Metallica is arguably one of the biggest and greatest-selling bands in heavy metal history. That hasn’t changed the fact that their fans have been divided over their various musical shifts and turns over the course of their career. With the release of their first full-length album “Kill ‘Em All” through …And Justice For All, Metallica had a sound that was easily recognizable and cohesive. That all changed with the famous, or now infamous “Black Album” depending on how you see things. While the “Black Album” saw the band go more mainstream and chart-hit singles, it was also accused of being a sell-out album by many fans. Things changed even more after that with the albums “Load” and “Re-Load” taking on a more alternative metal sound that didn’t carry as many thrash chords and riffs as they did in the past. Then the band released “Saint Anger” which has been the band’s most critically panned album. And, rightfully so, as it saw the band go full-tilt into unrecognizable territory sound-wise.
Since then the albums “Death Magnetic” and “Hard Wired…To Self Destruct” have seen the band trying to re-capture the energy and sound of the early years, but seemingly falling short of the goal for most fans.
Now, the metal juggernauts have released their latest album “72 Seasons” and everyone wants to know if it’s the album that everyone’s been hoping for.
The answer is complicated, but let’s break it down. “72 Seasons” is similar in many ways to the two previous albums, “Death Magnetic” and “Hard Wired” but seems a little more complete and cohesive than they were. Once again, we see the band trying to find that early fire, and in some places, they have found it, albeit it mixed in a more modern style. The band succeeds in having some great riffs throughout and reminding us all how good they were in the beginning but still fall short of reaching anything as big and epic as the first three albums. If you were to take the better parts of the “Black Album” and fuse them with some of the earlier sounds, you get “72 Seasons”. Overall, this album is an enjoyable listen and for my money, it’s probably the best album they have released since “…And Justice For All”.
Ultimately, Metallica will never please their fanbase, because everyone is so divided over the band’s more recent efforts since producing some of the best metal albums ever written, years ago.
So, yeah this album reminds me most of the “Black Album” but with a “meaner” edge to it. I honestly don’t think the band can re-capture their old sound completely, ever again. This is probably as close as it’s ever going to get. Songs like “Chasing Light” and “If Darkness Had A Son” will remind you of the thrashy chord progressions and riffs of the good old days, but they won’t take you all the way back there. Still, it’s one of the most satisfying Metallica albums to come out in years. It feels like a complete album and it feels like they successfully blended various aspects of their sounds over the years into something that makes sense. Some will say that makes this record mediocre, others will be happy to reach a happy medium. These guys went from being zit-faced kids touring in a beat-up van to multi-millionaires over the years. People change. People mature. And all of that has been reflected in Metallica’s sound from the beginning until now. “72 Seasons” is as good as Metallica will probably ever be in the modern era. If you’ve ever liked anything that Metallica has done other than the first four albums, then you’re bound to find this album enjoyable, but early years die-hard fans hoping for that ultimate return to glory will always seek it but never find it in each new album that Metallica releases.