Metallica matches huge roar with big spectacle: review

MetallicaSunday, July 16 at Rogers CentreThe members of Metallica may be greying around the temples, but their ferocity still packs the mightiest of roars.Thirty-two years after the brazen four-piece from San Rafael, Calif. made its Toronto debut at The Concert Hall (back at a time when the genre was known as thrash metal and the band sandwiched between W.A.S.P. and Armoured Saint from the where-are-they-now? files) Metallica vanquished Father Time to the sidelines on Sunday and gave the somewhere-between-40,000-and-50,000-faithful the time of their lives.Article Continued BelowIt’s almost an injustice to call the multi-generational leagues of Metallica followers “fans,” as they’re just as much a part of the show as the band itself, singing word-for-word at the top of their lungs and often drowning out singer James Hetfield on such songs “Wherever I May Roam” and “Hit The Lights” in the process, reveal how much the Metallica canon has ingrained itself into their collective DNAs over the years. Left, Kirk Hammett, and right, James Hetfield, of Metallica, perform at Soldier Field on June 18, 2017 in Chicago.  (Nuccio DiNuzzo / TNS)  The new material from Hardwired . . . To Self-Destruct, their first album in nine years, is no less potent than the music that came before it: ear-battering, machine-gun rhythms delivered by the hard-line rhythm section of bass player Robert Trujillo and drummer Lars Ulrich, check; blistering, lightning-fingered leads that define and articulate powerful melodies, succinctly executed by guitarists Kirk Hammett and Hetfield, check; typically dead-on topical observations about some of society’s scourges and struggles in general . . . well, you get the idea.And it’s all packed and packaged into a larger-than-life two-and-a-half-hour spectacle — their first big venue show here since 2009 (they were at the Opera House back in November for a special benefit) — with all four Metallica band members projected onto a three-storey screen, complemented by whatever accompanying video or bit of animation the song being performed at the time required.The optical treats included the as-expected spectacular pyrotechnics that Metallica has built part of its reputation on, but kicked up a notch: hot flashes of eyebrow-singeing flame one could feel the heat from all corners of the ballpark, and a neat “march of fire” effect delivered during “Moth Into Flame” not far from Hammett’s stage perch.