Earlier this week, Metallica announced the release of a new album, due in November, and a new single, Hardwired, which is available here. Metallica fans have always been a disputatious bunch, and opinion on the latest track quickly divided into two schools of thought.
The conservative faction, which has been miserable, outnumbered and out of power since the late 1980s, denounced the song as an unsuccessful raid on the group’s thrash metal roots. Unworthy of the eight-year wait, unimaginative riffs, and fatuous lyrics made up the lengthy bill of complaint.
The progressive element, which is chirpy and more numerous, greeted the new track with all the enthusiasm, head-banging and variations of “Hell yeah!” that the situation unquestionably called for. For these fans, Load is criminally underrated and Lulu, you know, is really worth a second listen.
This, of course, is a caricature, but it’s based upon a reading of the comments under the Hardwired video on YouTube, where only the most passionate and quarrelsome views find expression. This has convinced me that the vast majority of Metallica listeners fall into neither of the two camps: they are centrists and moderates who have attended a concert or two; they have their personal favourite songs and albums, but would only ever express polite disagreement with their fellow fans; they listened to Metallica in their youth and now do so irregularly, but every time they do, they find their youthful appreciation very much intact.