Metallica's Kirk Hammett isn't having the abuse he's taken for his Lux Æterna guitar solo

Kirk Hammett of Metallica
(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for P+ and MTV)

In November last year, Metallica dropped a surprise new single Lux Æterna, alongside the news that they would be releasing their 12th studio album, 72 Seasons, this April. 

Since the release however, guitarist Kirk Hammett has been facing scrutiny from some Metallica fans over the guitar solo featured on the track, which many believe to be not up to scratch. In fact, some guitarists have even come forward to rewrite their own versions, which are often more technically advanced.

In conversation with Total Guitar magazine however, Hammett rejects the idea that his solo is bad simply because it might not be difficult to play, and states that his creation is actually "appropriate" for the song.

"Yeah, my fucking friends down the street could probably play a better solo than Lux Æterna — but what's the point?" he says. "For me, what's appropriate is playing for the song and playing in the moment."

Speaking of the online hate his solo has received, he continues, "I was just laughing the whole time. I could string together like six or seven three-octave arpeggios in 16th notes, sit there every day and practice it and go, 'Hey, look what I can do!' but where am I gonna put it? That won't work in any Metallica song. 

"Arpeggios? Come on! In a guitar solo, mapped out like a lot of people do, four or five chords with a different arpeggio over each one? It sounds like an exercise. I don't want to listen to exercises and warm-ups every time I hear a song."

Hammett adds: "The only guys out there who I think convincingly play arpeggios as a means of expression are Joe Satriani, Yngwie [Malmsteen] and Paul Gilbert."

Elaborating on his knowledge of music theory while explaining how his soloing style has changed since playing with Metallica, he notes: "I know my modes, Hungarian scales, symmetrical scales, I know all that shit. Is it appropriate? Maybe earlier in our time, but not now.

"What's more appropriate is coming up with melodies that are more like vocal melodies. And guess what? The best scale for mimicking vocal melodies is the pentatonic."

Rejecting the notion that he doesn't appreciate technical playing, the guitarist says: "I love from-the-heart playing, and I've heard real technical playing that's from the heart. Allan Holdsworth, Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Yngwie — they all play from the heart, but for a lot of guys it's just like sports or the Olympics. Music is to reflect beauty, creativity, feeling, life. There is a place and there's an audience for all that stuff, but I feel there comes a time when people just get tired of that."

72 Seasons is set to arrive on April 14.

Metallica are on the covers of the latest issues of Metal Hammer and Classic Rock magazine.

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.