James Hetfield states all of the Metallica members were involved in writing process for the new album

Photo by Christopher Lee Helton

James Hetfield states all of the Metallica members were involved in writing process for new album

Metallica frontman James Hetfield was recently interviewed by SiriusXM host Jose Mangin on the SiriusXM’s Metal Ambassador podcast. Metallica consisting of Hetfield on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Lars Ulrich on drums, Kirk Hammett on guitar and Rob Trujillo on bass just released their latest studio album 72 Seasons on April 14, 2023.

In terms of the creative process for the new record, Hetfield indicated (as provided by SiriusXM with slight edits):

“I know. 42 years, and this is only our 11th album. Um, and it goes to show that we put a lot of care and time into what we do. Uh, not trying to overthink everything, uh, just let it flow. But then, you know, when you get in that creative process, you just kind of, it’s like, it’s gotta be better. And we’ll just sit there and talk to each other. It’s like, this part is not up to snuff. I know it can be better. We can do better, and that’s what we continue to do. Uh, and the songs can get a little complicated here and there, but it is really about the riff, you know, the simplicity of the riff. Uh, yeah, like you said, there’s definitely [BlackSabbath in there. And, um, yeah, vocally trying to evolve as well without losing the, in your face growl, you know?

So I think I hit a pretty good balance with that, with the help of everyone else on the team here, you know, our producer, Greg, and everyone around us. You know, it is pretty interesting when I try to do some vocal stuff and, you know, something unique or more vulnerable, everyone kind of steps back, like, “Uh oh, what’s going on here? Uh, I don’t know what to do with this.” It’s like, “Relax guys. Uh, I know what I do best. But I also want to evolve as a singer. You know?” So there’s a lot of give and take in there. And same with, you know, everyone’s skill. The bass, I mean, the bass on this record, Rob has done a fantastic job, and I think, at least in my personal life, the inclusion of others, you know, it really was Lars and I a bunch just sitting down, going through the riff tapes and “Here, this is good. This is not as good. And here, let’s put the stuff together and we’ll show the other guys what they get to play in the studio, you know?”

Uh, but involving the guys from day one in the studio, in the writing process has helped a lot with the vibe, uh, of the, of this record. Um, so the inclusion of everyone, you know, Rob, especially, that guy is so dedicated to this band, man. He knows the songs before I do. You know, he is there and he is so positive all the time, bringing that into the room. And Kirk as well with his kind of out there spacey, quirkiness, you know, he’ll all of a sudden, you know, mine some like, piece of gold, like, “Dude, where’d that come from? And we gotta use that.” So a lot more inclusion on this record as well, which makes me feel really, really good.”

Having all four Metallica band members contribute to the writing of a studio album has not always been the case. For instance, Metallica‘s previous album Hardwired…To Self-Destruct (2016) was written by Hetfield and Ulrich except for one song which was written by the duo along with Trujillo.

You can listen to that clip from the interview with James Hetfield on the SiriusXM’s Metal Ambassador podcast below:

Metallica‘s “Sleepwalk My Life Away” video: