Ryan Murray | Co-Owner | Chief Editor | Contributor
Metallica, one of the most influential and iconic names in all of heavy metal history, are set to release their 12th studio full-length entitled “72 Seasons” via their own label Blackened Recordings on Friday April 14th! You’re not going to want to miss this album.
Metallica fans, as always when awaiting a new release, wait with bated breath. The most hardcore of fans look for the days of tracks like “The Four Horsemen”, “Enter Sandman”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, “Master of Puppets” and the like. After reading a few reviews from bigger outlets, I wasn’t setting my hopes too high either, but to be honest, I have to go against the grain. For me, this is probably their best release since “…And Justice For All”!
While following what for me is a similar sound to 2008’s “Death Magnetic”, “72 Seasons” is an even stronger and heavier release than the former, boasting a more modern production, heavy-hitting thrash riffs and nonstop in your face action, all the while taking an in-depth look at the first eighteen years of one’s life. If you’re looking for an album that has some breaks in between to catch your breath, this is the wrong album for you.
When asked about the concept behind the title, Hetfield shared – “The first 18 years of our lives that form our true or false selves. The concept that we were told ‘who we are’ by our parents. A possible pigeonholing around what kind of personality we are. I think the most interesting part of this is the continued study of those core beliefs and how they affect our perception of the world today. Much of our adult experience is reenactment or reaction to these childhood experiences. Prisoners of childhood or breaking free of those bondages we carry.”
This album brings so many feelings of nostalgia, and for me personally, this album sees some of their strongest work in many years, including some solos from Hammett that might even step their way into the top 10!
Ripping their latest effort wide open is the title track “72 Seasons”. This hard-hitting thrash-fest builds for about :50 seconds, which is almost a little too long because the dynamics remain pretty much the same before the full-out thrash skank beats come. This track also boasts an incredibly unforgettable and massive chorus. Hammett’s solo on this track is really catchy, and while not of the caliber of “Master of Puppets” or “Enter Sandman”, this solo is really enjoyable and really well played!
Other well known tracks that have so far been released, such as “If Darkness Had a Son“, “Screaming Suicide” & “Lux Æterna” tackle some deep concepts lyrically. “Screaming Suicide” looks into breaking the stigma around the word suicide and normalizing talks of the darkness we all face from one time to another, while “Lux Æterna” masterfully takes a look at Metallica’s last 40-plus years condensed into a 3:33 long song. While not a very long track, this one has it all! Tracks like “If Darkness Had a Son” really take a deeper look into the stigma surrounding mental health and fighting our inner demons, with probably some of the best lyrical content from Hetfield, possibly ever.
Cuts like “Shadows Follow” have guitars that get down into your gut and a killer solo from Hammett, along with some vocal harmonies that give off a grunge, almost Alice In Chains feel, while tracks like “Sleepwalk My Life Away” sound like a distant cousin to “Enter Sandman”. With Trujillo’s killer bass lines, incredibly nostalgic riffing, and a solo from Hammett that might be one of his best in years, this track sees the return to some of the Metallica that we’ve all loved for so many years, with the only other competitor for the sound that “The Black Album” brought being “You Must Burn!”, a track that shows how Metallica can take even a more down tempo song and make it just as heavy as their thrashiest of tracks.
“Crown of Barbed Wire” is a more moderate-tempo track, with some slow, but heavy and beefy riffing. With almost pain in his voice, Hetfield can be heard crying out during the choruses “So tight this crown of barbed wire.”, a painful reminder of the weight we all carry around with us, while tracks like “Chasing Light” hears Hetfield’s higher range in the choruses, with an almost more aggressive, punk-rock feel to the choruses.
One of the most unexpected tracks, and probably my favorite on the album, is “Too Far Gone?”! This track has some incredible energy, a massive hook and a chorus that will have even the quietest of fans screaming out the chorus as well. With some incredible harmonies and leads from Hammett and Ulrich’s pounding away at your insides, this track brings this album to a whole other level, while tracks like “Room of Mirrors” is another thrash-fest, this time with a more reasonable entry prior to all hell breaking lose. This track is bound to get even the most hardcore fans excited with this modern version of a track akin to “Seek & Destroy”.
Closing out this incredible journey is a track that, to be honest, felt very much like a grower that I didn’t like at first, but as I always do with new music, I played the song several times and I’ve actually grown to really like this track a lot, and is another stand out track on this album. It’s an interesting choice for a closer, but that’s growing on me as well, and it actually perfectly wraps up the album. Falling just shy of becoming Metallica’s longest track ever at 11:03, (see the cover of “Mercyful Fate” off of 1998’s “Garage Inc.” which clocks at 11:11) “Inamorata” hears a melancholic cry about misery and how we can sometimes get stuck loving to feed her more and more. Even though this track is so long, it never feels dragged out or monotonous. We hear Hetfield crying out in the chorus “Misery, she needs me, oh but I need her more. Misery, she loves me. Oh, but I love her more. Misery, she kills me. Oh, but I end this war. Misery, she fills me. Oh, but she’s not what I’m living for.”
Is Metallica beyond making epic hits like “Master of Puppets” or “Enter Sandman”? Maybe. But to be honest, why repeat the same stuff over and over again? What Metallica has done on “72 Seasons”, very loudly and boldly I might add, shows why they are still the biggest name in metal history. I dare say that, with over 40 years of creating some of the most iconic heavy metal music ever, this album puts out some of the best material the band has released in 30 years.
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