23.11.02016

Last modified 08.10.02017

“Show those ruffians how it’s done” – André and Fred listen to Metallica

By André Dack, and Frederick O'Brien

“Hardwired”

André

Riffs

Fred

And things being hit hard and fast

André

There will always be a space for that

I’ve heard this one, I think it was the promo single or something

Fred

It’s quite a punchy little number, I suppose

Gets your attention

André

It works in the same way Limerent Death did for me

The Dillinger opener

Fred

Yeah, similar vibe

Metallica have this uncanny knack for sounding accessible, though

You know how grating I find most hardcore metal music

André

I think it’s mostly down to the production

It’s not too suffocating is it

Fred

It’s almost cuddly

Cuddly metal

André

And Hetfield’s vocals are kinda tame in contrast to other, more punishing metal vocalists

‘Cuddly metal’ is likely to upset Metallica fans as a tagline

Thus I approve

Fred

Haha, good

“Atlas, Rise!”

Fred

I like this

André

I dig it

You know what you’re gonna get with them

Two tracks in, and it seems like a good Metallica fix

Fred

Definitely

This sound would fit in on the very finest Tony Hawk game soundtrack

André

Radical, man

Fred

This is really well put together

We’re over five minutes into the track and it doesn’t feel it at all

André

You’re right, fucking hell

I hadn’t noticed

Atlas, Rise! – good job

If I were to be ultra-critical, the sound is perhaps so clean

The riffs are kickass – but the production is pretty safe. Tame, even

“Now That We’re Dead”

Fred

Well, to that point, this groove has a lot more grit to it

Though generally I agree

But that’s more of a relief to me than it is to you

André

Haha, different stokes

Fred

Ironically, because they don’t do that horrible death growl thing I actually would like to hear a rawer sound

This track with a bit more snarl would be a proper rocker

André

I don’t think it helps that Lars Ulrich is drumming with his usual uninspiring finesse

It’s fine, and the snare fills are impressive, it’s just predictable

Fred

Ah, I like it. And how original can a band really sound after 35 years?

André

I guess that’s the ultimate question, isn’t it?

Don’t get me wrong – this is the best they’ve sounded for fucking ages

Fred

I get the impression this is like getting an old favourite dish

I will say, the album length did catch my eye going into this

Let’s see how indulgent I am in an hour

André

Oh. It’s almost 90 minutes

I’m calling it: we considerably enjoy disc one, and become irritated half way through disc two

Fred

It’s all right. When that happens we can just talk about Harry Kane for a bit

André

swoon

“Moth Into Flame”

Fred

This track is also listenable and fun. Who’d have thought?

Long tracks so far, opener aside. Not that they feel it

André

So far, every song has warranted its length

It’s not often we get to say that, as the time police

Fred

Give it… time

“Dream No More”

Fred

This feels a tad milked

André

Yeah. Slight change of pace here with Dream No More

Fred

There we go

Ooh, I like this

André

Excellent groove

Fred

That’s as far as my insights will go

André

Sometimes that’s all that needs to be said

Do we just have a soft spot for old-timers or something?

This year in particular. Bowie, Nick Cave, Swans, now Metallica

Radiohead, obviously

Fred

I think we have a soft spot for old-timers who walk the walk

In the grand scheme of things, they usually don’t

The old-timers who didn’t die have had a fine 2016, I think

André

Well, one generation had to didn’t they

Fred

That’s true. The young blood have offered up a whole lot of tripe

So hearing some geezers rocking out super tight is a welcome thing

“Halo on Fire”

Fred

Eight minutes of power chords incoming

André

We’ve come to the end of first disc already?

It’s flown by

Ooh, nice. This is reminiscent of One

Fred

They’re changing up their sound plenty, to be fair to them

Where there is sameyness I think it has more to do with the production than with the music

As you were saying earlier

André

Definitely

Fred

Digging the smoother vocals here

André

Yeah I was gonna say, his tone suits these subtle cuts down to the ground

I have to say, this first disc has been pretty damn good

I don’t have many complaints

Fred

Likewise.

This is closing things out brilliantly as well

André

I’ll admit I’m concerned that we still have another 45 minutes, however

Fred

Same

If they stopped here I’d be dead chuffed

One of the fastest forty minutes of the year

André

Yeah absolutely

“Confusion”

Fred

Chords? More like DISchords!

Not feeling this as much

André

No

It’s alright, it’s lacking though

Those riffs feel messy too

Fred

The whole thing seems a bit sloppy by their standards

But they’ve set a very high bar up to this point, to be fair

André

That’s what I’m telling myself, in order to restrain myself from skipping it

Fred

Two minutes to go

André

Ok, if the album doesn’t let up, and continues at the same pace, it’s gonna feel very tiresome

But if this 2nd side ends up containing more melodic cuts like Halo on Fire, we’ll be on to a winner

Confusion was not the best start, though

Fred

First track to feel its length

Let’s see what subtlety ManUNkind has up its sleeve

“ManUNkind”

André

This is a great riff

Fred

This is more like it

*was

Ooh, *is

André

Yeah this is TUBULAR

Fred

Muse wish they sounded like this these days

André

I dig it. There’s an edge to this

That main riff has a real unusual quality to it

Fred

I will say though, because it keeps happening, that a lot of these intros feel a bit indulgent

They keep getting away with it because they lead into something great

André

Natural after 50 odd minutes of it

This is one of the best tracks though

Fred

This is rocking

André

We can safely put Confusion on the ‘unnecessary’ list

Fred

For sure.

André

That riff is so damn funky

What a highlight

Fred

Poor thing’s sandwiched between two of the best songs as well

Yeah, terrific

André

I am such a sucker for a great riff

Fred

There’s no beating it

The guitar sounds top as well

You’re so going to learn this

André

My Ibanez may be in Metallica mode for a couple of weeks, yeah

Fred

I’ll never get tired of metal track names

Never

“Here Comes Revenge”

Fred

Throttling stuff, this

Not letting up at all

And I’m happy about it

André

I’m feeling slight fatigue, if only because it’s been almost an hour

Really good hooks on this one though

I tell you what

For better or worse (though mostly better), this is far more focused than lots of this years major album drops too

Fred

It is

But being unfocused is en vogue at the moment

André

Did you see Kanye walked off stage after three songs last night?

Fred

Nope. Why?

André

He had a rant about Jay-Z, Beyonce, Clinton. Then walked off

He needs help

Fred

Haha, this outro blitz is fucking great

I’ll have to have a look

Do you think we’re the only ones who can?

André

Maybe

That or he needs his dose of Metallica

Fred

There’s a good one going round

They’re three tracks away from one of the best releases of the year

“Am I Savage?”

André

Another solid groove here

Proper headbanger

Fred

Nearly all the songs are over five minutes, and they’re getting away with it

We’re surely over an hour in at this point

André

We are yeah

I wouldn’t say it hasn’t felt like an hour, because it has, but it’s been an hour well spent. So far, so good

Fred

Agreed

The opening disc flew by, though

The length catches up with it on side two

André

No band would completely get away with a 90 minute album I reckon

Fred

I think you’re right

But fair play to these guys, they’re having a good old go at it

“Murder One”

Fred

Really authoritative riff on this track

André

We can establish this is one of the more accomplished releases of the year

But maybe some fine-tuning and editing would have made it something even better

Fred

Perhaps, but then there’s only one superfluous track

There’s almost too much goodness for its own good

André

Yeah haha, bizarrely

I think things have more room to make an impact when they are cut shorter

Either way, this certainly gets a thumbs up from me

Fred

Same. Glad we’ve listened to it

This is a ‘show those ruffians how it’s done’ album if there ever was one

André

Another solid tune, but I’m very almost done now

“Spit Out the Bone”

Fred

Well, good thing it’s the closer!

André

And it’s started fucking well

Fred

Christ, our top ten lists are going to be dominated by middle-aged men and dead people

André

2016

Fred

What a year

André

This reminds me of how the whole album started. All those 70 odd minutes ago

It’s gone full circle

Fred

Yeah, I like that

And it has been quite the epic

We didn’t even need to talk about Harry Kane

André

Luckily for you

Fred

We’d need a NSFW tag

Going out with a bang aren’t they

Breathless

André

Yeah. Good for them. This is good shit

I’m impressed, and I didn’t expect to be

Fred

No. I thought you’d suggested it so we could be smarmy and all that

Then I learnt it’s meant to be great

André

I was almost hoping we’d get the opportunity

But yes, it’s turned out to be rather good

Well

Fuck you, Metallica