sat 07/12/2019

Metallica, Twickenham Stadium review - heavy metal titans bring the noise | reviews, news & interviews

Metallica, Twickenham Stadium review - heavy metal titans bring the noise

Metallica, Twickenham Stadium review - heavy metal titans bring the noise

The thrash veterans show 'em how it's done in spectacular style

The mighty Metallica: Robert Trujillo, Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett

“You want heavy?” Metallica frontman James Hetfield already knows the answer to that question, and he and his three fellow horsemen of the apocalypse certainly deliver that tonight. This stop on Metallica’s mammoth Worldwired tour is the second of only two UK dates this year – they played an extremely rainy Manchester a few days ago – and they are very pleased to be back. 

A Metallica show always begins with Ennio Morricone’s “The Ecstasy of Gold”, from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, so when the lights go down and those unmistakeable notes ring out, the crowd goes nuts before being battered over the head with the furious “Hardwired”, from 2016’s Hardwired… To Self-Destruct. While it’s an improvement from the echoey bounciness that afflicted opening acts Bokassa and Ghost, the sound is still distractingly not quite right. But the band is tight, Hetfield's vocals are as powerful as ever, and the visuals are spectacular. A vast, five-panel screen hurls dizzying animation, closeups of the band and a dazzling light show at the audience, with huge pyrotechnics scorching the sky. 

Perhaps surprisingly, Metallica’s latest album only gets four songs aired during tonight's two-and-a-half-hour show: “Hardwired”, “Here Comes Revenge”, “Moth Into Flame” and the bonus track “Lords of Summer” – it was a bit of a shame not to hear “Atlas, Rise!” or “Spit Out the Bone”, both highlights. Instead the setlist jumps thrillingly around the band’s 38-year history, including offerings from first album Kill ‘Em All, Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning and even the notoriously unloved (by many) St. Anger (“Say what you will,” growled Hetfield at another London gig, back in the day. “But that album kicks ass!”).

“Hardwired” is followed by “The Memory Remains”, from the underappreciated Reload, with Marianne Faithfull’s haunting backing vocals taken on by a very willing crowd. Then it’s back to the old school with “Ride the Lightning”, “Harvester of Sorrow” and a deliriously received “The Unforgiven”, a triptych of such extreme heaviness that we can feel Rob Trujillo’s ferocious bass thudding through our chests. However, there’s still a lot of love for the newer songs and Hetfield is clearly thrilled at the reception they’re getting. He’s on particularly chatty, genial form, and seems to be in a really good mood. “It’s not cheap to go see Metallica,” he acknowledges (he’s not wrong – general standing tickets for this gig are in the region of £100), and he wants us to know we’re appreciated. But before he gets too soppy, he asks us if we want heavy. “Metallica gives you heavy!” Hetfield roars before launching into a punishing “Sad But True”. 

The main set – which also featured a snatch of Iron Maiden's "Killers" – concludes with a gasp-inducing gallop through “One”, “Master of Puppets”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, “Creeping Death” and an epic “Seek & Destroy”. As good as the latest album is, it’s songs like these that really remind you why Metallica are so loved. “Lords of Summer” is a bit of an odd choice to come back with for the encore, but there’s absolutely no arguing with “Nothing Else Matters” and “Enter Sandman”. A load of insane fireworks and a slightly self-indulgent drawn-out goodbye later, and we’re spat back out, ears ringing, into the dark streets of residential Twickenham, which is probably relieved it’s all over. But goodness, what a show it was. 

 

The setlist jumps thrillingly around the band's 38-year history

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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