Metallica are the undisputed champs of marathon tour schedules, and its North American stadium gigs with Avenged Sevenfold, Volbeat, and Gojira — which commence Wednesday at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium — are no different.
“We really love to get out there and stay out there — it’s in this band’s collective DNA,” says lead guitarist Kirk Hammett of the 36-year-old band, which has toured every single year since 1983. Indeed, the tour in support of the group’s 2016 album, “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct,” will keep them on the road until at least May 11 of next year.
But before the marauding quartet takes to the boards, Metallica will host an intimate “Now That We’re Live” rehearsal special on Tuesday from M&T Bank Stadium to stream exclusively on Facebook Live at 9 p.m. ET. Metallica will play four new songs, including its most recent single, “Now That We’re Dead“; certain unspecified special effects from the show will also be previewed. Fans will also be able to donate to the band’s All Within My Hands Foundation, which supports a cross-section of national and international charities, during the broadcast.
“We are truly psyched to share some of our rehearsals and final per-production run-throughs with our friends around the world,” wrote Lars Ulrich in an email. “We’re firing up the engines.”
Many fans noted that “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct” had the feel of Metallica’s early albums, and Hammett confirmed that the group went back to its first long-player, 1983’s “Kill ‘Em All,” for inspiration. “We wanted to return to the idea of short and sweet, fast and hard songs,” he says. “Closer to six or seven riff-heavy tunes in an hour, rather than the three or four extended ones you’d normally get from us in a set.”
Yet despite the desire for shorter and tighter songs, new six-minute-plus epics like “Halo on Fire” and “Spit Out the Bone” show just how vicious this quartet still can be, more than 35 years since their start.
“‘Spit Out the Bone’ is the Mount Everest of the new album — the highest peak and the hardest ascent,” Hammett says of the mammoth Hetfield/Ulrich-penned track. “On the rest of the record, I improvised my solos — not that one. The instrumentation on that song is so tight that I wanted to solo with equal precision.”
“How hard [is it to play]? We haven’t done it yet live,” he continues. “We keep saying that we will by summer. We really have to work up to it!”