Self-Destruct in January 2015. A picture uploaded to Instagram showed bassist Robert Trujillo recording in front of a mixing desk, with the caption “Rockin along.” James Hetfield confirmed they were still at work on the album in October 2015.
You're going to get your money's worth here
Metallica are releasing 80 minutes of music with 12 new songs on a double CD, two-LP vinyl and a digital download. A deluxe edition of the album includes an additional third disc of music. How does that compare? Load went to 79 minutes in 1996; Reload, the 1997 follow-up, was 76 minutes long. Death Magnetic and the earlier St. Anger from 2003 clocked in at nearly 75 minutes each.
They immediately began sharing new sounds
Metallica released "Hardwired" on the same day this new album was officially announced, then followed up with "Moth Into Flame." We first heard a snippet of the latter song back in August, as part of an advance trailer for Hardwired ... to Self-Destruct. “Atlas, Rise!” was then issued on Oct. 31, but more on that in a moment.
There's a pause to remember Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister
"Murder One" has been dedicated to Lemmy Kilmister. "He was unafraid," James Hetfield said, "and he was a character. And he was himself. And we all respected that so much. He did his own thing to the last breath. No matter who you are, how could you not be inspired by that?" This isn't the first time Metallica have paid their respect to the late Motorhead frontman. They also played Kilmister's 50th birthday party as a one-off tribute band called the Lemmys, and offered one of the first public tributes after his death.
The deluxe-edition changed almost immediately
In August, Metallica announced the track listing for the deluxe edition of Hardwired that included their stand-alone single "Lords of Summer" joined by a series of early takes on the main album tracks. By September, however, all of the so-called "riff origin" demos had been replaced by select cover songs – including cuts made famous by Iron Maiden, Ronnie James Dio and Deep Purple. This new track listing also includes a special Record Store Day set held in 2016 at Rasputin's in Berkeley, Calif.
Here's the latest track listing for 'Hardwired ... to Self-Destruct'
“Now That We’re Dead”
“Moth Into Flame”
“Am I Savage?”
“Halo on Fire”
“Dream No More”
“Here Comes Revenge”
“Spit Out the Bone”
Disc Three (Deluxe Edition Only)
Lords of Summer
Ronnie Rising Medley
When a Blind Man Cries
Helpless (Live at Rasputin Music)
Hit the Lights (Live at Rasputin Music)
The Four Horsemen (Live at Rasputin Music)
Ride the Lightning (Live at Rasputin Music)
Fade to Black (Live at Rasputin Music)
Jump in the Fire (Live at Rasputin Music)
For Whom the Bell Tolls (Live at Rasputin Music)
Creeping Death (Live at Rasputin Music)
Metal Militia (Live at Rasputin Music)
Hardwired (Live in Minneapolis)
There were early questions about the album's cover image
Less than two days after Hardwired was announced, some fans began to notice that the cover artwork bears similarities to an earlier record by Crowbar. Hardwired features photos of all four members making angry faces and looking in different directions, superimposed on top of each other, which is the same idea that Crowbar had for 1998's Odd Fellows Rest – although Crowbar's cover was in black-and-white. Others compared the shot to Foo Fighters's Wasted Light, noting similarities in style and color.
The band quickly updated its concert set lists
It didn't take long for Metallica to begin working new music into their set list. The same week they announced the album, they played “Hardwired” – the album's de facto title track – to open the encore of a 19-song show at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. They then premiered the new song "Moth Into Flame" during a special intimate concert in September at Webster Hall.
Metallica got into the Halloween spirit
“Atlas, Rise!,” the third advance track from Hardwired … to Self-Destruct, arrived amid Halloween festivities. Independent record stores gave away free Metallica masks on Oct. 28, each with an access code that unlocked the track a half hour before the official release time three days later. "Atlas, Rise!" followed “Hardwired” and “Moth Into Flame,” whetting listeners’ appetites for the upcoming double-disc LP.
They're going to live on the road for a while
This new project will spawn a massive tour – similar to the road work Metallica did the last time they released an album. "It's time to come back and do some proper penetration of America," Lars Ulrich said in late August. "We did 180 shows on the Death Magnetic tour in two-week periods over three years. That's what works for us. We're going to start pretty much full-on touring in January." Some 2017 dates have already been announced.