Metallica have been slowly creeping toward a new album, their first since 2008′s Death Magnetic, and that prospect began to come into slight focus back in March, when the band debuted a new track, “Lords Of Summer,” at a show in Colombia, followed by a “Garage Demo Version” of that same cut a few days later. Today, a week and a day before the band’s controversial Glastonbury headlining appearance, Metallica return with a real studio recording of the song — though it’s curiously subtitled “First Pass Version,” implying perhaps that it’s not the final studio version. This “First Pass” isn’t markedly different than the “Garage Demo” (which was honestly pretty strong in the first place) though it’s louder and crisper with more dynamic clarity. Whether “Lords Of Summer” appears on the next Metallica LP remains to be seen, although I’m hoping it doesn’t — it’s a good song, not a great one, and by 2016 it’s going to be an afterthought: an auto-skip for fans who’ve lived with it for a year or so. Also, I’m on record saying that I want the next Metallica album to sound more like the stakes-raising, heart-racing “Ronnie Rising” than the very-good-but-inessential Death Magnetic, and “Lords Of Summer” feels like it would have slotted comfortably on Death Magnetic. That said, if Metallica go against all my stated wishes and their next LP is Re-Death Magnetic, ft. “Lords Of Summer,” I’ll still be pretty happy with it. Anything but another Lulu, man. Anything but that. Give it a spin, let me know if you agree.
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