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Hear Metallica Rage for the Ages on ‘Lux Aeterna,’ First Track From ’72 Seasons’

Seven years after releasing their last studio album, Metallica are raging back with a gut-punching new song, “Lux Æterna,” which is Latin for “eternal light” and part of the Catholic requiem mass. Amid slashing guitar riffs and battering-ram bass drumming, frontman James Hetfield sings about casting out “demons that strangle your life” and nods to one of Metallica’s formative influences, Diamond Head, with the lyric, “lightening the nation” (a pun on their song title “Lightning to the Nations.”) Tim Saccenti, who has made videos for Depeche Mode and Korn, directed the song’s colorful clip. The track heralds the band’s 12th album, 72 Seasons, due April 14.

The record is a rumination of sorts on childhood, with “72 seasons” representing the number of seasons we live through by the time we become an adult. Hetfield explained the album’s concept in a statement. “72 seasons — the first 18 years of our lives that form our true or false selves,” he said. “The concept that we were told ‘who we are’ by our parents. A possible pigeonholing around what kind of personality we are. I think the most interesting part of this is the continued study of those core beliefs and how it affects our perception of the world today. Much of our adult experience is a reenactment or reaction to these childhood experiences. Prisoners of childhood or breaking free of those bondages we carry.”

Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich co-produced the 77-minute, 12-song album with their longtime producer, Greg Fidelman. The album will be available digitally, as well as on CD and double-LP vinyl in a variety of limited-edition configurations.

Coinciding with the album release, the group has lined up two years’ worth of world tour dates for a trek they’re calling M72. Metallica will play two nights in every city on the tour (with set lists that won’t repeat songs night to night), and various North American dates will see support from the reunited Pantera, as well as Mammoth WVH, Five Finger Death Punch, Ice Nine Kills, and Greta Van Fleet. Tickets go on sale Dec. 2.

A portion of ticket proceeds will benefit the band’s own All Within My Hands foundation, which supports food banks, provides workforce education, and supplements disaster relief worldwide. “Most of the shows (sorry, not all – we tried!) will be on Fridays and Sundays, so we’ll be sure to have lots of extracurricular events for you to hang with fellow Metallica fans at before the shows kick-off and on the Saturday night in between,” the band said in a statement.

Last year, Metallica marked their 40th anniversary with two special shows with unique set lists in San Francisco. “Judging from the audience’s reactions during the concert, Metallica exceeded expectations,” Rolling Stone wrote of the first night. “Over the course of two hours, they played at least one song from each of their studio albums, presenting a mix of hits, deep cuts, and fan favorites.” At the end of the second night, Hetfield thanked the audience, which flew in from all over the world. “I just want to take the time to say that we very much appreciate you,” he said. “We do not take this for granted at all.” 

72 Seasons track list:

1. “72 Seasons”
2. “Shadows Follow”
3. “Screaming Suicide”
4. “Sleepwalk My Life Away”
5. “You Must Burn!”
6. “Lux Æterna”
7. “Crown of Barbed Wire”
8. “Chasing Light”
9. “If Darkness Had a Son”
10. “Too Far Gone?”
11. “Room of Mirrors”
12. “Inamorata”

M72 Tour Dates:

April 27, 2023 – Amsterdam NL @ Johan Cruijff Arena
April 29, 2023 – Amsterdam NL @ Johan Cruijff Arena
May 17, 2023 – Paris FR @ Stade de France*
May 19, 2023 – Paris FR @ Stade de France
May 26, 2023 – Hamburg DE @ Volksparkstadion
May 28, 2023 – Hamburg DE @ Volksparkstadion
June 16, 2023 – Gothenburg SE @ Ullevi Stadium**
June 18, 2023 – Gothenburg SE @ Ullevi Stadium

August 4, 2023 – East Rutherford, NJ @ MetLife Stadium
August 6, 2023 – East Rutherford, NJ @ MetLife Stadium
August 11, 2023 – Montreal, QC @ Stade Olympique
August 13, 2023 – Montreal, QC @ Stade Olympique
August 18, 2023 – Arlington, TX @ AT&T Stadium
August 20, 2023 – Arlington, TX @ AT&T Stadium
August 25, 2023 – Inglewood, CA @ SoFi Stadium
August 27, 2023 – Inglewood, CA @ SoFi Stadium
September 1, 2023 – Glendale, AZ @ State Farm Stadium
September 3, 2023 – Glendale, AZ @ State Farm Stadium
November 3, 2023 – St. Louis, MO @ The Dome at America’s Center
November 5, 2023 – St. Louis, MO @ The Dome at America’s Center
November 10, 2023 – Detroit, MI @ Ford Field
November 12, 2023 – Detroit, MI @ Ford Field

May 24, 2024 – Munich DE @ Olympiastadion
May 26, 2024 – Munich DE @ Olympiastadion
June 7, 2024 – Helsinki FI @ Olympic Stadium
June 9, 2024 – Helsinki FI @ Olympic Stadium
June 14, 2024 – Copenhagen DK @ Parken Stadium
June 16, 2024 – Copenhagen DK @ Parken Stadium
July 5, 2024 – Warsaw PL @ PGE Narodowy
July 7, 2024 – Warsaw PL @ PGE Narodowy
July 12, 2024 – Madrid ES @ Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano
July 14, 2024 – Madrid ES @ Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano

August 2, 2024 – Foxborough, MA @ Gillette Stadium
August 4, 2024 – Foxborough, MA @ Gillette Stadium
August 9, 2024 – Chicago, IL @ Soldier Field
August 11, 2024 – Chicago, IL @ Soldier Field
August 16, 2024 – Minneapolis, MN @ US Bank Stadium
August 18, 2024 – Minneapolis, MN @ US Bank Stadium
August 23, 2024 – Edmonton, AB @ Commonwealth Stadium
August 25, 2024 – Edmonton, AB @ Commonwealth Stadium
August 30, 2024 – Seattle, WA @ Lumen Field
September 1, 2024 – Seattle, WA @ Lumen Field
September 20, 2024 – Mexico City MX @ Foro Sol***
September 22, 2024 – Mexico City MX @ Foro Sol
September 27, 2024 – Mexico City MX @ Foro Sol***
September 29, 2024 – Mexico City MX @ Foro Sol

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Show 1 Support Europe: Architects & Mammoth WVH**
Show 2 Support Europe: Five Finger Death Punch & Ice Nine Kills
*Five Finger Death Punch/Ice Nine Kills play show 1 in Paris, Architects & Mammoth WVH play show 2 in Paris 
**Volbeat replaces Architects on show 1 in Gothenburg

Show 1 Support North America: Pantera & Mammoth WVH***
Show 2 Support North America: Five Finger Death Punch & Ice Nine Kills
***Greta Van Fleet replaces Pantera on show 1 both weekends in Mexico City

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