Written by Alex Stojanovic
Sleepwalk Your Life Away
You Must Burn
Crown Of Barbed Wire
If Darkness Had A Son
Too Far Gone
Room Of Mirrors
Release Date: April 14, 2023
Label: Blackened Recordings
James Hetfield - Vocals & rhythm guitars / Lars Ulrich - Drums / Kirk Hammett - Lead guitars / Rob Trujillo - Bass & vocals
With that hard lesson out of the way, here we are with 72 Seasons, marking 7 years since Hardwired...To Self-Destruct. After the 8-year gap between Hardwired and Death Magnetic, you would think that the gaps between albums would continue to slowly increase for Metallica. However, due to the a number of things like a pesky little pandemic and James Hetfield's recovery from a second stint in rehab, the band had plenty of time on their hands to work on new material, and it's quite crazy to know that it all started from their 2020 reimagined version of "Blackened". While it still took a few years for any new music from Metallica to come out, they managed to break the 8-year gap, even if it's just one year.
Musically, the best way I can describe 72 Seasons would be "Reload on steroids with elements of Black Album, And Justice For All and Kill 'Em All" with some riffs and lyrics being direct quotes to old songs. "Sleepwalk My Life Away" is a great example of a riff that tips its hat off to "Enter Sandman" and "Lux Æterna" pays tribute to Kill 'Em All, and of course, we get the "full speed or nothin'" line directly from "Motorbreath". The title track is the thrashiest song of the entire album, almost feeling like it would've been right at home on Justice with nice riff transitions and speed. A prominent influence on several songs is Black Sabbath with many mid-tempo, sludgy riffs, which can be heard on tracks like "You Must Burn" and "Crown Of Barbed Wire". However, the biggest talking point is the closing track "Inamorata", which is the first song Metallica wrote that reaches at 11 minutes.
Lyrically, 72 Seasons is a wound ripped right open to the fullest, as Hetfield performs a lot of open heart surgery by casting the light on the demons and insecurities that he continues to struggle with. Tracks such as "Shadows Follow", "Screaming Suicide", "Chasing Light", "If Darkness Had A Son" and "Room Of Mirrors" all touch on different subjects regarding the darkness that he deals with. For the longest time, talking about your insecurities and demons has been demonized by those who don't understand it. There are so many people who struggle with insecurities, but are afraid to open up about them because they fear that it's a sign of weakness, when in reality, it's a sign of strength due to the demonization factor. The more you resent it, the bigger your insecurities really are, and trying to hide them just makes them grow stronger and you yourself can become weaker, and drive you to the point of snapping altogether as a result.
As far as flaws are concerned, the biggest one would be some of the song lengths. Over the last few albums, Metallica have been known to have sections that either drag on for too long or have a riff that repeats a few too many times. There's nothing wrong with writing long songs, but you have to ask yourself sometimes whether it's necessary to have a riff repeat so many times to the point where it's going to bring about the yawns. With all that being said, while 72 Seasons is obviously not the best Metallica album of the modern era by a long shot, but it's another worthy album of great songs. Plus, I'm not one of those fans who's going to lose sleep over the fact that they didn't write a sequel to Ride, Master or Justice. I'm just grateful for the fact that Metallica is still here, still kicking ass, still making music and still touring. Who knows how much longer they have left, so while we continue to push new blood, let's cherish the time we have left with those who paved the way.
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