Sunday, November 27, 2016

Vinyl Review: " Self-Destruct" by Metallica Self-Destruct
There are a great many bands in the world that are referred to as mighty, well in the metal community anyway.

Metallica is one of those bands whose superlatives are many and possibly too few at the same time.

Let's look back to the 90's when grunge and alternative were king of the roost. What a strange time that was.

A large refrain heard over and over again by the likes of Soundgarden et al. was that they couldn't listen to songs about Dungeons & Dragons.

This was something that I really didn't understand in 1992 because the metal in my ears for years had been about serious issues: corruption in the legal system, televangelists stealing from the masses, the death penalty, etc.

During my youth though, there were a lot of songs about fantasies and Dio and Iron Maiden were the masters of that type of storytelling, but by the time I'd reached peak album buying times, that was no longer the case for me. Fantasy metal, now called Power Metal, had been pushed to the back burner.

What happened?

Metallica's Kill'Em All came and it changed the world. The first major fissure in the world of metal happened when thrash metal was born. That was when we learned there could be more than one kind of heavy metal.

What a day that was.

It's been over thirty years since that seminal record was released and depending upon how they're counted, Self-Destruct is Metallica's 11th (or 12th or 10th) studio album.

Ten albums in 30+ years seems a like a bit of a small number, but digging deeper... Hardwired is their 7th (or 6th or 5th of 6) double album in a row. With Garage Inc and Lulu the numbers get a little bit fuzzy.

So, the number of albums may seem small and the waits between records seem interminable, but Metallica always leaves us with piles of songs and music when they're finally done.

There are a few packages for Self-Destruct and we were lucky enough to get a copy of the standard edition. There was a record store colored vinyl, deluxe three LP edition, etc, so our review is based off of the standard edition.

This record is out on Metallica's own imprint, Blackened Recordings.

Like most double disc sets, it's a gatefold release with a large, and strange, photo collage of the members of Metallica. There is a lyric sheet for each disc. As Metallica has always been, the packaging is fantastic.

Lyrics, photos, big thick gatefold cover. There's nothing to complain about here, except perhaps the cover art

The 180 gram vinyl discs spin like champs with no noticeable warping. The sound quality is big and bold. I'm unaware how this was recorded, if there's an analog chain or not, but this record sounds fantastic.

Metallica is as long winded they have ever been. So on this 80 minutes or so of music, each side only contains three tracks. The Hardwired single was a bit it was a short one.

The songs themselves, well, Metallica is Metallica. They're long, winding, and heavy. It's interesting that Metallica has not mellowed with age at all and the riffs are as strong as they could ever be. Only Megadeth can give Metallica a run for their money on pure riffing power. How Hetfield and Hammett can make these single note lines sound so thick is a secret we mere mortals may never discover.

The songs are a happy medium between the machine like precision of St. Anger  and Death Magnetic and the looseness of Lulu. This something I was greatly hoping for. Metallica is too tight sometimes.

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