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Review: "Hardwired...to Self Destruct" - the 2016 Album of Metallica Covering The First Six Songs

Updated on April 8, 2021
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Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

Hardwired to Self-Destruct front album cover

The album's cover shows the face of James Hetfield in the center.
The album's cover shows the face of James Hetfield in the center. | Source

Introduction and the Review of Hardwired...to Self-Destruct

How exactly can we live our lives with a purpose? This is the same question that I had been asking myself for many years. I have now finally found what one of my purposes in life is and that’s why I am going to share this with anyone who is interested to know this. My goal is to make a difference in other people’s lives. That purpose is to be the best writer that I can be. Does that mean that there will be perfection? Not really. So as part of that purpose, let’s take a look at Metallica’s then newest album as of this first writing Hardwired to Self-Destruct. It is a double album and this is the band’s first actual album in more than 7 years. The reason: Beyond Magnetic is an EP and not a full album. Those of you that have been following my writing journey probably remember that I prefer Metallica’s music over that of Megadeth.

It can be very difficult for music fans to get tuned into these long albums that are 70 minutes or more so if you are in that category, I feel for you. It takes time to get used to. Metallica is not one of those bands that have short albums so patience is necessary. Let’s get started with the album Hardwired...to Self-Destruct. This review has now been modified to include an analysis of the first six songs since this is a double album.

Track Listing for Hardwired to Self-Destruct The First Six Songs


  1. "Hardwired"
  2. "Atlas, Rise!"
  3. "Now That We’re Dead"
  4. "Moth Into Flame"
  5. "Dream No More"
  6. "Halo on Fire"

"Halo on Fire"

The First Three to Four Songs on Hardwired Are Very Strong

The opening song "Hardwired" is about the fact that the world as we know it may terminate. It may self-destruct. Let’s hope that cooler heads will prevail among the human race and that we resolve our differences peacefully. Metallica’s music has saved my life in a way. Their music helps some get meaning because of the thought-provoking lyrics but because of their longevity as well. It was 2017 when the first draft of this review was composed and these guys still want to keep playing music and performing. It was back around 1998 or so that I remember Lars Ulrich saying on the VH1 Behind the Music segment that he hoped that the band could continue playing for another ten years. The band has gone well past that! The song "Now That We’re Dead" makes reference to the fact that humans have sinned. Since humans have sinned, the penalty for this is death. When we die, we return to dust.

However "Hardwired" which is also the title track has Hetfield singing that the human race is pretty much in big trouble but are we? In a day and age with the rise of technology and tools, the selfishness and greed of some humans is going to put our planet in peril and serious danger.

Since 2008 it can be argued that Metallica redeemed themselves as a band and are ready to wow their fans. I would be of the opinion that Metallica really didn’t need to redeem themselves because even in their experimental years between 1996 through 2003 they were still a good band back then. It takes a really open minded fan of music to be able to appreciate this band for what they have done throughout 39 years of their career and all that they have been through.


I Write About Metallica Because Their Music Saved My Life

All of us have a purpose on Earth. For Metallica, it was to excite audiences by the power of playing music. For me, it is to write about the creativity and skill that this American band has displayed over a career spanning more than 30 years. I really do enjoy writing these album reviews and this is a way to inform the world that Metallica is still active even in 2018. "Moth Into Flame" has a sort of power metal feel and this enhances Metallica’s creativity.

"Hardwired" Song Only

How Hardwired differs from other Metallica albums

Hardwired is an album that has less thrash metal elements than the band’s earlier albums and it has more progressive stuff in it such as the song Halo on Fire. This is the case considering that Metallica was formed even before Fates Warning was. Fates Warning is one of the earliest American progressive bands that had their style but Metallica has decided to use a softer and more progressive sound in Hardwired.

Even in songs such as "Atlas, Rise!" there is very much a melodic approach so this is not all about thrash metal even though Hardwired… to Self-Destruct represents a return to the roots of Metallica while giving the music a sort of modern twist.

"Atlas, Rise!"

Favorite of the First Six Songs On Hardwired...to Self-Destruct

What is your favorite song of the first six songs of Hardwired to Self-Destruct?

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Hardwired...To Self Destruct First Part Final Thoughts

However, the song "Now That We're Dead" isn't soft, but a pretty good modern groovy metal song. The opening part of the song Hardwired shows that Metallica can still start off wit that hard and heavy stuff if they want to even in their 50s and isn't this band just great? That question has been answered with Hardwired...To Self Destruct. The album continues sort of in the style of Death Magnetic and it may be better than that one though initially I felt that this album was weaker than Death Magnetic but listening to this 2016 album has me thinking other thoughts. The melodic parts of songs such as "Atlas, Rise" add yet another good musical quality to Metallica.

“Moth Into the Flame” has this interesting yet melodic beginning as the song lyrically is about a person that leads himself into a life of ruin even though he thinks he is flying high again. The song also describes what happens to rock stars as they are seduced into fame and addicted to it.


This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2017 Ara Vahanian

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