I’ve said it before but whenever thrash titans Metallica emerge from their Californian HQ with new music its worthy of note, even if their track record in recent years hasn’t exactly been spectacular, and that’s just what they’ve done this week with the surprise release of new single Lux Æterna along with announcement of a new album, 72 Seasons and a corresponding world tour.
The title of the track sees the band again poking in the direction of religion (albeit not as obviously as the likes of Leper Messiah) as it references a part of Catholic mass, while the lyrics draw on the link between a church-like congregation and attending a metal show.
With that it also has the feel of Whiplash and Motorbreath from their debut Kill ‘Em All (now rapidly approaching 40 years old) in being something of a celebration of heavy music, and it feels surprisingly honest about it, and James Hetfield’s delivery is the best I remember hearing from him in years.
Musically it also throws back to their more youthful days with something less of the over processed sound of Death Magnetic or Hardwired… To Self Destruct which is refreshing to hear, also being reminiscent of some of the more intense material on their Garage Inc collection.
A near constant set of double kick drum beats provide the foundation over which hyper-speed bass and guitars run riot culminating in an old school style solo that shows Kirk Hammett can still shred when called upon.
While I recall having a similar optimism as this gives me after hearing the first single from their last album, Hardwired, I’m tempted to feel even more hopeful as this feels even more like a potential return to form for Metallica so I’m again looking forward to their upcoming album if the rest of it is anything like Lux Æterna.