- 14 Apr 23
More scalding rock action from metal kingpins.
Raging as I was about Ireland’s failure to take anything from their Euro qualifier defeat to France, let me assure you: that infuriation isn’t even remotely in the ha’penny place compared to the apocalyptic anger expressed by James Hetfield on 72 Seasons, the characteristically intense 12th album from Metallica.
A mere glance at the song titles tells the story: ‘Screaming Suicide’, ‘If Darkness Had A Son’, ‘Crown Of Barbed Wire’. Hetfield sounds like a man being forced to sit through a Fair City omnibus. Though the title 72 Seasons denotes a loose theme based around the first 18 years of a person’s life, the subject matter essentially reprises Metallica’s keynote concerns: the overriding emphasis is on dark emotions, shot through with a deep sense of catharsis.
If the lyrical terrain is familiar, Metallica continue to find new and exhilarating ways to finesse their sound. The likes of ‘Shadows Follow’, ‘You Must Burn’ and ‘Sleepwalk My Life Away’ are all blistering metal workouts, rammed with scalding riffs and Lars Ulrich’s powerhouse drumming. Indeed, Metallica’s obsessive devotion to their craft remains remarkable, and goes some way towards explaining their continuing wild popularity.
They sign off with the haunting ‘Inamorata’, an epic number that could well prove a live highlight. It’s a fitting conclusion to an album that’s vintage Metallica.
Read our full interview with cover stars Metallica in the new issue of Hot Press, out now: