Metallica, one of the most influential heavy metal bands of all time, recently released its 11th studio album, “72 Seasons,” on April 14. The long-awaited album failed to live up to its high expectations.
Metallica’s “72 Seasons” features 12 new songs and runs a lengthy 77 minutes long. This is the band’s first release in the past seven years since the 2016 album “Hardwired… To Self-Destruct.” Although Metallica holds a high reputation in the music industry, the release of “72 Seasons” created a particular sound that ventured away from their classic thrash metal feel.
According to Loudwire, “Metallica’s new album, ‘72 Seasons,’ hasn’t debuted at No.1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, marking the first time since the release of ‘…And Justice For All’ in 1988 that the band has failed to lay claim to the top spot on the hallowed chart.”
The new release contained Metallica’s usual heavy riffs and instrumentals but was accompanied by lead singer James Hetfield’s unfamiliar voice and strange lyrics. Throughout the album, the lyrics did not align with the fast pacing of the songs. Some of Hetfield’s verses reflected his past childhood trauma, which did not seem to follow along with the heavy and fast rhythm playedby guitarist Kirk Hammett.
For example, the fifth song on the album, “You Must Burn!” had a nostalgic thrash metal backbeat produced by drummer Lars Ulrich and bassist Robert Trujillo but was oddly paired with Hetfield’s grief and lack of tone. This combination threw off the overall tempo and made the song feel unbalanced.
Although Hetfield’s voice appears to be showing age, Kirk Hammett, the lead guitarist, has proven that his ability to effortlessly shred guitar is still strong at the age of 60. Almost every song in “72 Seasons” featured a flawless, nostalgic guitar solo by Hammett. The first song, “72 Seasons,” contained a perfect half-minute guitar solo that greatly resembled the band’s famous solo in one of their most popular songs, “Master of Puppets.” These heavy guitar solos helped make the album worth listening to, despite the strange vocals.
Even though the album lacked in some aspects, the instrumentals were very strong and created a nostalgic feel that brought out the classic Metallica ambiance. Ulrich’s quick double bass pedal along with Truijillo’s heavy bass guitar can never be beat. “72 Seasons” was far from monumental, but still carried aspects of classic Metallica that any metalhead can appreciate.
Overall, I was slightly disappointed with Metallic’s return to music. “72 Seasons” was way too long and felt dissonant and inharmonious. I believe that Metallica peaked in the late 80s and early 90s with their release of “Master of Puppets” and “…And Justice For All.” It is hard to live up to the high expectations when competing with such influential and famous works. Although the band stayed true to their famed instrumentals, the lyrics and Hetfield’s aging voice really hurt the potential that “72 Seasons” could have reached.