The instrumental four-song offering marks the first time a core member of Metallica has pursued a solo project while remaining in the band. Hammett recently told Rolling Stone that he was “shocked” he got the band’s blessing to release the EP, alluding to the conflict that partially led to the exit of former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted.
Hammett even worked with personnel close to the Metallica camp, including Edwin Outwater — the conductor of the S&M2 concerts — and veteran producer Bob Rock. That said, the music on Portals is a far cry from the thrash metal of Hammett’s full-time gig.
As we remarked in our review of the EP, Hammett indulges his prog and classic tendencies on the four songs. He also draws from a vast well of guitar riffs, some that sound like unused Metallica licks. From the cinematic sweep of “High Plains Drifter” to the Euro power metal overtones of “The Incantation,” Kirk essentially ignores genre convention, crafting a compact and varied debut release.
For more on Hammett’s debut EP, check out his appearance on Consequence‘s Kyle Meredith With … podcast. Stream the Portals EP and watch the video for “High Plains Drifter” below.