METALLICA — 72 Seasons (review)

METALLICA — 72 Seasons album cover Album · 2023 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
1.5/5 ·
Vim Fuego
Art is subjective. One person’s Mona Lisa is another person’s 500-year-old moody Italian moaner. And the value of art is what someone is willing to pay for it, whether the cost be tangible like money or trade, or something more abstract, like time and attention. Over the years I, like many other fans, have expended a huge amount on Metallica’s art, because I really enjoyed what they were creating.

On my shelf right now there are 25 Metallica CDs, at least eight of which are replacements for wobbly and worn cassettes. There are also three tribute albums. There is a box set in an imitation road case which contains three VHS video tapes and two CDs, along with some other paraphernalia, and is the single largest album release I have ever bought. I have owned at least four other VHS videos, and also have two DVDs. There is a PlayStation 2 game alongside the DVDs. Also on the shelf there are three volumes of Metallica biographies, or perhaps four if you want to count Dave Mustaine’s book. I have owned at least six Metallica t-shirts, along with assorted other bits and pieces like patches, pendants, coffee mugs, and keyrings. I have dozens upon dozens of metal magazines which feature Metallica. The only time I have ever climbed on a plane to see a band was to see Metallica in 1998, going into debt at a time when I was only partially employed. And these are mostly just the material things. Calculate a guess at the time and attention, and then double your estimation and you might arrive at a more accurate figure.

The biggest problem with writing a review is that it means listening to “72 Seasons” again, and it just seems like a chore.

The title track is a good start, but these days there always seems to be something wrong with even the most promising Metallica songs. On this track it feels too clean. It’s like the sharp edges which used to make Metallica such a thrilling band to listen to have been filed off or wrapped in thick over-produced foam rubber.

And then onto “Shadows Follow”. And it sounds exactly the same – same tempo, same “Load/ReLoad” rehashed riffs, same fat, fuzzy, friendly tones. These songs are neutered golden retrievers curled up at your feet wanting a pat, where once they would have been rabid snapping mongrels threatening to rip your throat out.

“Screaming Suicide” brings in Kirk’s famed wah pedal as an attempt at adding some colour, but once again it sounds recycled, and is safe paint-by-numbers metal.

“Sleepwalk My Life Away” and “You Must Burn!” are thoroughly unremarkable, and suffer greatly from sounding too similar. This is utter mediocrity. There is nothing risky or adventurous here at all. There’s no chance of a hurdy gurdy a la “Low Man’s Lyric”. Marianne Faithful isn’t going to pop up to mournfully wail that no one cares about her any more. Fuck, there’s not even any chance of a crusty old man like Lou Reed channelling a teenage girl in the weirdest and creepiest way possible, and not just because Reed is dead. Even an annoying pinging snare drum from 2003 would add a shadow of something interesting here.

“Lux Æterna” has been cited as a return to the thrash metal days of old. Yes, it’s played at a higher tempo than the rest of the album, and is easily the shortest song on the album. It’s got a scream-along refrain which would probably go off in a live situation. However, cast a critical eye over it and see where it would have fitted in Metallica’s back catalogue and you’ll spot the problem. It’s not replacing any song anywhere on the first four albums. The style wouldn’t have suited any of the 90s albums. It might have squeezed in a spot somewhere on “St. Anger”, but it’s not making the cut for “Death Magnetic”, unless it’s a Japan-only bonus track or a B-side. See the problem? It only seems like a late model thrash Ferrari because it’s surrounded by so many characterless Toyota Corollas.

“If Darkness Had A Son” has an interesting enough groove, but being merely interesting means it’s ultimately forgettable and disposable like most of this album. Besides, Rob Halford and Fight were being far more inventive and edgy with this style of groove back in 1993.

The final track “Inamorata” (a female lover, in case you were wondering about the word’s meaning) is a microcosm of the whole album - it’s too long and would have benefitted greatly from some critical editing, it’s all been done better before, and it’s just too safe and lacking in inspiration to remain memorable or vital.

Remember the first time you were struck by the violence of “Battery” followed by the pummelling of “Master of Puppets”. Remember laughing out loud at the audacity of the “Anaesthesia (Pulling Teeth)” bass solo, which then segued into the breakneck “Whiplash”. Remember the tingle up your spine the first time you heard “Creeping Death’s” ‘die, die, die’ chant. Remember the aural assault when “Dyer’s Eve” first blasted in at the end of “To Live Is To Die”. These were the moments which made Metallica such an amazing band, and these moments created lifetime fans. Keep a firm hold of those memories, because there is not even the slightest spark on “72 Seasons” to ignite a life-long flame of fandom.

I’m no longer interested in expending anything on new music from Metallica, either concrete or ethereal. Millions still will, and that’s their choice, but this art no longer holds any value to me.
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adg211288 wrote:
9 months ago
So I finally gave this a second listen and it didn't exactly go well, especially coming off the back of a gradual run through their entire discography. I don't think I could rate it as low as you have, but this is definitely one of the lower rated Metallica albums for me. It feels so bloated with so many of the songs outstaying their welcome and boredom has set in by the half way point.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
1 year ago
i started to listen and i was so bored that i couldn't force myself to get past the third song
adg211288 wrote:
1 year ago
I don't know mate, it sounded alright to me, if inconsistent. Maybe I've just learned not to hold Metallica to the high standard they set themselves in the 1980s anymore. I can't say I'd rush to buy it though. I haven't bought a new Metallica album since Death Magnetic, and I don't revisit that one much or anything post-Black Album for that matter. I'll always reach for Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets first.

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