Metallica's Kirk Hammett says James Hetfield is "doing everyone a huge service" on new album 72 Seasons by addressing subjects "no-one will touch"

Metallica, 2022
(Image credit: Tim Saccenti)

Kirk Hammett says that James Hetfield is singing about "hope" on Metallica's pitch-black new album 72 Seasons, and argues "he’s doing everyone a huge service by approaching subjects that are so friggin’ taboo that no-one will fuckin’ touch because they’re so personal."

Hammett, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich and bassist Robert Trujillo speak about 72 Seasons in a new interview with Kerrang! And while Hammett acknowledges that Metallica's new album is a heavyweight affair - "There’s no ballads because no ballads showed up, bro" he tells Kerrang! Editor Luke Morton - he doesn't agree that James Hetfield's lyrics should be read as dark and depressing.

"I don’t think the lyrics are dark," Hammett says, "I think they’re extremely positive in the fact that he’s shining a really bright light on some really dark subjects. He’s bringing it out into the sunlight for everyone else to see, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, he’s doing everyone a huge service by approaching subjects that are so friggin’ taboo that no-one will fuckin’ touch because they’re so personal, but James has the courage to do that. He’s putting his neck out there and showing himself to that world, and it takes so much to do that – it’s a very courageous thing.

"His lyrics are intensely positive, intensely bright, and they bring all this stuff up to the surface. I think that’s an important perspective to have, rather than going down the rabbit hole. He doesn’t want that. He’s already done that for everyone. Think about it, it’s heavy shit.

"Let me tell you right now," Hammett continues, "looking at the negative side of things is the easiest fucking thing in the world. People can go to the negative in three seconds, but to go to the positive, it takes a little bit more effort, and as time goes by, you’ll realise it’s worth the fucking effort just to be positive and pick up everyone’s wellbeing.

"I know this is how James sees the lyrics... James is singing about hope."

Metallica are on the cover of the new issue of Metal Hammer, and also on the cover of Classic Rock.

In additional news, James Hetfield will release a new coffee table book later this year focusing on his guitar collection.

Titled Messengers: The Guitars Of James Hetfield, the 400-page book will be published on October 17 through Permuted Press and feature portraits by photographer Scott Williamson, who previously worked with the Metallica frontman on his book Reclaimed Rust.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.