What’s the story? After nearly eight long years, metal gods Metallica are back. The last two records, 2003's St Anger and 2008's Death Magnetic, have divided fans split on the songwriting and the production, the latter hugely criticised for being overcompressed and, ultimately, not actually that rocking. Hardwired…To Self-Destruct, the band's eleventh studio album, is due on 18 November and will feature 12 songs lasting 80 minutes, so expect some seriously epic tracks. However, first taster Hardwired is a taut 3 minutes and 8 seconds of straight-to-the-point metal. Featuring a Maiden-esque gallop, don't go looking for too much philosophy in the lyrics ("we're so fucked/shit outta luck"), but just enjoy the constant, relentless riffing and the half-speed mid section when James Hetfield unleashes a trademark face-melting solo. Thankfully, the production, in the hands of Greg Fidelman, is absolutely banging - the drums sound big, the guitars meaty and Hetfield's vocals clear. Roll on November, then roll on festival season next summer.
For fans of: Iron Maiden, Slayer, Megadeth
In three words: Tight riffing return