Metallica’s Kirk Hammett Shares “High Plains Drifter,” New Instrumental Solo EP ‘Portals’ Out 4/23

Adrian GarroCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett is as much a fan of movies (specifically, horror films) as the most dedicated Metallica fans are of the thrash metal icons‘ career — and this Friday, April 23, Hammett will dip his feet into the waters of “solo artist” territory for the very first time with Portals, a new instrumental EP that stands side-by-side with his lifelong love of cinema.

Hammett previewed it recently with a track called “High Plains Drifter,” which can be heard below.

Listening to the composition, it would be perfectly suited for the score of a dark spaghetti western, very much in line with Hammett’s extracurricular interests outside the Metallica realm:

The song, of course, shares its name with a classic 1973 film. About that, said Hammett in a statement that his track, “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.”

And of the project in general, with significant context for each track available on the official Metallica site:

“Initially, before I even had the idea for a solo EP, I was inspired by the need to create some sort of soundtrack music to accompany The Kirk Hammett Collection for the first “It’s Alive” exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, 2017. I wanted to conceive music to play on a loop in the background as people walked through the exhibit. I sat down one night with a progression, and before I knew it, all the parts were there for “Maiden and the Monster.”

The initial concept for Portals started with that one song. Following that, I realized I could create different soundtrack moments. These songs are what I call ‘Audio Cinematic;’ I’m creating sounds and pieces of music for the movies playing in my head. Hopefully they’ll create movies in other people’s heads in a similar fashion.”

The track listing:

“Maiden and the Monster”
“The Jinn”
“High Plains Drifter”
“The Incantation”

The latter two tracks were co-written by Edwin Outwater, who also plays keys and, per a news release, “leads the orchestral players from the LA Philharmonic” on the EP. Hammett and Outwater previously collaborated on Metallica’s S&M2 concerts and releases, which paired the thrash metal titans with an orchestra.

Also lending their talents on Portals are drummers Jon Theodore and Abraham Laboriel, bassist Greg Fidelmin, arranger Blake Neely and Bob Rock.

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