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Metallica Release “Lux Æterna,” First New Song in Six Years: Review and Lyrics

The band's first new song since 2016 doesn't disappoint

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metallica lux aeterna review
Metallica, photo by Amy Price

    Metallica have returned with their first new song in more than six years, “Lux Æterna” — the lead single from the band’s just announced new studio album, 72 Seasons, arriving April 14th.

    Considering the band’s pace of releasing new music every 6-8 years, a lead single drop is certainly a holiday treat for Metallica fans, not to mention a cause for curiosity. Ever since St. Anger, Metallica have been a wildcard, sonically speaking. Those measured gaps between releases have resulted in each subsequent album having a vastly different musical personality than the one before it.

    If St. Anger was a stab at radio friendly metal, then Death Magnetic was the deliberate return to a more recognizable form of melodic thrash. For 2016’s Hardwired…to Self-Destruct, the band took the gloves off to deliver a to-the-point heavy metal ripper. The introductory single for each of those albums came with an element of surprise: “Oh, this is what Metallica sound like now.” Inevitably, there was also the chance of disappointment given the long wait and buildup for each album cycle.

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    With the announcement of 72 Seasons, that familiar anticipation returned in the form of “Lux Æterna.” Disappointment? Not here.

    With a compact thrash metal song like this one, the central riff is vital, and Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield deliver a keeper. Hearing the riff for the first time — bolstered by propulsive drumming from Lars Ulrich (not a St. Anger snare to be heard!) — alleviated any fear of a dud. Rather, Metallica picked up where Hardwired left off.

    From there, the chord progression during the verses takes on a pop-punk bounciness. Hetfield latches on with an overtly melodic delivery and simple rhyme scheme — the latter being the least inspired element of the track. Thankfully his soaring cries of “Lux Æterna!” make up for it, with the verses building to a triumphant power-metal style chorus.

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    The song clocks in at three-and-a-half minutes and doesn’t stray far from its verse-chorus-verse structure. As was the case with Hardwired, Metallica aren’t trying to reinvent themselves on “Lux Æterna.” This is no-bullshit melodic thrash metal with a refreshingly live sound. Here’s hoping 72 Seasons offers more of the same.

    72 Seasons is available for pre-order in multiple formats and configurations via Metallica’s online store. You can also pick up tickets for the band’s newly announced 2023-2024 tour dates via Ticketmaster.

    Check out the video for “Lux Æterna” below, followed by the song’s complete lyrics.

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    “Lux Æterna” Lyrics:

    Anticipation
    In domination
    A sea of hearts beat as one, unified
    Magnification
    All generations
    Approaching thunder awaiting the light

    Full speed or nothing
    Full speed or nothing

    Lux Æterna
    Lux Æterna

    Exhilaration
    Frenzied sensation
    Kindred alliance connected inside
    Commiseration
    Sonic salvation
    Cast out the demons that strangle your life

    Full speed or nothing
    Full speed or nothing

    Lux Æterna
    Lux Æterna (yeah!)
    Lux Æterna

    Emancipation
    Kill isolation
    Never alone for the feelings alike
    Amplification
    Lightning the nation
    Never alive more
    Than right here tonight

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    Full speed or nothing
    Full speed or nothing

    Lux Æterna
    Lux Æterna

    Light it

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