You have already heard “72 Seasons” and you have already formed your own opinion. Personally, I won’t go into why I like Metallica’s new album, but I will remind you of the importance and significance of every new Metallica release (and of all the greats in the business). Guys, we should feel lucky that after more than 40 years Metallica is still releasing albums and of this level. Check out the photo of Hetfield on the new album and put it side by side with the one of “Kill ’em all”. The years go by but Metallica is still here…right beside us! They’ve been with us in good and bad times for decades and for that alone we should be happy because it’s not something we should take for granted.
I consider “72 Seasons” to be a more substantial and complete album compared to its predecessor although the truth is that it lacks a “hit” like “Moth Into Flame”. However it does have the epic “Inamorata” which easily ranks among Metallica’s top compositions since the 90s. To my ears the album has a lot of elements of both “Load” and the more recent style of “Hardwired…”. At the same time, the influences of Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and NWOBHM are more prominent than ever but always through the Metallica filter. Production excellent, Hetfield incredibly rejuvenated, Lars impeccable, Hammett storming and Trujillo more robust than ever. “72 Seasons” is an album that fans of the band will love and more importantly we’ll be revisiting for years to come as there’s a lot to discover in there…
What to expect from Metallica in 2023? A decent album I would say. Something they seem to have achieved with “72 Seasons”. Long in duration, but without getting boring. It sounds fresh and inspired with King James again being delightful behind the mic. For me, their best work of the current millennium. Not that it takes any effort to overcome “St. Anger” and “Lulu” but anyway.
A release with an addictive groove that for the most part reminds me of the “Black Album” and “Load”, with strong references to their early thrash years (“72 Seasons”), to NWOBHM (“Screaming Suicide”) and Motörhead (“Lux Æterna”). With songs that I would like to hear in one of their concerts (for example “If Darkness Had A Son”). Of course, if a couple were missing (such as the indifferent “Room Of Mirrors”) we would be talking about an even better result. But overall, a work that deserves to bear the Metallica logo.
It seems that even after pandemics, therapies, and divorces, and partly maybe because of those things, the motivation, the never-ending quenchless craving as the epic ‘If Darkness Had a Son’ puts it, is still here: Searching, even at sixty, for the next step, the best riff, the… worst album cover.
’72 Seasons’ suffers in the same department that ‘Hardwired… to Self-Destruct’ did, but for different reasons. Both needed to be a couple songs or ten minutes shorter; Hardwired on the one hand because you can tell the songs that weren’t on the same level as the best stuff from a mile away, and 72S on the other, being more cohesive, because the sequencing lacks the ‘breather’, the variety that a more melodic tune thrown in the mix would have offered to make listening to it a more balanced experience.
The parts of the album that truly shine however, are different this time. Here, Hetfield literally carries the record on his broad shoulders, delivering his best vocal performances since the late 90s, while lyrically, sometimes bluntly and sometimes softly, he puts both cancel culture (‘You Must Burn!’) and depression (‘Inamorata’) to the fucking torch. The breakdown on the latter belongs in the highlights of their discography, and joins ‘hello darkness say goodbye’ and ‘no more pins in me’ to form a powerfully healing holy trinity.
At the end of the day, ’72 Seasons’ is just the next chapter in the long – far longer than seventy-two seasons – artistic and commercial reign of the greatest metal band in the world.