METALLICA’s LARS ULRICH: ’72 Seasons’ Album Still Sounds ‘Very Fresh, Weighty And Cohesive’

Metallica 72 Season Photo Session

During a recent discussion with Steffan Chirazi from the METALLICA fan-club magazine, So What!, Lars Ulrich was invited to share his thoughts on the band’s latest release, 72 Seasons, which was released in April this year.

 “I think every METALLICA record has its own journey, its own story, its own path forward,” he continued. “They’re all unique, and I think you accept all of them. The one common thread between all the METALLICA records is that they’re done with the best intent, the purest intent, and always an attempt in that moment to write the best songs to create the best collection of songs. Then there’s a set of practicals that play a role in that at some level.

“So obviously, now with 72 Seasons being out a couple, what, four or five months, the record’s still very fresh to me. I like what I’m hearing. I don’t listen to it very often, but just six weeks ago, when we started the North American run in New York, there were a couple more songs that we wanted to learn. So I listened to those songs and listened to the record. I don’t think I’d heard it in six weeks, but it still sounded very fresh, weighty and cohesive.’

“You know, I’ve said this many times: there’s what I call the ‘honeymoon period,’ which is when you make a record and finish a record, you put that record in your back pocket, and then you go off into the world,” he continued. “And at some point, you listen to that record again, and at some point, you start having some questions about the choices that were made. [For] different records at different times, that honeymoon period can be short, can be long, whatever. So, four to five months later, I still don’t have a lot of questions. I’m happy with what I’m hearing, I’m appreciative, and I like the choices that were made.

“The interesting thing about this record is also — and this kind of dawned upon me as I was doing interviews for 72 Seasons in the spring — that every record, through no choice of your own, is always related to the previous record. If you like the previous record, that affects where you’re going with the next record. If you don’t like the previous record, that affects where you’re going with the next record. So, in terms of the lineage of the records, the next record is always tethered to the previous record in some way, shape, or form.

Lars added: “I have made no secret of the fact that Hardwired[… To Self-Destruct], certainly for the most part from ’16/’17 forward, has been a record that, in my ears, has aged really, really well. So, when we started the process of what became 72 Seasons, there was no radical attempt to alter the course forward because Hardwired felt like a really good jumping-off point. Obviously, the parameters were different in that we were in lockdown. There was a lot of uncertainty; the band was trying to figure out its place. And how do we pick the pieces up again?

“That’s already been talked about a little bit with ‘Blackened 2020’ [reimagined version of the 1988 classic ‘Blackened’]. And then, during that awful and unprecedented time in lockdown, how do we make music? How do we connect to our fans and to our friends and family out there? How do we make a difference as METALLICA? And that eventually led us to start writing songs and to do the stuff remotely and through computers and Zoom sessions, etc., etc., etc. Then, ending up here at HQ [METALLICA‘s headquarters in Northern California], masked and under many Covid restrictions.

“Eventually, as things got more and more ‘along,’ the process became more and more normalized, whatever that means in the context of making a record. So, in hindsight, now the record’s been out for five months, I’m happy with it. We’ve played eight of these songs live, [and they’re] super fun to play. I think all eight songs that we played live are connecting with the audience, with the fans, maybe a few of them slightly at a deeper level than others. We’re digging what we’re doing, and as I said, the easy way to sum it up is that there are no radical red flags.”