Ideas for iOS 11

Hi folks. This is yet another post on iOS but this time it’s all about iOS 11. I have some ideas of what I would like to see when iOS 11 rolls around in September.
To start off with, I like iOS 10 so far and thankfully with the latest updates, some problems have been fixed. For example, when I’m reading an article on Wikipedia when I select a section it reads it twice and says “edit”. For example: when I’m looking at a band or a person and the section is “History” it says history twice then it says edit and goes on to read all about the history section of the article. Another thing which I am very happy about is that finally The Simpson’s is acknowledged on my iPod touch. Ever since I had one of them, when it reads the TV show titles it has always left it blank or it says “in iCloud.” Thankfully with the last two iOS 10 updates this has been fixed.
Now we’re going to start talking about iOS 11th and what I would like to see. Before we do that, let’s talk about what we know so far. First of all, we know that the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c are no longer a part of the future iOS updates as of the end of iOS 10.  We also now know that Siri will be revamped with a more human sounding voice and I wonder if since new voices have been added to VoiceOver, will Ava and Tom Be the new Siri voices for North American English speakers? it would make sense because those two voices are used for GPS and telephone IVR systems, as I have mentioned in past posts. The same could be true for other voices and dialects around the world, which were added on for iOS 10.
Also, the App Store will get a redesign and I wonder what that will be like. I hope that it will be just as simple for people like myself who are blind to get around, as well as those who can see their devices.
Anyway, those are just two things that jumped out at me when I First read about iOS 11 on Wikipedia. now let’s talk about what I would like to see in the update for iOS, which is not been spoken about and yes, I will mention voices which I and others would like to see added on in September. 
First of all, I have an issue with the alarm clock in that it does not play the full song anymore, unless it’s under 15 minutes. I specifically but one of my songs in my music library as and alarm to wake me up. Unfortunately the song is about 22 minutes long but as of iOS 10 it only plays 15 minutes of it then it shuts off. I hope that with iOS 11 goes back to iOS 8 and how the alarms used to Play an entire song, no matter how long it is whether it is two or 20 minutes long without repeating it.
As for the voices I would like to see in Voice Over, I hope they all stay because all the voices are good in their own right. I especially appreciate the fact that we can download the Siri voices as I mentioned in the past and I’m not going to get into it any further. However, I want to see some new voices added, particularly for North America. Some of the names I like to see added are: Paul, Mike, Jennifer, Donna and or Crystal in iOS 11, along with everything else. I like Donna because much like Alex, she actually breeds but she does sound a little more robotic then most of the voices we have here. However, she does have a human intonation to her voice.
This brings me to changing the internation of a voice, which you can currently do on the computer but not on an iPhone or an iPod. I would love to change The internation of some voices, to make them higher and maybe even deepen one or two of them slightly. For example: I would love to make Ava’s voice just a bit higher and she’ll sound even better to me. I think this could be done with the option of changing the pitch. Simply, they can add the option to change the pitch not by toggling anything on or off but by creating a new option to change the pitch or intonation of the voice, as well as maybe the inflections of the selected voice. In some cases some voices don’t speak properly in that they don’t acknowledge questions by the voice going up at the end. Karen is a prime example of this and I would like to change that if it is possible with iOS 11. Also, I would Play with other voices to either make them lower or higher, just so I can hear what they sound like. Now that we have Fred, you could do the same thing with my proposal of adding on the pitch change option. Imagine me Fred sound more robotic?
As for other things I would like to see in iOS11 and later, iTunes should have a section where if you can’t find the album in your country store you should be able to get it from another store around the world. We could do that and record stores where they sell imported copies of albums at a higher price. Why not with iTunes? Obviously the price will be higher because it’s an import but, at least we would all get what we want without having to get another iTunes Account in another country or address. It would certainly save a lot of headaches when looking for an album on iTunes using Google and finding out it’s available in another country, other than where you live. I’ve been burned by that many times and I had discussed that here and in other blogs.
The same could go for apps on the App Store, where if you can’t find what you want and it’s available somewhere else, you could get it at a higher price. Once again, this would save a lot of headaches when searching for something on Google. Although in the case of apps, I can understand why some aren’t available everywhere because not all apps apply to everywhere around the world. However, in the case of iTunes, music does apply to everywhere around the world and everyone should have the same access to the same music, where ever you live. The same with audiobooks because I’ve done the same thing on Google and as I mentioned earlier with music, I’ve been burned by finding out an audiobook is available somewhere else and the same thing with movies and TV shows.
To end off this post I have some other ideas: I would still like to see video playlists being added to the videos app because I would love to watch episodes of some TV shows in a certain order. Also for the Maps app, I think that the iPhone should speak with all options while going somewhere. I find that it doesn’t say anything when using Transit options. Yes there are transit apps but the maps app does have The options for driving, walking and transit directions. It talks while driving or walking but why not for Transit?
For the notes app I think that you should be able to move attachments from not just iCloud and the “My iPhone” folders but two other folders throughout the app, encompassing your email or (email addresses) if you have more than one. Also I think that for iBooks and the audiobooks portion, not just the title and author should be shown but who also narrates the book. For example: I have a copy of A Christmas Carol which is narrated by Patrick Stewart. It does not say that on the outside but if you open the book, the voiceover says it before the story starts.
If we have apps with sounds Or voices attached to them they should be automatically a part of the suite of ring tones, voices and alert tones. For example: One of my weather apps has its own sounds for when an alert is issued. I would like to have that as an alert tone for my phone, for whatever I would like it to be for email or otherwise. further to that, I hope that in the future we can select a voice for voice alerts for apps which allow for it. For example, all the apps so far whitch have a voice alert option use the compact voice as opposed to the enhanced voice. I think we should at least be given the option, as to which voice we would like to use for the particular app and it’s voice alert. Also, since some people like to switch voices on the fly, why not allow for the option for each app to use a different voice if we desire. For example, I would use Tom for my weather apps and as my default voice I would use either Ava or Samantha and for Safari, I would use a different voice. This could be done in either the speak screen or voice over speech setting options and at first, I admit it would look confusing but it would give us what we really want, which is variety without having to change things manually on the fly.
Finally, I hope that all of the upgrades which have been made in iOS 10 continue in iOS 11. I like the text selection, which is great for copying and pasting text from emails and websites, for example. I have also gotten used to the new email format and well, I hope both examples I have mentioned here stay in iOS 11 and future upgrades.


iOS10 Presently

Hi folks. This is another entry in the blog, about iOS10 and how it is doing for me, so far. I’ve commented on it in the past few months and I will get more into some things I just touched on in previous posts.
In the case of the voices, we have a whole host of them to work with in all dialects. The American voices have been expanded to include not just the classic tones but voices such as: Ava, Allison, Susan, Fred, Tom, Kate, Oliver, Serena, Lee and many others. Even the Siri names have been exposed such as: for the American Siri voice as we have Nicky for the female voice and Aaron for the mail voice. For the Australian voice we have Catherine for the female Siri and Gordon for the mail Siri voice. For the British voice we have Martha for the female voice and Albert for the mail Siri voice.
If you recognize some of the voices from elsewhere, you are not alone. Tom was previously one of the voices for not just a number of IVR phone systems but also the mail voice for NOAA Weather Radio, untill 2016. He might be returning to Weather Radio in the future, as the new English speaking voice for Weatheradio Canada. However, it may be a while yet before everything falls into place for changes to the current voice platform.
Ava has been currently used on a number of ivr phone systems for some transit systems and even Greyhound’s phone number. However, in some cases she has been used as the secondary voice, alongside the main human voice with the greeting and the prompts. In the case of Go Transit, she’s the voice who responds to words much like Siri, with such such phrases as for example: “you would like to depart from Union Station. Is that right?” I think she was chosen because she speaks slowly and clearly and this is also evident, when using her on my iPhone or my iPod touch. Her voice also has a calming affect on you and you just wish she could give you a hug, after she helped you get where you wanted to eventually go.
In the case of Susan, the only place I found her so far is on the IVR phone system for MiWay,the transit system for Mississauga Ontario. Again, she is actually the occasional robotic female voice, behind the human female voice who speaks the prompts. My guess is she is used for phrases which may have been too difficult to properly record or process, but I’m not sure. Either way, that is her and I’ll explain how I know this with both her and Ava.
In the cases of both Ava and Susan, I did an experiment using applications for Transit Systems in the GTA or writing out something that would sound similar to what they would say on the IVR phone system. In the case of Ava, I actually wrote out “You’re crazy. Is that right?” I just wanted to prove to myself that nothing was changed in her dialect or inflections and of course, I was correct. In the case of Susan, I use one of my transit applications which also had MiWay as a part of it and I use one of the stock locations I’d heard on the phone. The speed was changed slightly, along with the vocal phrasing but it was Susan, without any doubt. Her voice is very distinguishable from the human sounding voice, which breathes and Susan of course, does not breathe, unlike Alex. I don’t know why but I picture the voice of Susan as a Woman who is tall and slender and a very outgoing and kind personality. In the case of Ava, she sounds like a very relaxed and very nice person, who is more average height and average build, but with a gentle nature.
I think all those voices were chosen because most if not all of them, were and are used as GPS voices. Obviously, Karen Jacobson is a main voice but also Samantha is used, along with Tom and other voices. It’s kind of hard not to imagine any of them saying “turn right at the next intersection. Walk 100 m to your destination” on a GPS system from either Garmin or tom-tom.
As for my own personal use of the voices, I use them for everything you can think of such as: reading things, composing blog entries like this one and yes, using them for going places with my transit apps or my maps app on the iPhone. I know there are still many other voices out there, which have yet to appear on iPhones and other iOS devices, which are available and heard on other mediums such as TV and radio. Also, let us not forget that some voices are used in your local train or bus station and someday they will appear on your iOS device, so you can have a lot of fun with them in the future. Picture creating your own trip plan in your head, to where ever it is you want to go and putting it in your notes app on: your iPhone, iPod, iPad or whatever iOS device you have. If the human sounding Paul is available for iOS11, that would be great for those of us who have weather applications, which have the American weather forecasts available to us. After all, Paul is currently being used for NOAA Weather Radio. Also, let us not forget about Mike and Crystal, who are also voices that have been used for various automated services in the past 13 years or so. Even some amateur radio repeaters use Mike or Crystal as the identification voice to put out the call sign. Even a computerized voice which was used for the old Speak And Spell toy is used on some repeaters for the same purpose. Will it, Mike or Crystal become available for iOS in the future? It’s hard to say but it depends on how big the update is and I’m certainly looking forward to iOS 11 and beyond, to hear what new voices become a part of my life for the next year going forward.
As for everything else, well… Everything else seems to be going along swimmingly. Although, in the case of iOS 10 point to the video app had a bug in it, which didn’t allow videos that were not on all devices not to be shown. I don’t know why but it was thankfully fixed for iOS 10.2.1. I also noticed that I have been able to download things as usual, since I have deleted Siri app suggestions. What I do like is that I can actually go to either music or the iBooks by going to the Control Center and going to page 2. In the case of the music I can play songs in random order which, normally I don’t like but sometimes I let it do that, if I’m feeling lazy. After all, there is nothing wrong with a little variety. Right? My musical tastes are very diverse although, I usually focus on one genre or collective genres of music that I talk about with people. Anyway, I digress.
So, here’s hoping that iOS10.3 is just as interesting and I wonder if it will be accompanied by a new iPod or iPad.

How Many People Have Died This Year

Hi folks. It is near the end of 2016, the year of the Grim Reaper. Yes, this year will go down as the year the Grim Reaper made headlines by killing off many celebrities who have entertained us throughout our lives. Can you possibly count how many people have died this year? I mean, counting all the big-name celebrities who are no longer with us. Just recently within the past hour or so I learned that Debbie Reynolds, the mother of Carrie Fisher, the voice of Princess Leia has just died, shortly after her daughter has joined the parade of dead people.
Obviously, death is a natural part of life but let’s be honest here, this year was a real downer, if you are a fan of nearly all kinds of music: from country to metal, from jazz pop to dance Pop. Let us not forget the actors who have passed on leaving their mark on such things as the Harry Potter movies, the TV show Growing Pains and The Brady Bunch. We are being robbed of our favourite entertainers and unfortunately, that is the way the cooky crumbles for this year.
Let’s not forget how young most of the people who have passed on. Most of them haven’t even reached the age of 70 and David Bowie, who was the first one to fall this year was only 69, along with Alan Thicke. Singer George Michael was only 53, when he died Christmas Day. Even the two recent passing of legendary North American broadcasters (Bob Coburn and scruff Connors) were only 68 and 64 respectively. I’ve talked with both men on their respective radio shows at least once and in the case of Bob Coburn and his radio show called Rockline, I managed to call in and talk to The Cult. Actually, I had a chance to ask Singer Ian Asberry and guitarist Billy Duffy about writing songs on the road. I should also mention that this was when the album Electric was out and I was 14 years old and, my voice hadn’t changed yet.
In the case of scruff Connors, I had heard him on at least three radio stations in my lifetime and his lifetime, for that matter. I called in when he was working at Mojo Radio and his guest was David Phillips of Environment Canada. I never got to meet either of those people but they both left an impression on me, which was positive and I’m very grateful that they were in my life, if even only from a distance via the radio.
Even The Simpsons wasn’t spared from the year of death. A couple of guest starres and a writer had been taken from us, way too soon. I’m just glad that none of the voice actors have bought the farm yet and I hope they are with us for a long time.
If we could stop all these deaths from happening I would be the first one to try and do it.  I’ve never had to touch a dead body and I don’t want to either. I’ve heard about what it is like and it sounds really awful, that someone you knew and loved who was breathing is now lifeless and their skin is all dry, with all the moisture taken out of their body. The death that surprised me the most  was Frank Sinatra Junior. From where I sit, he sounded to me like a very nice man, compared to his father and people had said he was one of the good ones. how many good guys do you know who have passed on? My guess is many, especially in the entertainment business. somehow I believe that George Carline was also a good guy, despite that his comedy in his more recent years was very dark. oh yeah, let us not forget that the album I Kinda Like It When A Lotta People Die came out this year, as George Carlin’s second posthumous release. His first was his 2008 album It’s Bad For Yah. All though it could also be his final album, recorded while he was alive. Anyway, I digress.
Will 2017 be another year of entertainers buying the farm at a high rate? I don’t know but I have to say possibly yes. We are going to see more and more of our celebrity heroes dying off and there will be more and more people from the current generation, paying tribute and talking about how they grew up with the celebrity Who had just died. Also, some talkshows Will focus on how people died and they already are, in some cases. For example: after Alan Thicke, George Michael and Carrie fisher had died, a talk radio station in Toronto, focussed on how they died and that their deaths were caused by either heart attack, heart failure or aortic dissection, which I had never even heard of until Alan Thicke passed away.
I wonder who will buy the farm this year. There are many big names reaching past 70 years old and some are even hitting 80 this year. Bill Cosby will be 80 years old on July 12 and Tommy Chong will be 79 this year, although he sounds years younger than that. We even have many people who are just turning 90 this year or older and could they be on the way to see the Grim Reaper? Even vera Lynn is still alive and she was one of the big singers during World War II And she is well into her 90s.
Anyway, let’s hope this year is done with, without anybody passing away today, tomorrow or New Year’s Eve.

Three Christmas Favourites For 2016

Hi folks. This post is my pre-Christmas post in this blog, about 3 of my favourite Christmas songs. The one thing they have in common is that they are not traditional Christmas carols and are original songs written by the artists. Something else they have in common is that they are not necessarily well known by the mainstream and only to the audience of the band and or radio format they are played on.
The first song on my list is Thank God It’s Christmas by Queen, which is written by guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. This song was released in December 1984 at the end of The Works’s album cycle and it has appeared on a couple of Queen albums since. The most recent appearance is on the 2011 Deluxe version of The Works. I had performed it in 1992, with my best friend Bob Reid at our school and it went over well.
Fairytale of New York by The Pogues is my second choice as one of my favourites. I had actually heard it for the first time, during Christmas 1995 and it didn’t really catch on with me, until some time in the last 7 years or so when I had heard it on more radio stations and recently read about the song on Wikipedia. It’s the second least known of my choices but I like it because of the dialog in the song and the fact that the woman refers to the man as “you scumbag you Magette, you cheap lousy faggot” probably referring to the man’s drunkenness.
My third choice and the least known for sure, of all three songs is x-M@$ by Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour. It was release in 2010 as a Christmas single, with any money from sails going to charity. In the song, The protagonist is a man who hates Christmas and all that goes with it and would rather be drunk or stoned on this Yuletide holiday. There are even a few four letter words in the song and a clean version was also produced for radio and for people who would be offended.
To those who would expect a more traditional song from Corey, I say that it isn’t surprising that he wrote a song for those who hate Christmas and also, Corey plays music that is subversive and is not for the Grandma’s and Grandpa’s of the world. It’s for the younger croud of 50 and under who would get that the song is not a serious hatred of Christmas tune, from the singer. I’ve heard that Corey actually likes Christmas and I believe him. I’ve met him and despite him throwing people out of Slipknot shows and throwing water on people, who are texting during the concert, I have nothing bad to say about him. He was great to me and we had Tim Hortons coffee together and he had it black and I had a double-double.
I have other songs which I could have chosen but I will leave them for future Christmas posts. If you want to hear any of the three I have listed here, you can find all three on Youtube and I will leave that to you to look for them. Have a great Christmas and a happy and healthy 2017.

The Day The Music Was Murdered

Hi folks. Today is a sad day for me, when it comes to some of my favourite bands and I will explain why, as you read the rest of this post.
Today marks the anniversaries of two murders in rock and heavy metal music and they have both affected me in varying degrees. On December 8, 1980 John Lennon, probably the most famous of the Beatles was shot and killed by mark david chapman, outside of his apartment in New York City. This took place after both him and Yoko Ono had finished a recording session for a song, which would appear on a Yoko Ono album years later. It’s all there on Wikipedia if you would like more information about the events that day. However I will say that John conducted his last interview that day, a few hours before mark david chapman murdered John. You will notice I didn’t capitalize his name because like the other murderer in this post, they don’t deserve to have their names written out properly, as they have killed two important iconic musicians who were and are loved by millions around the world.
Also on December 8th 2004, guitarist Dimebag daryl Lance Abbott was also murdered by a piece of nothing named nathan gail. The difference being that this murder took place in full view of everybody, who was at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus Ohio. This merger took place while Daryl was on stage with his band Damageplan and his brother Vincent Paul Abbott on drums, as they both were on their respective instruments and Pantera. The other big difference with the story is that in this case the murderer was killed, after he had shot, killed and or wounded various members of the road crew or fans. Then, a policeman came in and fired one shot and killed nathan gail, thus saving the lives of many people including Vinny Paul.
Now I will talk about where I was when I heard about both murders. In the case of John Lennon, I heard about it when I was at school when one of the staff mentioned it to me. He said something like “he was shot and he fell down” and I immediately thought that he was killed. I didn’t know yet that you could be shot and survive! I and many other fans of The Beatles were very saddened to hear of this and years later, it finally clicked and how important a figure John Lennon was to not just music but other things like politics. We’ve been robbed of a man who was a very good wordsmith and brought genres like musique concrete almost to the mainstream. If he was alive today I think he would be quite impressed with all the music out there, including the grunge, industrial, Brit pop and even ban such as Radiohead. Of course, he would always go back to his childhood music such as: Gene Vincent, Elvis Presley, buddy holly and the other people he listen to before getting full-time into music. Also, I learned to write songs through a radio program about him called The Lost Lennon Tapes. Most of the demo recordings ended up on the Beatles Anthology albums and elsewhere and that gave me more of the drive to want to try to be a musician.
In the case of Dimebag Darrell, I had actually seen him back in June 2001, when Pantera and a number of other bands played at what was then known as Copps Coliseum, now known as First Ontario Center in Hamilton Ontario Canada. One thing I can talk about is that some asshole threw a beer on me during the first song of one of the opening bands sets. In case you’re wondering, I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt plus my shoes and socks at the time and yes, I did kind of smell like a brewery for a while. However, it was a great show and of course, the last time Pantera would set foot in Canada before both the September 11 attacks and their break up.
 When the album New Found Power from Damageplan was released in 2004, I bought it on CD the day it came out and I loved it instantly. A highlight for me is the guitar solo on the song Moment Of Truth, which should have been released as a single. Then December 8th happened and I had actually heard about it the next morning at home on the radio. At first nobody said if any one was killed but I learned soon after hearing about it that it was Daryl, who had been murdered. It also happened that I was doing my grocery shopping that day and as you can imagine, it was difficult to concentrate after hearing such tragic news.
As for how heavy music has changed since then, not much has changed except the increase in guitar solos from newer bands like: Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch. Even bands like Mud Vayne decided to start putting guitar solos on their albums to augment the sound.
As a guitar player, I was and still am impressed with all the things he is done on Pantera albums and on New Found Power. I’m also quite happy that Brian May of Queen spoke up about the death of Daryl and I have a sneaking suspicion that Daryl was influence partly by Brian and his playing as well. However, he has never said that in interviews that I know of. If Daryl was alive today, I think that he would still be making music and still have the chops. Both of these guys were taken from us too early and if I could go back in time, I would make sure that they were both out of the way, of any danger to their lives.
As for the killers, I am glad that mark david chapman hasn’t been allowed to be paroled and I hope it stays that way. He can say sorry for what he did all he wants but it won’t change the fact that he did what he did to John Lennon. As for nathan gail, he got what he deserved and I’m happy. As for the families, I am glad that everyone is doing what they are doing and I am on their side, with all the annual events and such. I the case of the Lennon estate, keep fighting to keep mark david chapman behind bars and when he dies I will be happy. Shouldn’t he be on death row? After all, he did kill somebody and he knew what he was doing.
Anyway, I will be listening to an album with John Lennons last interview, which is available on iTunes and as for Daryl, I will probably be listening to New Found Power today as well.

Blog turns 3

Hi folks. I, meaning this blog turns 3 years old today. It will be another year before it goes to nursery school and then kindergarten and then to school for the first time. I know I’m just being silly but if it was an actual person I was raising that would be the ideal schedule. Right?
It’s been a rather crazy year so far, in not just my life but in the world i general. We’ve had more frequent terrorist attacks, police shootings, Donald Trump Will now be the president of the United States, The Simpsons has reached their 600th episode and counting, The new iPhone models have no earphone jack and we’ve also had a bunch of deaths this year in the entertainment industry. I would try and list the mall but there are way too many to mention here and counting. For me, one of the most significant deaths this year was George Martin who obviously produced bands such as The Beatles and before that, he produced comedy albums including those by Peter Sellers. If he hadn’t and produced The Beatles, would we have such comedy groups as Monty Python and mangy others like them? Even Cheach & Chong owe a lot to George, for his use of the studio, as an instrument to put the listener inside the music or sketch. Think of all the panning left and right and voices on either side or in the centre. You can trace all of that back to The Beatles, during the period from 1967 to 1969.
This is not only the third anniversary of the blog but it is also the 25th anniversary of the death of Queen singer Freddie Mercury. He is probably the only singer in rock, whom I can imagine crossing into other non-rock styles of music gracefully. There are other great voices in heavy metal but Freddie beats them all with his versatility.
Okay, so what is next for me and the blog? As long as I can create I will be continuing to stay the course and post things for you here. Also, for those of you who follow this blog and not my Simpsons Sunday blog, I started that in May, because I felt it was time to have my own blog with Simpsons related posts in it. I guess you could say it could be to attract attention to the staff on the show and that is partly right. I have made sure that most of the people I follow on Twitter know about it. Al Jean has always supported me from when he first got on Twitter in May 2014. Here is the link to it.
Anyway, thanks to everyone who has commented on posts here and I will continue to write for you, when something comes up which I feel needs to be said.

Metallica Is Back

Hi folks. Today is the release of another long awaited album by one of my favourite and one of heavy metals biggest bands. In this case it is Metallica and their new album Hardwired… To Self-Destruct. I will talk about what has happened since they finished work on the 2008 album Death Magnetic to today and will get into the album track by track.
As for what happened between Death Magnetic and today? Well let’s see… Metallica released Death Magnetic on September 12th 2008, they went on tour and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 and recorded and released an album with Lou Reed called Lulu in 2011. This album was really a chance for the band to not so much sit back but play while rolling around in the chaos of the music. They also served as a backing band, for Lou Reed and promoted the album with him. I thought it was funny to hear the Lou Reed and Metallica juxtaposition at first because when I heard the first single from the album The View, I was literally laughing throughout the track. It just sounded so silly to hear Lou Reed and his offbeat Cingular vocalizations, with Metallica backing him, with their disciplined musicianship. But I also realize this is something where the band can have fun and not worry about perfectionism. Not all of James Hetfield’s vocals were perfect but that’s the whole point. This album was art and it was Lou Reed as the artist and Metallica as a backing band. It’s good that they had the chance to work with such an icon as Lou Reed, before he died in 2013.
Also in 2013 another movie called Metallica Through The Never, along with another live album serving as the soundtrack was released. In 2012, another live DVD called Quebec Magnetic came out, just in time for Christmas that year.
Metallica issued an EP of songs which didn’t make Death Magnetic, called Beyond Magnetic in 2011 digitally and 2012 as a physical release. In 2013 they finally played on all 7 continents by playing on a boat in Antarctica. I remember listening to the concert on YouTube and thinking to myself that it must have been very cold for the band, while playing their instruments.
In 2014 they played with Chinese pianist Lang Lang and recorded a song for a Deep Purple tribute album in 2012. Oh, I can’t forget their contributions to tribute albums for Iron Maiden (Maiden Heaven) and Ronnie James Dio (Ronnie James Dio – This Is Your Life) as well as a single called Lords Of Summer, which was released in 2014. Most importantly for the band, they now have their own independent record label called Blackened Recordings which allows them the freedom of complete artistic control. As for distribution, there is major label distribution, otherwise Metallica has the final say on what goes out and when it will be let loose.
Also, most importantly for the fans who have gone digital, Metallica has all their albums on iTunes. I actually have them all but not in separate sets of songs but in one huge collection, except for a few live albums and one single, it’s all in “The Metallica Collection”, which consisted of all the studio albums from Kill ‘Em All to Death Magnetic. Also, S&M, Beyond Magnetic, Garage Inc, the single I Disappear and the Some Kind Of Monster EP were included. I can’t find it on iTunes anymore but I’m just glad I have as much as I could find, from Metallica’s discography on iTunes.
Most of the songs I have mentioned above I will be discussing later on because they are a part of the deluxe version of Hardwired… To Self-Destruct. Originally The third disc of the deluxe version of this album was going to consist of a bunch of riffs but thankfully, that was changed. Not that the riffs would have been a bad thing to hear but, it’s nice to collect non-album material and put them somewhere for the fans to have in their physical or digital collection of Metallica music, along with some more recent live material to show how the band sounds these days in a live setting.
About the new album… to start off with, it was produced, recorded and mixed by Greg Fidelman, who worked with the band on their last album Death Magnetic as an engineer. He also worked with Slipknot on their latest album .5: The Gray Chapter as a producer and also worked with the band on their 2004 album Vol. 3 The Subliminal Verses. He served, as the engineer and mixer, with Rick Rubin serving as producer for both Death Magnetic and Vol. 3 respectively. Hardwired is a continuation from the sound of Death Magnetic but there are other elements from Metallica’s past, which are also heard in the music at times. As I said, I will get more into detail on that when discussing each track on both the standard and deluxe versions of the album.
 The title track and first single Hardwired… To Self-Destruct was released to both radio and iTunes on August 18th and I think I heard it 4 or 5 times on the radio that day. Then on September 26th Moth Into Flame was issued as the second single and the second track on iTunes then the track Atlas, Rise! Was issued on October 31st, both as the third single and as the third track released on iTunes. All 3 songs as well as the rest of the album will have music videos made for them and they will all be on YouTube.
Okay… it’s time to start talking about the new album in earnest and we will go through it track by track. I will talk about the music and leave the lyrics for the band to discuss if they feel it is necessary. As mentioned earlier, Hardwired… To Self-Destruct leads off the album as both the first single and as the lead-off track. It starts off the album as any Metallica album should, with a thrasher. It is also short, which is a surprise at 3 minutes and 11 seconds and thus, gets to the point quicker.
Atlas, Rise! Is a song which harkens back to the track Through The Never, in a way. It is in a different key but is the same tempo and has much the same intensity.
Now That We’re Dead is a song which is interesting because it reminds me of Cure from Load. In both songs you hear Lars inserting fills along with playing the beat. As a drummer I like that and think that would be a great jamming song live. As for the guitar riff, it sounds also like Cure or something else on Load or Reload, which isn’t a bad thing at all. It sounds like a more traditional metal song than a chugging riff. The melody certainly is singable but it isn’t one which is instantly memorable. It is one of those which has to grow on you. By the way, isn’t James’s lead vocal so good that it sounds like autotune? At first listen it may sound like it but I don’t think so because you can hear some vibrato from James when he sings. So, Metallica hasn’t ever used auto tune as yet.
Moth Into Flame also is another thrashy rocker which also marks the return of harmonized vocals, which wasn’t on Death Magnetic or much on St Anger either.
Dream No More is a slower song which is more reminiscent of Load or Reload because of the sonic elements more than anything else. If I had to find a song it would remind me of I would have to say The House Jack Built or Devil’s Dance. The House Jack Built because of the tempo and the feel of the song. Devil’s Dance because of how it stops just before the guitar solo and it stops at the end of each chorus. In this song it stops only before the guitar solo, with a breath from James to set it up.
All though it does have the groove of Sad But True. The main thing that stands out for me is the octave vocals that James does throughout most of the song. This has been heard in such songs as: The Memory Remains and That Was Just Your Life. I also like how they make you wait for the main riff and key of the song in the intro to it. The melody is good but isn’t hooky and has to grow on you, every time you hear it. However, I like the song over all.
Halo On Fire reminds me of Unforgiven 3 but without the intro with horns and piano. All though it could have and should have also fit nicely on Load or Reload because of the structure of the song itself. It’s good and I hope it gets a chance as a single.
I also like the key changes it goes through, from e minor to g minor to d minor near the end. That’s the musician in me talking and I will say more about the musical aspect later on.
Confusion sounds similar to Don’t Tread On Me but with a slightly fast tempo to start and end off the song. Then it gets into a 4-4 groove similar to Halo On Fire. This is another song along with Halo On Fire, which has harmonized vocals and well, that’s not a bad thing no matter what kind of Metallica fan you are.
ManUnkind starts off with a bass and guitar section and gets into a groove, similar to parts of To Live Is To Die. However this song is not an instrumental but it is in the same key as To Live Is To Die. Both songs change time signatures in the middle but go back to the main groove near the end. I think that is cool and should get a listen on radio.
Here Comes Revenge starts off sounding like it could be a continuation of Leper Messiah but goes into a groove, similar to most songs here. Maybe it could have fit nicely on either The Black Album or Load and Reload to spice things up. I like how the song changes key in the verse to g minor and goes back to the main key of e minor for the bulk of the song.
Am I Savage? is probably the most similar to a song like Poor Twisted Me, but without the blues based feel. It is heavier and has more of an early Black Sabbath feel to it.
Murder One starts off like Welcome Home (Sanitarium) in a way. However it goes into the groove right away. It also borrows from To Live Is To Die in that the same key is used and the tempo is similar. It is a great song in its own right, like everything else here.
Spit Out The Bone is a strait ahead thrasher, much like the title track. All though it is longer and has similarities to Dyers Eve and Damage, Inc. We also get to hear Rob Trujillo play a bit of a bass solo for himself. It also goes a bit Sabathy before the final guitar solo but goes back to the original gallop which is the main feature of this song. Again, another good song, recommended to me by a good friend of mine to check out.
Okay, now that we’ve gone through the standard 12 song 2 disk version, we will talk about most of the songs on disk 3. A rerecorded version of the previously released single Lords Of Summer starts off the third disk. This version has some altered lyrics in the chorus but is pretty much like the single that was released in 2014.
The Ronnie Rising Medley consisting of: A Light In The Black, Tarot Woman, Stargazer and Kill The King. All these songs Ronnie recorded with the band Rainbow before joining Black Sabbath in 1979. This also appears on the compilation Ronnie James Dio – This Is Your Life, released in 2014.
When A Blind Man Cries was first released on the compilation Re-Machined: A Tribute To Deep Purple’s Machine Head, which was released in 2012.
Remember Tomorrow was recorded for and released on an Iron Maiden tribute album called Maiden Heaven: A Tribute To Iron Maiden, which was only available in an issue of Kerrang Magazine and was released July 16th 2008. The rest are live tracks from the first 2 albums except for Helpless which is a Diamond Head cover and Hardwired… To Self-Destruct.
Over all, it is a great album which I think will please all sorts of Metallica fans because, it caters to those who like their early days from 1983 to 1988. However it also has flashes of some of their work in the ’90s such as Atlas, Rise! which I mentioned earlier and mostly everything else. So, if someone asks you which Metallica represents them the most, I say this one does to start off with.
This is also their first double album under their name, as a studio project. Others have been released as live albums or even Garage Inc. Lulu is also a 2 disk album but this is the first as a new Metallica studio double album. It really isn’t hard to think it wouldn’t happen because their last few albums have been an hour plus worth of music and this is no acxeption, clocking in at 77 minutes and 39 seconds. If it was released years earlier it would have probably been put on 1 CD, like Death Magnetic, Load, Reload and St. Anger. All those albums are over an hours worth of Metallica music. Why was it then released on 2 CD’s? My own theory is that this is the trend toward shorter albums to accommodate those who want to purchase the Vinyl version. Either way, I’d recommend any Metallica fan that they go out and purchase the album either online or at an old fashion record store, where they sell physical copies of the album. I have mine from iTunes and I purchased both the standard and deluxe versions because I wanted to have both in case there were differences in any of the songs on the standard version. This has happened a few times with either alternate versions of certain songs or alternate track listings. In some cases with iTunes the sound quality differs slightly from one version to the next. I found that out a few times so, that’s why I have both.

As for the musical aspect, I think it is well pu together and diverse enough for any aspiring music student to purchase and hear interesting chord changes and voicings, along with interesting key changes and modulations. If you are a musician or a music teacher and you’re reading this, you know what I’m talking about. Just take a look at my commentary on each song again and you’ll get an idea of why I find it musically interesting as well as sonically interesting. In fact I think all music teachers who are teaching high school students on a musical instrument like piano or guitar, composition or otherwise to take a serious look at the entire metallica catalog. If you listen to Faid to Faid To Black or any song with quiet passages you will hear what I mean.
As for the production, it is much better than the previous album because it is not so compressed and the snare drum is not distorted, when there are Phils. Also, I recommend using this album as test Music for stereo stores because the sound quality is that good.
For those of you who are worried that Metallica had gone off the rails, when working with Lou Reed or Lang Lang, your worries are unfounded and they have indeed delivered with a stellar album for 2016. Congratulations to: James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo and everyone else involve with all aspects of this album. YOu have done good and I hope it goes strait to the No. 1 spot on the album charts. There isn’t a bad song on the whole album and I’m sure it is going to go over great live. Having your own studio allows you the time to create something as good as this and Metallica has certainly done that, thanks to having their own recording space and now their own record label. They are in complete control of their destiny and what ever goes wrong is on them and nobody else now.