Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett will release his debut solo EP, the four-song instrumental set Portals, on April 23. It will be available through digital platforms, on CD and as an exclusive Record Store Day ocean-blue vinyl edition.

“This music was created with what I describe as an audio-cinematic approach,” Hammett said in a statement. “They’re soundtracks to the movies in your mind.”

Side One of the self-produced project features the songs “Maiden and the Monster” and “The Jinn,” with “High Plains Drifter” and “The Incantation” on Side Two. The latter tracks were co-written with Edwin Outwater, who plays keyboards and leads the orchestral players from the Los Angeles Philharmonic. (Outwater previously conducted the San Francisco Symphony for Metallica’s 2019 S&M2 concerts and subsequent live album.)

The Portals players also include drummers Jon Theodore (the Mars Volta, Queens of the Stone Age) and Abraham Laboriel (Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton), along with arranger Blake Neely and previous Metallica producers Greg Fidelman (here on bass) and Bob Rock.

In December 2021, Metallica staged two livestreamed 40th-anniversary concerts at San Francisco’s Chase Center, the first traveling chronologically through their catalog and the second structured in reverse order.

For the metal icons, those shows capped off a productive year featuring album reissues, archival releases, live events and a tribute LP. In November, they unveiled the Black Box, an enormous collection of memorabilia, photo galleries, livestreams and keepsakes from the musicians’ collections. "In the weeks, months and years ahead, the Black Box will venture progressively deeper into the vaults, the sounds, the visuals, the instruments, the culture and beyond," they teased.

Metallica Albums Ranked

There are moments of indecision when compiling this gallery of Metallica Albums, Ranked Worst to Best. After all, we really could have had – for the first time ever – a three-way tie for first.