Record Store Day is officially this week, and Metallica‘s Kirk Hammett is acutely aware of the looming date. Cast your mind back to a couple of months ago when Hammett announced debut solo EP Portals. The four-track is out this Saturday, April 23, 2022 via Blackened Recordings for Record Store Day. Diehards and collectors will be frothing at the mouth for the Ocean Blue Vinyl variant that Hammett is sharing for the big day.
In the lead-up to the full release of Portals, the almighty guitarist has shared track-three of the EP, titled ‘High Plains Drifter‘, and it’s pretty special. The five-minute cinematic single captures the S&M atmosphere where Hammett immerses his riffs in an orchestral arch. Combined with the EP/track titles and album-art, it’s hard not to drift yourself into the deep blue as you hear Kirk’s signature style reimagined beyond the depths of the matured thrash engine of Metallica. This is arguably Hammett at his most creative. With a vocal effort from Eliza Bagg amongst other guest elements, the 59-year old has done a superb job at enticing fans for the forthcoming release.
The original EP announcement had Hammett share the following about ‘High Plains Drifter‘
“One of my favourite films of that period, moving from the 60’s into the 70’s, was High Plains Drifter. If you’re not familiar with the film, there’s a paranormal element to it. The music for the song, the third track on the EP, was not meant to be specifically music for that film, but it was once it was written, I immediately thought it conveyed the same sentiment as the film, so the piece was christened accordingly. The music for “High Plains Drifter” initially came from a Flamenco piece I had written. It was a two-and-a-half-minute piece, and I really liked it, but it was one of those riffs that would be hard to integrate into Metallica. I knew I wanted to do something with it, even though it came out spontaneously. I had been sitting outside messing around with a Flamenco acoustic guitar I’d just bought, and it flowed out in the moment. I was determined it would have a life. It would have its moment.
That’s the first piece I played for Edwin, and he said, “We have to do something with this!” I agreed, and the result of that collaboration is “High Plains Drifter”. I think it came out great, and one of the things I I love about this song is that I got to cycle through a whole bunch of different guitar techniques that I’m not particularly known for.
I also like that while I still consider it an instrumental, it has the only vocals on the EP. That was Edwin’s idea. We got the vocalist, Eliza Bagg, to come into the studio, and she just did a fantastic job. She nailed it.”
Words by Ricky Aarons (@rickysaul90)
Kirk Hammett – Portals tracklisting
1. Maiden and the Monster
2. The Jinn
3. High Plains Drifter
4. The Incantation