Metallica – 72 Seasons – Album Review

Metallica – 72 Seasons – Album Review

17th April 2023 1 By George Simpson

Let’s face it, the arrival of a new Metallica album has been a case of the Emperor’s new clothes in recent years, hasn’t it? The PR and Marketing machines batter the media as a whole into convincing us of its’ undoubted brilliance. However, the humble metal fan isn’t as easily fooled. Especially those of us who have been with the band for their entire four-decade journey.  

So, is he actually wearing any clothes this time? The good news is, that he is most certainly covering his modesty this time. In addition to that, his choice of garment is definitely befitting of the four kings who have ruled the roost as metal’s big hitters for forty years now. 

Before looking at the album, let’s go back a bit. This album is the latest step on their musical journey back home for Metallica. Indeed, after the hugely bloated fad chasing of the Load/Reload period, and the post-rehab identity crisis that was St Anger, many doubted they’d ever manage it. Whilst 2008’s Death Magnetic sounded a little contrived, its’ slightly more natural-sounding successor Hardwired..To Self Destruct took them a little closer, this time they’re finally back with us. But how has the journey changed them?

When they dropped, Lux Aeterna, the first video from the album out of the blue in November last year, it caused one hell of a ripple of anticipation around the metal world. Bearing more than a passing resemblance to Kill ‘Em All‘s Hit The Lights, both in terms of energy and sound, they laid down a hell of a marker for the album. However, anyone expecting a full album of the same is going to be disappointed. Though, there is much more than that to be had here.


This is a 77-minute, twelve-track view through the musical prism of a band with forty years of experience behind them. There’s not a ballad, or quiet moment to be had here. Lyrically, the album is as dark and heavy as the music. It’s notable that James Hetfield is hardly doing any interviews to promote the album. He really does bare his soul with regard his demons here, and there is hardly more he can say about the album than what he gets off his chest here. 

What is apparent as you listen to this is that the four tracks chosen to precede the album are the strongest on offer. In particular, the title track absolutely pummels you into submission. To my ears it’s one of the tracks that will long outlive the album in my consciousness. Its’ subject matter sets the tone for the album, 72 Seasons being the first eighteen years of a person’s life, and its role in setting the path for what follows.


The likes of Screaming Suicide and the Heavier than a ten-tonne heavy thing If Darkness Had A Son follow a similar path. However, it must be said, that whilst those four tracks are the strongest, there are some that run them close. In particular Shadows Follow, You Must Burn! and Too Far Gone stand out for me. Indeed, the latter features the closest thing to a commercial melody on the entire album. 

As a result, therein lies my one issue with the album. They stay in the same lane musically throughout, and when the journey is twelve tracks and nearly eighty minutes, it becomes a bit much now to my ears. Think back to those classic four albums they started their career with. Each feature eight to ten tracks and at no point outstayed their welcome. Perhaps a less is more approach, and two or three songs fewer would’ve allowed more light to shine on the remaining ones. Had Load/Reload been one album instead of two, we’d be talking very differently about that era wouldn’t we?

Ironically, the album ends at a high point reminiscent of that era. At eleven minutes long, Inamorata is the longest song of their career. It’s a cracking slow burner of a track that reminds me of Bleeding Me and Outlaw Torn from 1996’s Load. It brings things to an uplifting climax, offering some light after a lot of darkness. Not only is it a great song, but it also shows how far down the road they’ve come since then, by being far superior to both those tracks. 

And that really is the message here. They have been there, done that, that, and that, and finally come back from it again. Whilst it’s an album that lacks anything as truly memorable as a lot of tracks on that magical quartet from the 1980s, this a pretty good album. Especially when you consider that at this stage of their career, it would be very easy for them to just phone it in. Thankfully, they haven’t and clearly never will.  

Score: 8/10


1- 72 Seasons 

2 – Shadows Follow

3 – Screaming Suicide

4 – Sleepwalk My Life Away

5 – You Must Burn!

6 – Lux Aeterna

7 – Crown of Barbed Wire

8 – Chasing Light

9 – If Darkness Had A Son

10 – Too Far Gone?

11 – Room Of Mirrors

12 – Inamorata

Label: Blackened

Release Date: 14th April 2023

For all things Metallica, click HERE and to purchase the album, click HERE

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