Metal masters Metallica are back with their eleventh studio album, 72 Seasons.
I am pretty sure I do not need to tell anybody reading this who Metallica is – one of the big four thrash bands from the 1980s that released a string of classic metal albums and who continue to dazzle with their acumen and ingenuity. I did it anyway. I am not going to recount their history from the beginning, except to declare that my favorite album is …And Justice For All (1988) so you will know where I am coming from. I mean, my favorite not counting Lulu (2011) because that one was a collaboration. The musicians are James Hetfield (vocals, guitar), Lars Ulrich (drums), Kirk Hammett (guitar), and Robert Trujillo (bass).
With any new Metallica album, the music gets compared to previous albums and the absurd question of whether the band has “sold out” always comes up. I think that means, Does the music sound like it used to? I am not really sure, though, if I am being honest, why anyone would ask such a peculiar question, but many do. A better question, more clearly formulated, might be, Does the music move in new directions or does it file in more similar sounding songs into the canon. My answer to that question is: the new record is mostly heavy metal in style with some thrash elements. And then I would want to add that the compositions on 72 Seasons are exceptionally well done, unhurried, and endlessly creative.
There are twelve songs on the new record totaling over seventy-seven minutes of music. That’s a lot. Four tracks were released as singles in advance of the album, so you have probably already heard those: “72 Seasons,” “Screaming Suicide,” “Lux Æterna,” and “If Darkness Had a Son.” They are all good and are fairly representative of the set. Still, there are a couple of others I want to draw your attention toward.
“Shadows Follow” is my favorite song on the record. It has a fantastic build, a fever-inducing intensity, masterful guitar work, and Hetfield’s vocals are consummate. The lyrics are haunting, and the lead guitar parts are stellar in design and execution. “Sleepwalk My Life Away” is a close second for me, primarily for its seeking separate lines that work together as an attacking pack. It is bracing and unforgettable. And then there is “Inamorata,” the longest song Metallica has ever recorded, clocking in at over eleven minutes. Do with that what you will. It is not the strongest song, or the most memorable. It does have a unique place in the set, not so much for its anchor position as for the suite nature it embodies and embraces. I think this album is the best of the last four the band has released. Highly recommended.
72 Seasons is out now. Pick up what you desire at the Metallica shop (link below).
Metallica website, https://www.metallica.com/
Metallica shop, https://www.metallica.com/store-landing-page/metstore/
© Wayne Edwards