The phenomenal viral success of Metallica's Stranger Things collaboration is a "mindf**k" says Lars Ulrich

Lars Ulrich and Eddie Munson
(Image credit: Lars Ulrich - The Howard Stern Show, SiriusXM / 'Eddie Munson' - Netflix)

Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich appeared on US radio personality Howard Stern's SiriusXM show yesterday (November 28) to share the surprise announcement of the band's new album, 72 Seasons, their new single, Lux Æterna, and their upcoming M72 world tour. Describing his group's 12th studio collection as "our Covid lockdown record", Ulrich admits that the group were astonished that they managed to keep the news under wraps right up until the scheduled announcement.

"We thought for sure this thing would leak," he said. "It hasn't fucking leaked."

During the conversation with Stern, a long-time supporter of his band, Ulrich also discussed the huge publicity boost that the San Franciscan metal superstars enjoyed this year as a result of the title track of their 1986 masterpiece Master Of Puppets being utilised in a pivotal scene in the most recent series of Netflix's sci-fi drama Stranger Things, and described  its viral success as a "mindfuck". The drummer acknowledged that the song's appearance in the TV show was facilitated by the group learning in recent years to be less uptight about where their music is used.

"It used to be with Metallica that we were always the 'No' guys," he admits. "[Adopts film industry/TV producer voice] 'Hey, can we have this song for this, can we have that song for that'... blah blah blah... and it was just, No, no, no, no, no. And a few years we kinda reversed it, and did a 180 [degrees turn] and we just said, You know what, this is stupid, why are we hanging on to these songs like they're so important, like they're the crown jewels or whatever: it's like, let's share our music with the world. And so a couple of years ago we started saying Yes to everything.

"Obviously we're all somewhat familiar with the Stranger Things phenomenon, so we got that [request] in six or nine months ago and said Yes, and they wanted to build this whole scene around Master Of Puppets, and we said, Of course. And then it came out over the summer and it was just such a mindfuck to see how that became a phenomenon. And we were so proud: I mean, who would have thought 40 years later that these songs could still have that impact. So we were excited to be part of it, absolutely."

With their profile duly boosted, Metallica's new album will arrive on April 14, 2023 via their own Blackened Recordings label. You can hear Ulrich officially announce the album news, and talk Stranger Things, in the clips below.

So far, the online reaction to Lux Æterna, the first taste of the album has been hugely positive.

"Holy shit the new Metallica song is awesome!!!!!" gushes one fan. "Metallica's new single hits you in the face like be hit by a sledgehammer that Peter Gabriel was swinging OMG this is awesome absolutely love this and can’t wait for the new album!" another breathlessly offers. "New #Metallica song is pretty F-in awesome," beams one more. "Really like the guitar work especially from Kirk. Looking forward to the full album now."

"Love how Metallica surprise dropped this!" remarked another fan, applauding the metal legends taking us all by surprise. "That riff sounds old-school, and of course there was a wah solo not even 1 minute in. Still awesome." "This was a very unexpected surprise," commented another fan. "Definitely has a classic New Wave of British Heavy Metal vibe going on with Metallica's more mature sound which is very awesome. This song is an absolute banger."

But why not make up your own mind, by listening below:

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. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.