Kirk Hammett says that METALLICA's "authenticity" and "integrity" are behind the overwhelming success of the band's 10th studio album, 2016's "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct", and its extensive "WorldWired" tour, which have both been met with some of the best reviews of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame act's nearly 40-year career.
"I think for right now, there's a little bit of a vacuum [for] us and bands that sound like us," the guitarist told Cincinnati CityBeat. "There are a lot of great new bands out there, but I think people yearn for something that they know is made in a real sense. I think there's a bit of authenticity that comes with us that might not be attached to some of the more contemporary bands. We can be counted on to deliver in some form or another something that's real and authentic and something that has integrity. I think that really means a lot to some people these days, when a lot of music is just kind of like made by pressing a button… People can count on us showing up with our instruments and actually making music right there in the moment. And we deliver. Whatever you hear on our album, we can play live. I will not even try to count how many bands are incapable of that. I think that's part of it."
Hammett added that METALLICA naturally gravitated to a "return-to-roots" approach place on "Hardwired", which was hailed by many as the band's best work since "The Black Album."
"Certainly, with [2008's] 'Death Magnetic', we learned that it was okay to embrace our past with sort of a revisionist approach," he said. "That's what 'Death Magnetic' kind of started [as]. To an extent, it's continued with ['Hardwired'], too. We like to play music from all of the different eras, and at this particular point in our lives, playing the heavier stuff just is appealing to us. It feels right to me and it feels right to the other guys in the band."
Last November, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich told The Mercury News that "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" is possibly the band's "most successful record in 25 years in terms of reception. Obviously, this record isn't shipping as many units as records did 10 or 20 years ago," he noted. "But the perception is that it's probably our most well-received record since 'The Black Album.' So, to have that 30-plus years into your career, and to make a record that connects at that level — still — is crazy cool."
Ulrich went on to say that a lot of METALLICA fans are "really taking" to the songs from "Hardwired". "Like, we'll meet people at meet-and-greets and they'll be, like, 'My favorite song is 'Now That We're Dead'' and 'My favorite song is 'Halo On Fire'.
"This record is being received with the same appreciation as any of our other records. That's something that we didn't expect. And that's something that anyone who has been doing this as long as us should never take for granted."
"Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" was certified platinum in April 2017 by the RIAA (Recording Association Of America).
The platinum certification reflects a million equivalent album units, which blends traditional album sales, tracks sold from an album and on-demand audio and video streams.
"Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" debuted as expected at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 album chart in November 2016, selling 291,000 copies in its first week of release. Both of the band's previous outings, the aforementioned "Death Magnetic" and 2003's "St. Anger", sold more copies in shortened sales weeks. "Death Magnetic" moved 490,000 copies in a three-day window, while "St. Anger" shifted 418,000 copies in a similar frame.
"Hardwired... To Self-Destruct" consists of two discs, containing a dozen songs and nearly 80 minutes of music.