Metallica - 72 Seasons

Regular price $ 41.99

While promoting Metallica's 11th album, Lars Ulrich claimed 72 Seasons was "maybe the most friction-free record we've ever made," which is a fair assessment of the LP. Never before has Metallica seemed so comfortable being Metallica, embracing their identity as a collective and letting each member play to their strengths: Ulrich's drums are pushed forward in the mix, Robert Trujillo roams wild with his bass, Kirk Hammett gets plenty of room to solo, while James Hetfield processes all he's learned in therapy. Hetfield provides the hook that holds together 72 Seasons: the title derives from the passing time during the first 18 years of life, the period when a child becomes a man. The album is filled with meditations on mortality and morality, Hetfield looking back on his raising with clarity, not anger. There's a sense of purpose in Hetfield's storytelling that's mirrored by Metallica's dedication to keeping 72 Seasons thick and heavy. There are digressions -- they're a natural side effect of a group that composes their tunes by stitching together riffs and movements, turning individual songs into mini-suites -- but there are no slow moments, there are no ballads: the entire record barrels forward at an advanced clip and crushing volume. It's heavy but it's not grimy or gritty. Metallica are old pros at this point, so they favor clearly articulated production, and they know how to reserve their energy so they play for endurance, not speed; even when this comes close to thrash tempos, the band never threaten to give themselves over to abandon. The clarity of the production makes it easy to admire what Metallica achieve with 72 Seasons -- this is a maturation that never sacrifices their integral characteristics -- yet hearing every bit of Metallica all at once can be a little exhausting, particularly as the album creeps well beyond an hour. As carefully constructed as this is -- there is no element out of place, no moment of embarrassment outside of maybe the concluding riff of "Shadows Follow" slightly suggesting Neal Hefti's Batman theme -- it's difficult to discern how 72 Seasons could've been tightened, yet it's hard not to wish that it was about a third shorter: the force would've had a greater impact if it wasn't quite so diffuse.

Midnight Violet Vinyl 2xLP

1 72 Seasons 7:39
2 Shadows Follow 6:12
3 Screaming Suicide 5:30
4 Sleepwalk My Life Away 6:56
5 You Must Burn! 7:03
6 Lux æterna 3:22
7 Crown of Barbed Wire 5:49
8 Chasing Light 6:45
9 If Darkness Had a Son 6:36
10 Too Far Gone? 4:34
11 Room of Mirrors 5:34
12 Inamorata 11:10