There are already a million identikit reviews of Metallica’s 72 Seasons floating around in internet-land so we’ve simply cut to the chase and answered the questions on everyone’s lips. No bullshit, no fannying around, just straight up answers to the burning questions.
Is 72 Seasons the Metallica album everyone’s been waiting for?
- Yes….and no. This is arguably the best album Metallica have released since The Black Album (of course, that depends on how you feel about The Black Album) but those looking for a blast of old-school thrash from 80s legends will need to turn their attention to the latest material from the likes of Megadeth, Exodus and Overkill instead. What 72 Seasons is, is an amalgamation of 40 years of ‘tallica history….rolled into one, slightly overlong, but still enjoyable package.
Are Kirk’s solo’s any good?
- No, 99% drivel.
Is Rob’s bass audible?
- Of course it is. And, as always, the man plays like a beast on this record!
Can James still deliver decent vocals?
- A resounding “Fuck Yes”. This is the best he’s sounded in decades, real grit, fire and passion. The man sounds re-born!
Does it sound like Kill Em All?
- Kind of. “Lux Aeterna” reeks of the early 80s in all its NWOBHM-aping glory.
Ok then, does it sound like St Anger?
- No (thankfully), not in the slightest.
What the fuck does it sound like then?
- A little of the old, a little of the new. There’s plenty of nods to Load / Reload but also more than a cursory nod to their humble beginnings. Unsurprisingly, it’s the thrashier numbers that hit hardest, recalling past glories but without coming close to surpassing them. Same old Metallica, post 1988 then!
Are Hetfield & Ulrich back on form as a song writing partnership?
- Not really. As was expected, 72 Seasons is perfectly serviceable and, a few tracks aside, is as safe as they come. Lyrically, Hetfield is on fire though and this is, undisputedly, his album. Earnest, passionate and singing with an authenticity that has been sorely lacking over recent releases, James has opened himself up on this album and it is his performance that stands out the most.
So, what’s the pick of the bunch?
- That’s easy. The title track is a raw wound of emotional honesty and kicks things off in frantic style (not that “Frantic”, fortunately). “Shadows Follow” continues to confront Hetfield’s internal demons and is a satisfying slab of Black Album-esque mid-tempo chug (and will sound fantastic live) while the fun and boisterous “Lux Aeterna” is a ripper and ably rewinds the clock back to an era when NWOBHM was king. “Crown Of Barbed Wire” and “If Darkness Had A Son” are also noteworthy, if hardly spectacular. Which, quite a bit of filler aside, leads us to 72 Seasons’ epic closing track, “Inamorata”. The longest track Metallica have ever penned, “Inamorata” is overlong (as are most of the tracks on 72 Seasons) but hits a “My Friend Of Misery” level of raw honesty that potentially marks it out as 72 Seasons’ finest song.
Any tracks to avoid?
- This is personal opinion but “Sleepwalk My Life Away” should have been dropped entirely. Generic, basic and just plain dull, at nearly 7 mins it goes nowhere…. slowly. “You Must Burn!” is another overlong, dirge-ridden patience tester and does little to redeem itself. A mid-album slump if ever there was one!
Should we give a shit that 72 Seasons even exists?
- Simple answer: Yes. 72 Seasons is not going to go down as the best Metallica album (far from it). It’s in need of some judicious editing and, “Lux Aeterna” aside, variations in pace would be more than welcome. However, considering we hold these guys to a higher level of scrutiny than almost any other band on the planet (only Opeth seem to receive similar heavy-handed treatment), Hetfield, Ulrich, Hammett and Trujillo should be applauded for delivering a solid (but by no means perfect) album….even if it did take ‘em 7 years to follow up Hardwired… to Self-Destruct!
Is it better than the recent output from the cream of old-school thrash metal?
- No. As already stated, the likes of Megadeth, Testament, Exodus, Overkill, Death Angel, Onslaught, Xentrix, Destruction, Protector and Flotsam and Jetsam have all released better albums in the last few years. Which doesn’t mean to say that 72 Seasons is worthless; far from it. It means that Metallica are content to be Metallica and they couldn’t give two shits about what their peers are doing. Nor did they ever!
All this culminates in a fairly respectable, though not exactly mind-blowing: 6/10
Of course, none of the above is a substitute for listening to 72 Seasons yourself and forming your own damn opinion. This shit is subjective! Any other questions you require answering? Stick ’em in the comments below, we’ll have a crack at them….the more obscure the better!
Metallica‘s 72 Seasons was released on April 14th, 2023 via Blackened Recordings.