Feedback: Metallica returns with new song “Lux Æterna,” promise of new album and tour

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Metal champions, Metallica, released the single “Lux Æterna” on Monday, Nov. 28, as well as announced a new album and world tour. Although rumors had been circulating of an album in the works, this release was a surprise. The new song, whose title means “eternal light” in Latin, will be the sixth track on the forthcoming album “72 Seasons,” due for release on April 14.

At 10:18 a.m. I received a text alert from Metallica, sent through an SMS software called Community, which said “NEW METALLICA SONG” with a link to its official music video on Youtube. Yes, I am signed up for text updates from Metallica, just for moments like these — plus I get a message from them on my birthday each year, which is fun too.

After my initial shock over the new song, I was further flabbergasted by an announcement for a new album “72 Seasons” and a tour spanning from April 2023 to September 2024 with stops in North America, Europe and Mexico. This unexpected news from one of my favorite bands certainly shook up an otherwise mundane Monday morning.

“Lux Æterna” begins with a riff that feels like it’s falling down the stairs, landing in a break of double bass drum kicks before accelerating out the front door and into the oncoming traffic of a slick, crunchy guitar and punchy bass. Singer and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield unleashes a fleet of his signature short lines — seemingly a random bunch of aggressive words which sound cool together. But Hetfield is never short on emotion and honesty in his lyrics, allowing for a deeper read.

“72 seasons. The first 18 years of our lives that form our true or false selves. The concept that we were told ‘who we are’ by our parents. A possible pigeonholing around what kind of personality we are… Much of our adult experience is reenactment or reaction to these childhood experiences,” said Hetfield regarding the album title in a statement from the band. 

My first impression upon hearing the soaring chorus and the straightforward attitude of this song was that it’s reminiscent of “It’s Electric,” a Diamond Head cover on their excellent covers album “Garage Inc.” Coincidentally, “Lux Æterna” features a nod to Diamond Head in the lyrics “Lightning a nation / Never alive more / Than right here tonight,” a reference to the album “Lightning to the Nations.”

Metallica also hails their past in the thrash elements of this song. It possesses an energy akin to “Kill ‘Em All,” but was written into the modern Metallica framework. It’s almost as if when the band finished playing the final track on their last album, the brash “Spit Out the Bone,” they kept on going and never stopped recording. The key difference is that “Lux Æterna” is much more succinct, clocking in at 3:26, truer to thrash metal than much of the recent material. 

For the M72 World Tour supporting “72 Seasons,” Metallica will be setting up camp in each city for an entire weekend, playing two nights of entirely different sets with an off night in between. The band plans on arranging fan events on those nights without shows so that the Metallica community can interact and keep the party going all weekend long. 

That tour plan was inspired by previous successful two-show weekends and it’s a demonstration of how conscientious Metallica are of their fanbase. Fans will have a better chance at seeing deep cuts and songs from each album, as well as getting an experience outside those few hours when the band is on stage — making the cost worth it, too. 

If the rest of the album is anything like “Lux Æterna” then I believe the next few years will be triumphant for Metallica, who are still going strong 41 years into their career. The single satisfies a craving for fast, chuggy Metallica, while sounding fresh and accurate to the band they are today. 

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