Kirk Hammett of Metallica has released a first taste of his upcoming debut solo EP in the form of “High Plains Drifter.” The track opens the second side of Portals, Kirk’s 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 (including a download card).
Featuring contributions from Edwin Outwater (with whom Kirk had previously collaborated on Metallica’s S&M2 concerts and releases), Jon Theodore of Queens of the Stone Age (and Kirk’s Wedding Band bandmate), members of the LA Philharmonic and more, “High Plains Drifter” shares a unique inspirational relationship with the 1973 cinematic classic of the same name.
The song, Kirk explains, “was not meant to be specifically music for that film, but it was 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.”
“High Plains Drifter” can be heard BELOW:
True to its title, Portals is a collection of gateways to myriad musical and psychic destinations. Recorded in multiple locales ranging from Los Angeles to Paris to Oahu, Portals is both the result of musical and metaphysical journeys. An invitation to inner worlds accessible only by music and the psyche it fuels.
Produced by Kirk, Portals is comprised of the songs “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 on Portals). Other familiar names amongst the Portals players include Abraham Laboriel, Greg Fidelman, Emmy-winning arranger Blake Neely, and Bob Rock.
“This music was created with what I describe as an Audio-Cinematic approach. They’re soundtracks to the movies in your mind.” – Kirk Hammett