Hardwired … to Self-Destruct

For their 10th studio album, Metallica return to their thrash-metal roots, a sound credited with influencing a generation of headbangers. However technically gifted the American four-piece may have become in the intervening years, though, Hardwired suggests their best work is behind them. This is the sound of a band doing little more than treading the boards; turning up for work but not really adding anything to the brand. Not that this isn’t a well prod­uced and executed album, it’s just that it sits too comfortably alongside Master of Puppets to suggest that 30 years separates the two bodies of work. Metallica are unques­tionably an awesome prospect in the flesh, as Hong Kong fans will discover on January 20 – by which time the anthemic Here Comes Revenge and the brutal title track will no doubt have become crowd favourites – but, like the Rolling Stones, they risk becoming just another must-see live band with a great back catalogue, hardwired ... to keep churning out the metal.