Metallica recently released its 11th studio album, titled “72 Seasons,” and oh boy do I have some mixed feelings about it.
First off, let it be known that I fell in love with Metallica through their ’80s music, which was defined by speed, chugging palm-muted guitar riffs, wild vocals and shredding guitar solos. I’m not a huge fan of their ’90s work, which is known for its slow and heavy, grungy, almost country feel to it. “72 Seasons” is much closer related to those albums of the ‘90’s.
That isn’t to say I disliked the album – that isn’t true at all. If anything, I think of this album as a 2.0 version of the ’90s albums “Load” and “Reload.” But it was a tad bit disappointing to see so little of the side of Metallica that I love.
Out of the gates, the opening track, which is also the title track, is wild. The high-tempo double-kick drums are perfect head-bang material, with an awesome guitar riff that’s been stuck in my head for days. The title track is definitely a standout for me.
“Shadows Follow,” “Room of Mirrors,” “Too Far Gone?,” “Screaming Suicide,” and “Lux Aeterna” are a really cool mix of the ’80s thrash and ’90s grunge that I totally get behind.
Meanwhile, “Sleepwalk My Life Away,” “Crown of Barbed Wire,” “Chasing Light,” “If Darkness Had a Son,” and “Inamorata” are straight out of the ’90s.
I must say, the song “You Must Burn!” was a serious disappointment to me. Looking at the track list back in November, I saw this title and immediately got pumped. Having the exclamation point in the title, and wording it like that gave me the impression that this was going to be an intense jam-fest that I would be blasting in my car and in the gym, but it completely missed the mark. I would say it’s the weakest song on the album, and really the only track I dislike.
At no point does it earn that exclamation point.
The rest of the album feels very new for Metallica. James Hetfield does more with his voice than he ever has, and it’s really impressive. My mom was even taken aback by his vocals because she had no idea he could sing like this.
Lars’ drums feel more powerful than ever, and even a little too powerful at some points. There are some spots where the drums are in your face a little too much, and I wish they were dialed back in the mix a little bit so the guitars could stand out better.
The lyrics and themes of this album are what stand out the most.
72 Seasons equals 18 years, and the band said the idea of this album is about the first 18 years of our lives shaping us as people. It’s about childhood, and reflecting on and dealing with it as adults, which I think is a very cool theme to form an album around.
It’s important to know that their previous album came out seven years ago, and eight years before that one. They’re averaging an album every seven and a half years and they’re on the brink of their 60s. They haven’t confirmed anything yet, but if this turns out to be their last album I would be pretty upset.
Although this is a solid album, I don’t think this is a fitting sendoff for the kings of thrash metal.
All in all, I’m experiencing a lot of mood swings in how I view this album, but I think I’m going to give this album a solid 6.5/10.