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Album review: ‘Hardwired’ finds Metallica riffing more memorably

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Three stars

Metallica Hardwired... to Self-Destruct

Listening to Metallica’s last two albums, you might wonder if the members of the veteran heavy metal band had lost their songwriting chops, but the new Hardwired… to Self-Destruct (the first Metallica album in eight years) goes a long way toward correcting that impression, even if it’s still a bit bloated and meandering.

Although it opens with the concise, energetic thrash metal of “Hardwired,” the album is filled mostly with songs that go on a couple minutes too long. But the riffs are more memorable, the melodies are catchier and the rhythms are tighter than they have been in a long time, and frontman James Hetfield is even writing better lyrics.

Songs like “Now That We’re Dead,” “Moth Into Flame” and “Here Comes Revenge” combine the epic thrash of the band’s ’80s work with the groove and swagger of their underrated ’90s output. Another eight years and they might return to true greatness.

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