“If Darkness Had a Son” by Metallica

Metallica has been around a lot longer than “72 Seasons”, which is the title of their eleventh studio album. Division indicates that “72 seasons”, with their being 4 seasons annually, comes out to 18 years, while this band has been active well over two times that figure. 

What that heading actually refers to, according to James Hetfield, is how “the first 18 years of our lives” prove to be our most-formative and influential era.

On 1 March 2023, “If Darkness Had a Son” became the third track released in advance of said LP, which is a product of Blackened Records, the indie label Metallica founded in 2012. Besides frontman James Hetfield, two of his bandmates, Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett, are likewise credited with writing this song. 

Hetfield and Ulrich, i.e. the co-founders of Metallica, also produced the track with regular collaborator Greg Fidelman. Meanwhile, its video’s director is Timothy Saccenti.


The lyrics revolve around the vocalist presenting himself as the “son” of “darkness”. In context the latter would not be a person but rather more along the lines of a disposition and lifestyle. And in that regard, we all have a general idea of what “darkness” entails, with the singer accordingly coming off as sort of a dismal fellow whose actions are inspired by “temptation”. 

But that said, the lyrics are pretty ambiguous all the way around, with James’s modus operandi being defined by the likes of a “neverending quenchless craving” and “unforgiven misbehaving”.

But all lyrics considered, it isn’t particularly as if he is being non-specific. Instead, what the third verse especially implies is that the vocalist is representing a grander idea, i.e. Hetfield’s character personifying what many others are also going through.  

And going back to that first “72 seasons” of our lives, it is also strongly insinuated that becoming a ‘son of darkness’ is a process which is initiated in childhood, presumably, it would seem, via various socializing institutions.


With the release of “If Darkness Had a Son”, it does appear as if “72 Seasons” is shaping up to be premised on the concept of our personality flaws, if you will, being questionable fashioned while we’re young and impressionable. But the two previous singles, “Lux Æterna” and “Screaming Suicide“, also indicate that the LP is not all doom, gloom and blame but also offers Metallica’s hope that we overcome such maladies.

“If darkness had a son, here I am
Temptation is his father
If darkness had a son, here I am
I bathe in holy water
Temptation, leave me be”

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