ALBUM REVIEW: Metallica – 72 Seasons

4.0 rating
Metallica - 72 Seasons

Some bands like to ease you into an album. Some want to gently open the door and invite you in before showing off their pride possessions. Some bands introduce themselves relaxed, reassuringly, slowly building towards a carefully crafted crescendo. Some even surprise you later with a snap change of pace to catch you pleasantly off-guard.

“Metallica aren’t some band”. 72 Seasons opens up with a punch to the face and a go fuck yourself for good measure. It’s a relentless opening that doesn’t seem to slow down through the 12-track album. They throw their foot firmly on the pedal and take us on a heavy metal joyride that only these musical pioneers could deliver with such deafening force.

The album marks the band’s eleventh studio album and the first we have seen since 2016. It’s a record that deals with many subjects, such as depression, dependency and existential anguish. The album itself first began to take shape in 2020. Grounded from touring and isolated from the rest of the world, the band began sharing ideas for songs over Zoom calls rather than settling for the standard online pub quiz like the rest of us. Sitting with a wealth of ideas, they threw on their face masks and began to record the album together when the lockdowns started to lift.

Before its release, Metallica dropped four singles from the album – “72 Seasons,” “Screaming Suicide,” “Lux Æterna,” and “If Darkness Had a Son”. “72 Seasons” kicks the album off in typical heavy fashion. It’s a song that instantly grabs you with its intro, sounding like something you’d hear in a Duke Nukem game or DOOM when you’ve got the BFG in hand. It will have you scrambling for the volume button, knowing this needs to be loud to be fully appreciated.

Following this, the album serves up some genuinely unforgettable moments. We find Lars Ulrich firing machine gun drums at us on “Shadows Follow”. James Hetfield serves some truly angst-ridden existential lyrics on “Screaming Suicide” and throughout.

Kirk Hammett will have the fans salivating with some of his face-melting, jaw-dropping solos, as expressive as ever on his trusty Cry Baby Wah Pedal and whammy bar – “Crown of Barbed Wire” is one of the finest you’ll hear on the album, and perhaps this year! Finally, last but never least, the always-animated Rob Trujillo is ever present with a backbone of chunky bass riffs you can easily mistake for the rhythm guitar at times. He throws in some backing vocals and beautifully accompanies James on a few tracks, remaining ever-present as a solid foundation for the rest of the band to bounce off.

The album avoids the pitfall many long-serving musicians fall into, which is trying to rediscover and relight a previous flame. Metallica will always be most notably recognised and admired for the first five albums – Kill’Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, …And Justice for All and the Black album. 72 Seasons seems to sit at ease with that. It sounds like a band that knows who they are and celebrate the possibilities of what’s to come for them.

The album comes to an end with a signature Metallica-style epic. “Inamorta” slows the pace a little, opting for a moody, blues-styled stroll, then surging its way to a grand finale that comes screaming home on Kirk Hammett’s Cry Baby. It’s a final, instantly recognisable Metallica signature track and one only the biggest of bands would dare to sign off with. It’s filled with a confidence that’s radiated through the album’s entirety and is sure to have you hitting that repeat button.

It’s worth noting that Metallica has become more than just a band. It’s a widespread, far-stretching company with stakes in the alcohol industry. It holds partnerships with clothing lines and watch companies, and, most recently, they joined the likes of Jack White in buying their own vinyl pressing plant. The more cynical music fan out there will look at that and then condemn the album to a marketing ploy or something similar. However, I don’t believe this to be the case. One listen to the album will show it has come from nothing more than a desire to play music together. The honesty in the lyrics and overarching enjoyment they had, making it filters through.

Metallica have come together again to create and do what they do best for no other reason than they love it. It’s an album born during the solitary confinement of the pandemic. An album that, after being freed from isolation, will showcase all that built up, festering energy and desire to play together that had been simmering in the band during that period. And one that is about to come roaring down and unleashed to packed-out stadiums on their upcoming behemoth world tour.

Xsnoize Author
Niall Donnelly 12 Articles
Writer born and bred in Belfast. Self-diagnosed music obsessive and lover of the arts. Written for a few publications starting from my time in University, having always had an interest in music journalism, religiously reading magazines such as Q, Kerrang! and NME. Difficult to pick what my favourite genre would be as I have quite an eclectic taste. However given that guitar-driven music has always stood out to me and that most of this style finds its roots coming from the blues, it would probably be the stand out on my list. Some of my favourite albums of all time include Jeff Buckley’s ‘Grace’, Robert Johnson’s ‘Cross Road Blues’ and Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer’.

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