In last month’s Black Market, I went kinda long on “Moth Into Flame,” the second single released off Metallica’s upcoming Hardwired…To Self-Destruct. As I explained in that space, I’d been reluctant to overpraise any of the LP’s pre-release singles before actually hearing the album, because — like a proverbial moth into flame — I’d been burned many times by Metallica over the past quarter-century.
However, as I also explained in that space, the day after “Moth” dropped, I attended a Metallica listening event at Electric Lady Studios, but only after agreeing to some strict embargo terms: I was not allowed to talk about the details of what I heard; I was only allowed to say that I attended a Metallica listening event at Electric Lady Studios. But now that the album’s third single, “Atlas, Rise!,” has been released to the public, I think it’s probably fair game to say that I heard “Atlas, Rise!” at the aforementioned listening event. And man, when I heard this song, my jaw fucking dropped. That chorus, man. When was the last time Metallica wrote a chorus like that?
Much of what I wrote about “Moth” applies here, too, so I’m going to say again now some of what I said then. If you’ve already read this, just skip ahead and listen to the damn song, because the song kicks ass. If not … I dunno, you should still probably just listen to the damn song, but also: Let’s talk about it! Anyway:
I’ve been imploring Metallica to do this for a long time — to look to their roots for inspiration, rather than try to outrun or overcome the Ride/Master/Justice triad that has basically destroyed everything they’ve done since. They can’t get away from that, and they can’t recreate it, but they can still make great music. They existed before Ride The Lightning too, remember. They were once just a band like every other band. And that’s what they’re doing here.
I dunno how much credit here is owed to Greg Fidelman, who produced, recorded, and mixed the album, but I’d consider naming my firstborn son after him. Because Metallica came into the studio with God knows how many random ideas, and somehow, they came out of it with a song that sounds like this?
So ANYWAY: I don’t wanna oversell anything here, because I admit that I’m biased. I really want this album to be great. But this song kicked my ass the first time I heard it, and I’ve been waiting a goddamn month to hear it a second time. And finally … here we are. Let’s listen.
Hardwired…To Self-Destruct is out 11/18 via Blackened Recordings