Written by Nick Hopton
So here I sit at 2:08 am on a Thursday; well, it’s Friday now, but not really.
I’ve had more than a few drinks this evening, vodka and tonics, mainly as they tend to do the trick. But as I did, a thought came across my mind, oh so close to the midnight hour.
That holy jolt of the realization that the masters of metal’s new album had just dropped. The new era of a band that has built and influenced so much of the last 30 years of music. Are they back? Can they still be that band that everyone now, unfortunately, remembers because of an episode of Stranger Things!? Are they in their greatest hits, a purgatory era that Journey and KISS are stuck in, or do they have something left in the tank?
Oh yes, they fucking did.
This is Metallica’s Magnum Opus.
Title tracks have to rip your head off, and 72 Seasons leaves nothing left to be desired. That unmistakable chainsaw of a guitar riff screams, “We’re fucking here.” And from this point on, it’s no-holds-barred. Light the fuse, buckle up, and let’s go. “Shadows Follow” does not let up. The song takes us up a notch. Honestly, how can you get much heavier than this riff? It hits you in the head like a hammer, and you will bang your head like a hammer. A fucking killer surprise as a mean track before the MVP of this album…
“Screaming Suicide” is a new classic. This song’s foundation and overall build rivals the previous efforts of “One” and “Fade to Black,” but in a “Kill Em All” manner. It’s pure, angry, pissed-off rock and roll. Something this band has needed for years, and they found it on this track. If this is their last legendary album, this is their bookend. “Sleepwalk My Life Away” rips in with a filthy bass line…the rest of the band is just sitting behind…but then, HOLY SHIT, the second coming of the “Enter Sandman” riff takes your head off. One of those perfectly built hard-hitting rock tracks like “Sad But True” or “Fuel.” It’s just got that goddamn grit about it.
Leading into “You Must Burn,” I figured we’d keep the speed up, but they threw me for a loop. This is the old-school flow flip that is so often forgotten. Bang your head until your neck hurts, and then keep going.
“Lux AEterna,” which happened to be the first taste we had of this album a few weeks ago, was the precursor to everything we’ve had thus far. Angry, heavy, fucking metal. The shit that they made their name on. “Crown of Barbed Wire” follows a similar build to “You Must Burn” in a somehow new but recycled view of the style. Somewhat of part 2, but never really sits to be a staple of the album. One of the few missed hits, if you can even call it that.
“Chasing Light,” the first 20 seconds, I thought, “dammit… it’s a cop-out song.” Wait until that riff kicks in, and it’s a complete restart. Metallica has always been the king of hiding a ripper in an intro, and they did it again here. Oh, and wait until the bridge, the change will kick you in the chin. Another track that I’m completely blown away with. “If Darkness Had A Son” feels like a journey through time with them. Showing all the styles they’re capable of showcasing on any given recording. Another old school headbanger that will ignite memories of tracks past.
“Too Far Gone” doesn’t change much of what we’ve heard. Does it kick ass? Absolutely. Is it more or less what we’ve heard from the previous nine tracks? Yes. That said, it’s by no means a bad song. Hell, it might end up being a single because of the style. It’s got this contagious pop feel about it. I’m sensing a trend here, as “Room of Mirrors” hits just as hard as any track before it. The song would be a #2 on any other album, but not this one. It is a perfect final chapter for this epic.
Oh, wait? There’s one more. “Inamorata” is the slowly burnt crust on top of the 5-star dish that Metallica has made with this album. A long, drawn-out musical number that brings out the song-building qualities of the band in a beautiful way.
It’s hard to be the king. It’s even harder to stay the king. Metallica, once again, has proved that they are the kings of metal. And it will take one hell of an effort to take their throne.
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