After months of buildup, Metallica have announced that they will put out their first LP in eight years, the double-disc Hardwired … to Self Destruct on November 18th. The LP, which follows up 2008’s Death Magnetic, will contain 12 new songs (track list below), one of which is “Hardwired,” the breakneck, crushing new song above. The record will be available in a variety of formats, including regular and deluxe CDs and vinyl alongside a digital release. The band will also release a box-set edition containing the deluxe versions of the CD, vinyl and digital as well as lithographs and LP-themed buttons.
The group debuted “Hardwired” in a Facebook Live broadcast from their studio in San Francisco, where Lars Ulrich and Robert Trujillo talked about the record. The record was produced by Greg Fidelman, who engineered Death Magnetic, along with Hetfield and Ulrich. Ulrich also announced a Metallica pop-up store in Minneapolis, where they are playing a concert on Saturday. “The album’s not actually finished,” Ulrich said. “It will be done in the next week or so.”
At the end of 2015, Metallica posted a video on its fan-club website in which Ulrich brings a camera into the studio where James Hetfield was recording a few seconds of a crushing, doomy guitar riff. Around Christmas, they also posted another video in which Hetfield enlisted its studio cat to press play on about 10 seconds of a new song. In February, Kirk Hammett promised Rolling Stone that the band was “slogging away” in the studio. “It’s metal,” he said. “It’s heavy.”
In March, Ulrich told Rolling Stone he expected 2016 to be a “pretty in-your-face year, at least the back half of it.” He said that it’s been an interesting lead-up to the new LP for him since the group was working on reissues of its first few albums. “We’ve had one foot in the past, sifting through old photos and old memorabilia and listening to old songs, and another in the new album,” he said. “It’s been a confluence of all these different energies, and I’m not even sure exactly what to make of all of it.” He said he’d hoped that the band could “knock [the new record] on the head” by spring.
The band first gave a hint of their new material in 2014 when they debuted a lengthy new cut, “Lords of Summer,” on its Metallica by Request tour and later released it as a “garage demo.” “[It] is fairly representative of where our creative headspace is at right now,” Ulrich told Rolling Stone that March. “It’s one of those things that’s like, ‘Here, we’re writing and we’re creating.'” Later in the interview, he said he couldn’t speculate on where songwriting would take them. “Who knows what’s going to happen with this stuff?” he said.
By April, he estimated that the group was in the “fourth inning” of the album-creation process, and a year later he told Rolling Stone that he and his bandmates had close to 20 new songs that they were still working with. “Right now, it’s not like we’re going to do one of those things where we’ll just give it to iTunes on Thursday without telling anybody,” he said. “That’s not in the cards.” That same month, Hammett also revealed that he’d lost some 250 potential song ideas that were recorded to his iPhone when it went missing.
Metallica first began discussing the possibility of writing new music in 2012, though Hetfield said at the time that the group still needed to find the right inspiration. A year later, he said the group had “enough material for a record” – but that they hadn’t had time yet to sift through it “and start whittling it into these masterpieces.” Ulrich later said that they had nearly 600 song ideas. But by 2014, Hammett told Rolling Stone they hadn’t “really started” working on the LP. “James has 800 pieces of music; I have 400 pieces of music,” he said. “Once we figure out what pieces of music are actually gonna work for us, then we’re going to start turning those pieces of music into songs and seeing where that leads us.”
In the years since Death Magnetic came out, they’ve been immensely busy with band projects. They put out the 3-D movie Metallica Through the Never in 2013 and toured on all seven continents, including Antarctica. The year before, they launched their own music festival, Orion Music + More, which they staged again the next year. They united with Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax for a series of “Big Four” shows in 2011 and celebrated their 30th anniversary with a run of special gigs that saw them reuniting with all surviving past members and artists who inspired them. That same year, they also put out Lulu, their collaborative album with Lou Reed. They put out a live EP in 2010 and an EP of Death Magnetic outtakes, dubbed Beyond Magnetic, in 2011. They became Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members in 2009.
Outside of working on the album, the group has stayed active in other projects over the last couple of years. Hetfield contributed backing vocals to a jagged new song by Heart, “Beautiful Broken.” Ulrich did the honor of inducting Deep Purple into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The group took some time to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Master of Puppets both in an in-depth Rolling Stone feature and an upcoming new book, as well as that of Ride the Lightning with Rolling Stone. They served as Record Store Ambassadors and reissued their first two albums filled with what Ulrich told Rolling Stone were “goodies,” and even officially released one of their early demo tapes on cassette for the first time. The band recorded a tribute to Ronnie James Dio. Hammett built some guitar pedals for his KHDK company and reunited with his former band, Exodus, to record a song.
Hardwired … to Self-Destruct Track List
2. “Atlas, Rise!”
3. “Now That We’re Dead”
4. “Moth Into Flame”
5. “Am I Savage?”
6. “Halo On Fire”
2. “Dream No More”
4. “Here Comes Revenge”
5. “Murder One”
6. “Spit Out The Bone”
Disc Three (Deluxe Edition only)
“Lords Of Summer”
“Riff Charge (Riff Origins)”
“N.W.O.B.H.M. A.T.M. (Riff Origins)”
“Tin Shot (Riff Origins)”
“Plow (Riff Origins)”
“Sawblade (Riff Origins)”
“RIP (Riff Origins)”
“Lima (Riff Origins)”
“91 (Riff Origins)”
“MTO (Riff Origins)”
“RL72 (Riff Origins)”
“Frankenstein (Riff Origins)”
“CHI (Riff Origins)”
“X Dust (Riff Origins)”
Find out little-known facts about Metallica’s self-titled breakthrough LP. Watch here.