Metallica: "We hate each other, and we love each other"
They anger metal elitists but confuse the mainstream – so just where do Metallica fit in 2016? With a new album here, they explain why they're still doing things their own way
It’s here. It’s finally fucking here. As Metal Hammer sits in a lush, decked-out Q Prime Management boardroom, 20 floors above a bustling Times Square on a muggy October morning, it’s finally time to get stuck into what is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most eagerly anticipated heavy release of the last decade. An album that we were honestly starting to think might never see the light of day. An album eight years in the making. An album that, after all the delays, the touring excursions, the festivals, the film, the Lou Reed… thing, the lost riffs, the Antarctica gig, Glastonbury and God almighty knows what else, will come to define the next chapter of the story of the biggest metal band in the world. Even by Metallica’s lofty standards, this is A Very Big Deal.
As the first few, battering notes of Hardwired… To Self-Destruct’s title track kick into gear, it’s still hard not to imagine that something’s about to go wrong: that at any moment, Lars Ulrich is going to burst through the door, march across the room, pull the plug of the impressive PA that’s been set up for us and announce that, no, actually, the album isn’t coming yet after all, because Metallica have decided to do a Garage Inc tour instead, or play on the moon, or launch their own manga animated series, or… but no. Sure enough, as the first track wraps up, the thumping intro to Atlas, Rise! boots off and we are officially in unknown territory. Two discs, 12 songs, 80 minutes of new Metallica material. Time to get comfy – this is gonna take a while…