Clocking in at a brief three minutes and 11 seconds, "Hardwired" is the shortest Metallica song (from a studio album) since fans got pummeled with Kill 'Em All's "Motorbreath" in 1983. That's more significant than you might first think; even the thrashiest of tunes from Metallica over the years have ran several minutes in length. Even the shortest and, arguably, the best and most "classic" 'Tallica tune on 2008's Death Magnetic came in at a shade over five minutes.

What does that mean?

Well, for starters, we think it means Metallica are making a statement with their 11th studio album, Hardwired... To Self-Destruct. Take for instance the first taste of new music fans got in 2008. Ahead of the release of Death Magnetic, radio stations received the nearly eight-minute opus "The Day That Never Comes."

By no means was this a bad track. In fact, fans generally welcomed it with open arms after waiting five years for something other than St. Anger to grace their ears. It was far from classic thrash, but it offered the Metallica family the lengthy, theatrical experience they grew accustomed to in the '80s.

Since that record, the only true new Metallica music fans have gotten has been "Lords of Summer" -- after all, Beyond Magnetic gave us more tracks from the Death Magnetic sessions, and Lulu ... well, that's another story for another day.

This was another great reentry into their fans' lives, but it lacked a certain oomph that was so desperately needed. By the time "Lords of Summer" dropped, it had been almost six years since Death Magnetic hit store shelves, and yet, it really wasn't that significant of a departure. It always felt like it was ramping up to something big and heavy (especially the 90-second introduction), but never quite got there.

Then, on Aug. 17, 2016, Metallica made a bold statement. The biggest band in the world dropped the most anticipated rock song of the last few years, and they did it in three minutes and 11 seconds.

And not only did they do it at breakneck speeds, but they did it with dark, menacing lyrics and more cuss words than the average 'Tallica tune boasts -- namely with James Hetfield howling, "We're so f--ked / S--t out of luck / Hardwired to self-destruct." Focusing on things like righteous pain, all creation, the great destroyer and a burning planet, it's safe to say Metallica have tapped into some daunting, catastrophic and despondent feelings with this new track. Looking at some of the song titles for Hardwired... To Self-Destruct -- "Now That We're Dead," "Am I Savage?" (could that be a nod to "Am I Evil?"), "Halo on Fire," "ManUNkind" and "Spit Out the Bone," just to name a few -- it looks like those feelings will run rampant across the double-album.

The song itself feels like a perfect re-introduction for Metallica following the last eight years since we first heard Death Magnetic. Its in-your-face lyrics are complemented by a near-perfect mix of heavy guitars, bass and drums, with a snare that snaps as hard as the song itself -- and let's be honest, Kirk Hammett's solo, without any wah, sounds downright bluesy.

Considering "Hardwired" is the closest thing to a title track we'll get with this record, it's setting our expectations incredibly high for a relentlessly crushing effort from the Bay Area boys. With hints of tracks like "Motorbreath," "Fight Fire With Fire" and "Damage, Inc.," we can't stop listening to "Hardwired" ... and we can't wait to get our hands on the rest of whatever Metallica have up their sleeves this year.

You can get more details on Hardwired... To Self-Destruct -- including pre-ordering various versions of the album -- at Metallica's official website.

"Hardwired" Single Artwork

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