I can count on one hand the bands that mean more to me than Metallica. Which is hardly rare, if you were to ask a hundred heavy metal fans they would probably say the same. In fact, ask a thousand, they’ll still be up there. And yet recent years haven’t been too kind to ‘Tallica. The whole Lulu debacle came after two average at best and downright bad at worst albums. While ‘Lords of Summer’ and some sloppy live shows didn’t exactly set the bar high for what was to come in the future. That was until they dropped ‘Moth Into Flame’.
Because, and I can’t quite believe it myself, ‘Moth Into Flame’ is fucking good. Those riffs suddenly sound sharp, and the harmonies heading into the chorus give you hope. It’s not ‘Master of Puppets’ but it is a heavy metal song that I want to listen to and from Metallica in 2016, that’s almost as good.
Or is it? Because the real question is whether they can do that for a whole album, ‘Hardwired’ – the other song released from the album so far – is distinctly average and wouldn’t look out of place on the incredibly bland Death Magnetic. One good song does not an album make and I worry that ‘Moth Into Flame’ is that one good song.
It also annoys me, because if Hardwired… To Self Destruct (which is a fucking stupid title by the way) is good, I don’t want to know about it beforehand. Despite all my problems with Metallica, I will be picking it up day one and if I turn it on and it’s brilliant it will be a moment of almost total joy while if it is shit, I will shrug and get on with my life.
However, by dropping a song that hints that Metallica can still be motherfucking Metallica they have suddenly reminded me why I love that band. There is a feeling that they could do something great again, and out of nowhere, I’m excited. I’ve been let down far too many times by this band to be pleased with being excited about their album – if that makes sense.
I feel I should clarify that I want the Metallica album to be good. I want it to be good more than pretty much anything else because it means that they’re not just a tribute band. It gives them a reason to keep going for another five years. Yet, despite this song, I can’t see it. They have been average for far too long. That fire that made them such an essential band seems to have gone out. They are globe-conquering rock stars and it must be hard to find what made you tick all those years ago.
However, for the first time in a long time, there’s a glimmer of hope and ‘Moth Into Flame’ brought that hope. If they hurt me again, it will have made it all the worse.