For 39 years, Kirk Hammett has been the lead shredder for Metallica. Next week, for Record Store Day, Hammett will release his first-ever solo-record, a four-song instrumental EP called Portals. Today, Hammett has shared a track from that EP, and it’s the first time he’s ever released a solo song.
“High Plains Drifter” shares a title with the 1973 Clint Eastwood Western. Metallica always take the stage to Ennio Morricone’s “The Ecstasy Of Gold,” from the score to The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, so it’s cool to see that Eastwood fixation coming through in Hammett’s other work. The song is a proggy, classical-influenced instrumental that combines Hammett’s guitar with dramatic, rising strings. Parts of its sound like the fluttery acoustic-interlude moments from Metallica records, and parts of it also recall spaghetti Western soundtracks. But by the time “High Plains Drifter” comes to and end, Hammett is once again shredding hard.
In a press release, Hammett says:
[“High Plains Drifter”] 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.
Listen to the track below.
Portals is out 4/23 on Blackened Recordings.