Kirk Hammett announces first-ever solo EP, Portals

Kirk Hammett
(Image credit: Steve Jennings/WireImage via Getty)

Metallica's electric guitar hero Kirk Hammett has announced Portals, a forthcoming four-track EP that marks his first-ever foray as a solo artist.

Due April 23, the instrumental offering will be released by Blackened Recordings via a number of digital and physical platforms, and is dubbed “a collection of gateways to myriad musical and psychic destinations”.

In Hammett’s own words, Portals is set to contain some pretty out-there tracks: “This music was created with what I describe as an Audio-Cinematic approach,” he observed. “They’re soundtracks to the movies in your mind.”

The EP’s A side will contain Maiden and the Monster and The Jinn, while side B will feature High Plains Drifter and The Incantation. The latter two tracks were co-written by Edwin Outwater, who contributes his keyboard and orchestra-leading skills on the entirety of Portals.

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Hammett, who produced the EP, will be joined by a string of familiar names, including drummers Jon Theodore and Abraham Laboriel, bassist Greg Fidelman, Metallica producer Bob Rock and Emmy-winning arrange Blake Neely.

In a statement posted to the Metallica website, Hammett went on to reveal the EP has been a long time coming. In fact, its inception can be traced back to 2017, when the Metallica man was creating a soundtrack to his The Kirk Hammett Collection “It’s Alive!” art exhibition.

“Initially,” Hammett recalled, “before I even had the idea for a solo EP, I was inspired by the need to create some sort of soundtrack music to accompany the first 'It’s Alive' exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, 2017. 

“I wanted to conceive music to play on a loop in the background as people walked through the exhibit,” he continued. “I sat down one night with a progression, and before I knew it, all the parts were there for Maiden and the Monster.

Kirk Hammett Portals EP cover

(Image credit: Press)

"The initial concept for Portals started with that one song. Following that, I realized I could create different soundtrack moments. These songs are what I call ‘Audio Cinematic;’ I’m creating sounds and pieces of music for the movies playing in my head. Hopefully they’ll create movies in other people’s heads in a similar fashion."

If the tracks are anything like Hammett’s sci-fi, horror-themed artwork, Portals could be Hammett’s most eclectic, left-field guitar work to date.

Indeed, it’s been described as a melting pot of classical music, film soundtracks, horror movies and even a little Ennio Morricone, with Hammett striving for an EP that would “span the decades and touch upon all the horror he loves”.

Head over to Metallica's website to find out more.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.