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Metallica’s Hardwired: Kirk Hammett Wanted to Write More, Rob Trujillo Calls the Album “Lars’ Vision”

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It’s no secret that James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich have done a significant bulk of Metallica’s songwriting over the years. If we go by the liner notes of their albums, in fact, there has never been a Metallica song with which Hetfield wasn’t involved, and there’s only been one, “Motorbreath,” that Ulrich didn’t co-write. That’s obviously a big leap from, say, Jason Newsted, who made four albums with the band over the course of fifteen years and still only racked up three songwriting credits.

Still, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett usually gets to make some substantial contributions, too — probably more than fans appreciate (let’s not forget, this is the dude who wrote the iconic main riff for “Enter Sandman”). But according to a new interview with Team Rock, this wasn’t the case on Metallica’s latest offering, Hardwired… To Self-Destruct. Hammett calls his lack of input on the new record a “very bitter pill to swallow” before continuing:

“For me, being in this band, I always want to contribute. I always have a lot of musical concepts and ideas to bring to the table. Obviously, that was not meant to be this time, and I had to accept that fact.

“So I focused on my solos, just making sure that my playing on the album was at its best – at its full potential. Hopefully I can bring my ideas to the next Metallica album. I just hope it’s not another eight years.”

It’s worth noting that Hammett’s lack of songwriting on Hardwired stemmed, at least in part, from the fact that he lost a phone with 250 potential riffs on it while they were making the album. Hammett was hammered when he wrote “Enter Sandman,” and didn’t even remember it the next day — luckily, he’d called Ulrich on the phone and played the riff for the drummer. So who knows. The next “Enter Sandman” could have been on that phone.

Unfortunately for Hammett, it very well could end up being another eight years before Metallica make another record. The gaps between Metallica albums have increased for almost every release since …And Justice for All (1988):

  • Metallica (1991)
  • Load/Reload (’96/’97)
  •  St. Anger (2003)
  • Death Magnetic (2008)
  • Hardwired (2016)

Poor Kirk.

For his part, Rob Trujillo, at least, seems satisfied not writing much of the band’s music:

“Lars focused more on simplifying the creative journey, and locking into James and really bringing him in for this album. It’s Lars’ vision, and I’m happy to support whatever we need to do.”

I tell ya what: for Metallica money, I’d happily keep my mouth shut and just play what I’m told, too. I mean, I’m sure Jason Newsted is just THRILLED with the results of that one Echobrain album, but still…

So did Hetfield and Ulrich make the right decision taking the lead on songwriting for this album? St. Anger would certainly suggest that the answer is “yes,” but we’ll find out for sure when Hardwired is released this Friday, November 18.

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