Review Summary: Come along the magical musical miscarriage tour
Since the release of Death Magnetic
, news on a new Metallica album has been pretty quiet. Heavy touring has kept fans from frothing at the mouth, but every year takes a little more out of the average ‘tallica devotee. While Death Magnetic
held a few strong songs, there was hope that with the next record they could combine their old aggression with a little more honest songwriting. What we all failed to realize is that they would just completely disregard writing anything with a bite or a fui
ng pulse, and here we are left with Hail to the King
While Metallica tried to reclaim some semblance of their early days with their past records, HttK
sounds like a cover band trying to replicate The Black Album
. Beginning with album opener “Shepherd of Fire” right on through closer “Acid Rain” there is an incredible lack of anything resembling ‘energy’ (and an apparent fascination with song titles relating to burning/sexually transmitted diseases). Hetfield’s voice seems to have regained some punch, but that punch belongs to the front man of a scene mallcore band apparently, as he sounds more pussified than ever before. The riffs don’t fare much better, as Hetfield and Hammet’s guitar playing has become so by the numbers they make the riffs from “Sad But True” sound like they could have come from Kill Em All
I really wanted to use this space to talk about how great the solos are, but it’s post “One” Metallica. Yeah. You get it.
Since they deemed it unnecessary to write anything of note, I guess we can delve into a deep lyrical analysis of the album. I use the word “analysis” only because it contains the word “anal”, and despite this album holding almost zero lyrical depth it definitely fills your ears with post-coital s
hit. While neither storytelling nor imagery was ever a strong point with the band, at least they used to put on the pretense of trying. The first lyric on the title track is “Watch your tongue I'll have it cut from your head/Save your life by keeping whispers unsaid” while the next line is “Children roam the streets now orphans of war/Bodies hanging in the streets to adore”. Let’s have a brain exercise: try and figure out what the f
uck those two lyrics could mean together. I’ll give you a minute. I’ll go grab a sandwich while you try and work it out.
If you ended up sitting in your chair, head lazily bobbing to the side with your tongue lolling out, congratulations, you have begun to feel what it is to listen to Hail to the King
. It’s as if Metallica decided to try and court the 16 year old post-mall goth crowd with a bunch of inane Black Veil Bride like lyrics, while adding in a bit of Avenged Sevenfold-lite songwriting. The question will eternally remain as to why the former kings of thrash decided to try and emulate the bands who emulated them, but hey, at least this is Metallica via Avenged Sevenfold via Metallica and not Metallica via Trivium via Metallica, right?