Breathe a sigh of relief everyone.....it's good.
It's really, really good.
Where to even begin with the amount of things this track does right. First up there's some insanely weighty chords caked in THAT signature guitar tone as Lars pads out the atmosphere with his suitably lead-footed drumwork, creating a tension builder if there ever was one.
Then the riff. The first riff Metallica (or Hetfield) have put out in 6 years (No we're not counting Beyond Magnetic, the apology-letter the band put together to quell the flames of Lulu).
It's killer - just a sick, superbly-picked riff that instantly oozes heavyweight Hetfield ferocity. Although many seek to lambaste Jaymz's present-day vocal chords, the man can do wrong in my eyes, and when he's laying down licks as tight as this, it forever proves he's always been The Lord Riffmaster, and always will be.
Lars is back on righteous form. And when I say 'back on form' I mean in a positively THUNDEROUS way, as relentless double-bass pedalling erupts underneath Hetfield's corking riff, powering the entire composition no end and leading to a more standard pattern throughout the track that lets everyone catch their breath before it's Kirk Hammett's turn to bat.
First time Metallica had to 'prove themselves' was following St Anger, and Hammett pulled the That Was Just Your Life solo out his pentatonic-pantaloons, yet this time following the godawful Lulu sessions they somewhat had to regain their footing once again. However whereas Just Your Life's solo was a rather psychotic smattering of fret abuse that could demolish a nearby shopping mall, Lords of Summer's solo begins more subtly, with a repeating pattern that somewhat attempts to lay the groundwork for what's to come.
Can you guess what's to come? FUCKING WAH PEDALS that's what. What else? And what other scale to run them through than E Minor Pentatonic - the quintessential Kirk Hammett scale of choice.
It works a treat though, as say what you will about Mr. Hammett, but his stringent reliance on these scales with THAT wah-tone makes his playing instantly recognisable.
The mid-point of this solo actually heralds a Sabbathian time-change that I'm sure will destroy many rehearsals as the rest of us try to replicate in due time too.
The whole band then switches gears and Hammett busts out a more ...And Justice For All-style progression, connoting their older work yet leading perfectly into an unmistakably Struggle Within-esque pace-igniter that takes us right back into the chorus.
You really can't beat the full Metallica package, and when you combine Lars' fantastic drumming with Hetfield bellowing out some fantastic lyrics and Rob Trujillo providing Blackened-style backup gang-vocals as Hammett fizzles and cracks when he's needed most, Metallica have knocked this one out of the park only to kick off the ground and volley it further into the stratosphere.
The Lords of Summer have returned after 6 long years, and it's fucking brilliant to have them back.