Metallica, “72 Seasons” – Track-by-Track Review


Black-and-white image of Metallica in 2023.

Metallica – Story by Anne Erickson, courtesy photo

Here’s Audio Ink Radio’s track-by-track review of the new Metallica album, “72 Seasons”

It’s not hyperbole to say the metal world stops when Metallica release a new album. To this day, the San Francisco band is one of the most powerful forces in heavy music. Their worldwide appeal makes them a continuous influence on the metal genre.

Now, Metallica have returned with their 11th studio album, “72 Seasons.” For a band as influential as Metallica, it seems as if 11 albums is light, but when you factor in the quality of those albums, it isn’t. With “72 Seasons,” Metallica show even though they’re at the point in their careers where they could clock it in and still garner sales, they actually have the drive and ethic to keep trying to create exciting music. Indeed, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich and Robert Trujillo still have fight left.

Metallica, “72 Seasons” – Track-by-Track Review

“72 Seasons” kicks off with the album’s title track, which makes the listener actually feel like they’re going through the rollercoaster of many seasons. Initially, the song features some cool, dissonant noise before Hammett’s sharp guitars kick in. The song takes the listener on a musical journey, one that alternates between fast, thrash-y riffing, guitar soloing and raging musical breakdowns.

Early on, it’s apparent “72 Seasons” isn’t an experimental album. But, the next song, “Shadows Follow,” carries a bit of experimentation and danger, with Metallica taking on a British heavy metal sound.

Next, Metallica explore groove metal with “Screaming Suicide” but stay sincere to their thrash roots, with fast-paced guitar riffs. Moreover, at about the 1 minute and 52 second mark, listen for a blistering guitar solo from Hammett that will put a smile on the face of any metalhead.

Rock and metal music have always been rooted in blues, and “Sleepwalk My Life Away” pays tribute to those roots. It’s one of the most enjoyable songs on the album and features a simple guitar pattern that’s catchy and fun. There’s also some fantastic soloing from Hammett, which is among the best on the album.

“You Must Burn!” deserves the exclamation point in its title, as this is a fist-pumping anthem. This one is reminiscent of Metallica’s “…And Justice for All” era.

“Lux Æterna,” the next track off “72 Seasons,” was the first single released off the new album, so fans know it well. This song is pure thrash, with super aggressive guitars, a fast tempo and pulsating percussive beats.

“Crown of Barbed Wire” draws the listener in with a repetitive and hypnotic riff and beat. On here, Hetfield’s voice is laid-back as it slips up and down from note to note. It’s followed by “Chasing Light,” which is pure, unmistakable thrash, with a dash of groove.

Next, for those looking for a moment that goes beyond thrash, there’s “If Darkness Had a Son.” A true gem, this song features some of James Hetfield’s strongest vocals, with the vocalist insisting, “If darkness had a son, here I am. Temptation is his father.” How metal is that?

As the album nears a close, Metallica turn things down a notch, which is refreshing and much-needed on this otherwise unforgivingly heavy set. “Too Far Gone?” is next, and the highlight of this one is Hammett’s slippery guitar soloing, especially one third of the way in. Meanwhile, both “Room of Mirrors” and “Inamorata” highlight Hetfield’s deepest, most introspective questions and feelings. “Room of Mirrors” is a raging anthem, while “Inamorata” has Hetfield singing amid semi-acoustic backings. There isn’t a ballad on “72 Seasons,” but “Inamorata” at least turns things down a bit.

As the “72 Seasons” progresses, it’s obvious this is a Metallica album. In other words, there’s not much new here, but that’s actually a good thing. Metallica are massive for a reason, and it’s not because they totally change their sound every album. They don’t need to reinvent the wheel. They are the wheel. Metallica have created so much of what metal is today. “72 Seasons” is classic Metallica doing what they do best, and for that, metalheads should be eternally grateful.

Audio Ink Radio rating: 9/10. Essential songs: “Room of Mirrors,” “If Darkness Had a Son,” “Sleepwalk My Life Away” and “72 Seasons.” For fans of: Classic Metallica, heavy on the thrash and light on melodic ballads. Online:

Anne Erickson
Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Metal, Music, Reviews

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