Metallica plays in Seattle for the first time in nine years. The thrash-metal pioneers are touring in support of their new album “Hardwired ... to Self-Destruct.”
Metallica fans in the Northwest will finally have something to roar about — expect them to be Beast Mode loud — when the band takes the stage for the first time in nine years at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday, Aug. 9.
The pioneering thrash-metal band from the Bay Area hasn’t been inactive even though it’s been nearly a decade since Metallica has played in Seattle. During that stretch, the four-piece band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, toured relentlessly through Europe and South America and released a collaborative album with Lou Reed.
Also giving fans a reason to rejoice is that 2016’s “Hardwired … to Self-Destruct,” the band’s first studio album in eight years, has them sounding much more like vintage Metallica. Rolling Stone gave the album fours stars and reviews from the tour indicate new songs like “Hardwired,” “Atlas, Rise” and “Moth into Flame” have been getting a warm reception sandwiched between early favorites like “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Master of Puppets” and “Seek and Destroy.”
Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Gojira
6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9, CenturyLink Field, 800 Occidental Ave. S., Seattle; $55.50-$155.50 (800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com).
“Hardwired …” marks a return to the band’s earlier thrash-metal sound and the title track has already racked up 34 million plays on Spotify. It’s also the band’s sixth consecutive No. 1 album and the first release for Blackened, a label Metallica started after leaving Warner Bros., which released the dismally sounding “Death Magnetic” in 2008.
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Formed in Los Angeles in 1981 by vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, the band shook up the glam-metal scene of the early 1980s by making music that was heavier, faster and louder than any of its peers. Hetfield and Ulrich, along with guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Cliff Burton, released two albums on independent label Megaforce before being signed to major label Elektra, where the band released six studio albums. Burton was killed in a horrific bus accident while the band was on tour in 1986. He was replaced by Jason Newsted, who quit the band in 2001. Current bassist, Robert Trujillo, has been with the group since 2003.
Alongside AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses and Foo Fighters, Metallica is the biggest hard-rock band touring the globe, and for this tour they’re bringing a massive stage set that reflects that, including 100-foot video screens and 40-foot pyrotechnic flames that burst into fireballs and fireworks. According to Rolling Stone, the show boasts 350,000 total watts of audio and 40,000 speakers — that level of sonic fire power coupled with a band that is used to playing in front of rabid fans means this show will be extremely loud. Ear plugs and hearing protection are recommended.
Despite all of its success, both critically and commercially, the band has never been embraced by the mainstream-music industry, and perhaps nothing illustrates that more than the debacle that took place at the 2017 Grammy Awards where presenter Laverne Cox introduced Lady Gaga, who was performing with the band, but failed to mention Metallica at all. Then, during the performance, Hetfield’s microphone malfunctioned, leaving him visually angered. It wasn’t their first embarrassment at the hand of the Grammy Awards. In 1989, Metallica was the favorite to take home the inaugural award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental, only to lose out to fading ’70s band Jethro Tull.
Grammy flubs aside, the band is in peak form right now. Playing massive stadium shows tends to turn bands into well-oiled machines. Reflecting on the tour and where the band is in its career, Hammett told Rolling Stone: “It feels good to be able to [expletive] do stadium tours after 30-plus years. There are a few bands still doing it on a level that’s similar to back in the day.” Hammett says it feels “like 1993 all over again.”