James Hetfield on Metallica's '72 Seasons': "There's Been a Lot of Darkness in My Life" | Revolver

James Hetfield on Metallica's '72 Seasons': "There's Been a Lot of Darkness in My Life"

Frontman opens up about the mindset that informed Metallica's impending album
metallica james hetfield HUBBARD, Jimmy Hubbard
photograph by Jimmy Hubbard

Order Metallica's new album, 72 Seasons, on CD and 2LP vinyl at Revolver's shop.

Metallica season is upon us, and the guys have a lot to say. Last week, the thrash pioneers announced their 11th LP, 72 Seasons (due out April 2023), and dropped a fast-and-furious new song called "Lux Æterna" that brings to mind their early Eighties material. For Metallica heads, the song had a pleasant familiarity, but the impending album's somewhat obtuse title definitely raised eyebrows. 

In a new interview with Alt 101.5, frontman James Hetfield revealed more about where the phrase 72 Seasons comes from, what it means to him, and how he channeled the "darkness" in his life into this new record, Metallica's first since 2016's Hardwired... to Self-Destruct.

"72 Seasons came out of a book I was reading about childhood, basically, and sorting out childhood as an adult," Hetfield said, as transcribed by Blabbermouth.  "And 72 seasons is basically the first 18 years of your life. How do you evolve and grow and mature and develop your own ideas and identity of self after those first 72 seasons?

"Some things are more difficult than others — you know, some things you can't unsee and they're with you for the rest of your life, and other things you're able to rewind the tape and make a new tape in your life. So that's the real interesting part for me, is how you're able to address those situations as an adult and mature."

"There's been a lot of darkness in my life and in our career and things that have happened with us," he continued. "But always having a sense of hope, always having the light that is in that darkness … Without darkness, there is no light, and being able to focus a little more on the light in life instead of all of the… how it used to be and how horrible it is...

"There's a lot of good things going on in life — focusing on that instead, and it helps to balance out my life. And there's no one meaning to it — everyone has some sense of hope or light in their life, and, obviously, music is mine. And ["Lux Æterna"] specifically talks about gathering of people at a concert and [being] able to see the joy and the life and the love that comes out of music and the family and the kinship in that, and just a sense of uplifting."

Hear Hetfield's full conversation below.