Culture

Metallica guitarist claims cinematic inspiration for High Plains Drifter solo release

Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett plays live in this picture by Ross Halfin

Kirk Hammett, lead guitarist of Metallica, has released the first track from his upcoming debut solo EP, ‘High Plains Drifter’, music which he describes as taking an audio-cinematic approach. “They’re soundtracks to the movies in your mind.”

The track opens the second side of Portals, the four-song EP out April 23, 2022 via Blackened Recordings across digital platforms, on CD and as a Record Store Day Exclusive Ocean Blue Vinyl EP.

Featuring contributions from Edwin Outwater (with whom Hammett had previously collaborated on Metallica’s S&M2 concerts and releases), Jon Theodore of Queens of the Stone Age, members of the LA Philharmonic and more, ‘High Plains Drifter’ shares a unique inspirational relationship with Clint Eastwood’s 1973 western classic of the same name.

“The music for ‘High Plains Drifter’ initially came from a Flamenco piece I had written…”

The sleeve art for Portal EP by Kirk Hammett

The song, Hammett explains, “was not meant to be specifically music for that film, but 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.”

Recorded in multiple locales ranging from Los Angeles to Paris to Oahu, Portals has been produced by Kirk, and comprises ‘Maiden and the Monster’ and ‘The Jinn’ on side A, followed by ‘High Plains Drifter’ and ‘The Incantation’ on side B (both co-written with Outwater, who contributes keyboards and leads the orchestral players from the LA Philharmonic). 

Other contributors include Abraham Laboriel, Greg Fidelman, Emmy-winning arranger Blake Neely, and Bob Rock.

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About Steve May

Creator of Home Cinema Choice magazine, and editor of The Luxe Review, Steve muses and reviews for Trusted Reviews, T3, Yahoo UK, Home Cinema Choice, Games Radar, Ideal Home, Louder Sounds, Channel News and Boat International. He’s also the editor of professional home cinema website Inside CI. He's on Twitter and Instagram as @SteveMay_UK

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