Metallica’s James Hetfield Says He Originally Wanted To Call The Band’s New Album “Lux Æterna”

During a recent interview conducted for Metallica’s So What! fanzine, James Hetfield discussed the band’s new album “72 Seasons” (out April 14). Interestingly, the frontman revealed that he was originally planning on using “Lux Æterna” as the effort’s title track.

Hetfield said the following:

“Well, ’72 seasons’ as a concept, that’s been digested from somewhere else. Meaning it was a concept — it was the ’72 seasons of sorrow,’ and I dropped the ‘sorrow’ part off because the first 18 years of life aren’t all sorrow. And we tend to just focus on that in our adult life, like, ‘I need to fix all the shit that was wrong when I was a kid.’ There was great stuff as well, so 72 seasons, everyone’s got their version of what their 72 seasons were and what they mean to them now.

Having kids definitely helps you understand your childhood and what your parents went through. More the latter. You know, me being a parent, like, ‘Come on, guys, give me a break. I’m just a human.’ But when you’re a kid, you look up to your parents as gods. They can do no wrong, and whatever they say is what’s supposed to be. Then, when you get older, you go, ‘Man, I’m sorry I put you guys up on a pedestal, made you gods, and blamed you for this and that, or wished differently, but you were just humans too. You were doing your best, and you were working with the tools of your parents.’ It goes back generationally, and as a parent, really, what I want to do is maybe do it a little better than my parents did. That’s really what I want to ask of myself. There’s an inheritance of whatever they brought… you inherit some of those things. There’re some I need to work on, there’re some I need to completely forget, and there’re some I need to find. Everyone’s had a childhood. Most people I’ve met have had a childhood. Whether it’s good or bad, we can decide later on in life. You can’t change your childhood, but you can change your concept of it and what it means to you now.”

He continued when it was mentioned that “72 Seasons” helped him get his dark side out:

“Well, it’s interesting to contemplate, you know. ‘Am I who I am just because of all that? Can I change? Can I not change? Am I capable of changing? Is this just ingrained, is it in the stars? I read my astrology thing for today, and this is just how it is?’ I don’t know. Nobody knows, and I certainly don’t, either. I know the parts of me that I’d like to change take work, and it’s hard work. But I’ve got awareness of it, and if there’s some things I can’t change, that’s really not up to me as well. But the ‘blame’ part, blaming my parents for all of this and that and whatnot, it’s got to stop. Because I have the capacity to make my own choices now. There’s a lot of psychology in this, and I can overthink all of it, but at the end of the day, is it these 72 seasons that form your true or false identity? Am I able to change or not? That’s a lifelong question.”

He also added the following about the heavy use of yellow in the “72 Seasons” visuals:

“Yellow, for me, is light. It is light. It’s a source of goodness. So against the black, it really pops. It is light.

My vision was I wanted this album [to be] called ‘Lux Æterna’ because that summed up all the songs for me, kind of an eternal light that was always inside of us that maybe is just now coming out. And I was outvoted, which is great. ’72 Seasons’ is definitely more chewable. You get to figure out what it is. You get to dig into it and chew on it a little more. But that color came out of ‘Lux Æterna.’”

On another note, Hetfield also commented on opening up the collaboration process with this record:

“A lot of – whooo – a lot of open heart surgery in a way in this album. We opened up. I was much more ready to open my heart to everyone in the band: lyrically, emotionally, and creatively. I was really an advocate, going out of my way to say, ‘Send in your riffs. We need stuff, c’mon,’ you know?

I don’t want to sit there with [only] Lars and create the songs anymore. I want everyone to be a part of it and be in it. ‘Can we all show up? Can we all be in the studio together? Can we jam on these things together? Can you speak up and say what you think might be great and not so great?’ Really wanting to open it up, and there were challenges in that. But I think we got through most of ’em, you know?

And again, we’ve all got our own personalities for a reason, and sometimes, when you put the mic in front of someone and say, ‘Here you go, say whatever you want,’ they realize that maybe they don’t want that and they’re better off playing off of what you come up with.

And I’m the same way. Someone’ll come up with an idea. I’m good at taking that and hopefully bringing it up to the next level. So it was challenging, but it was available, and that felt very freeing for everybody.

It took longer because there were more voices, obviously, and then Greg Fidelman [producer] is a trusted outside ear. And he’s able to say, ‘I don’t know about that,’ or, ‘Hey, that’s really good, do that again.’ So the writing process was a lot more open and a lot more fun having all four of us here.

You know, ‘Here’s a riff – let’s go jam on it and then see what comes up from it.’ There’re so many different ways to approach writing a song. In the past, some were already kind of put together and brought to the band. This was a little more, ‘Hey, this riff from Manchester, it’s awesome! Let’s see what we can do with it.’ So it started with less ingredients, I would say. We were building this record, and there were four chefs instead of just two.”

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