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Metallica has always kept a notoriously tight leash on its members working on music projects outside the band, bit those reins seem to be loosening with the announcement of the release of Portals, the solo debut from guitarist Kirk Hammett.

The four-song instrumental EP will be released April 23 via Metallica’s own Blackened Recordings, across digital platforms, on CD, and as a Record Store Day Exclusive Ocean Blue Vinyl EP.

Portals is described as “a collection of gateways to myriad musical and psychic destinations.” The EP was recorded in multiple locations, including Los Angeles, Paris and Oahu, and is “both the result of musical and metaphysical journeys. An invitation to inner worlds accessible only by music and the psyche it fuels.”

Kirk Hammett - Portals

Produced by Hammett, Portals features the tracks “Maiden and the Monster” and “The Jinn” on Side A, followed by “High Plains Drifter” and “The Incantation” on Side B. The latter two songs were co-written with Edwin Outwater, who contributes keyboards and leads the orchestral players from the L.A. Philharmonic; the two previously collaborated on Metallica's S&M2 concerts and releases. The EP also boasts contributions from drummers Jon Theodore and Abraham Laboriel, Greg Fidelman on bass, arranger Blake Neely and producer Bob Rock.

Explains Hammett of Portals’ genesis, “Initially, 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 Kirk Hammett Collection for 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. I sat down one night with a progression, and before I knew it, all the parts were there for 'Maiden and the Monster.’

"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.”