Metallica’s “Lux Æterna” Meaning

We’ll start off by saying that if there’s any genre of music where an artist would be inclined to name/drop a song based on a phrase in Latin, a by and large a dead language, it would be hard rock. That is to say that if someone were to base a composition on the phrase “lux æterna”, the implication would be that said work or art is somehow deep. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Metallica's Lux Æterna at

And it is the likes of hard rockers who actually seem to challenge themselves most regularly in terms of dropping songs which require more thinking than the norm, if you want to put it like that.

Ultimately, what’s being relayed in this piece isn’t anything we haven’t come across before via likeminded artists/songs. And in essence, what we’re dealing with here is one of those pieces where the singer is idealizing listeners having some type of “kindred alliance connect(ion)” which, if realized, would prove edifying to all parties involved, if not the world at large. 

And this piece also puts a premium on “cast(ing) out the demons that strangle your life”. Basically it is encouraging the practice of making a more conscientious effort to ‘emancipate’ yourself from whatever internal shortcomings may be holding you back. 

Meaning of “Lux Æterna”

As for the song’s title, it actually translates to “eternal light”.

Steps to achieve your goal

Another commonality amongst these kinds of pieces is that despite favoring some type of deeply-personal or in this case macrocosmic change even, the vocalist rarely relays any type of definitive steps in terms of what actions are required to achieve such hard-earned goals. 

But in the third verse, Hetfield does make an attempt, and it appears that what he is speaking out against, at least as explicitly stated, is “isolation”, as in feelings of loneliness. 

So in terms of the discernible instructions being put forth, it’s as if he is telling listeners to make a heartfelt attempt to socialize and in the process live life to the fullest. But again, what exactly achieving the latter would entail, as usual, is not specified.


That said, at the end of the day, you can’t knock the effort. And we can close out this analysis by concluding that generally interpreted, “Lux Æterna” is meant as a song of encouragement towards those of a similar ilk as Metallica, i.e. their fandom. 

And what’s being put forth is more of an ideology, as in the vocalist’s vision for a perfect future, as opposed to the current reality. For example, in the first verse, Hetfield appears to include the entirety of mankind in this equation. So another way of interpreting this piece is as him looking forward to a day when all people will become as one, which again reads more like a fantasy, if you will, than something that will actually happen.

Lyrics of Metallica's "Lux Æterna"

When was “Lux Æterna” released?

On the 28th of November, 2022, “Lux Æterna” was released as a single. It was the first single the band released from their eleventh studio album titled “72 Seasons”.


James Hetfield composed “Lux Æterna” with his bandmate, Lars Ulrich. The pair has over the years composed a ton of Metallica hits, including:

Fans’ React to “Lux Æterna”

Fans were pleasantly surprised and wildly excited when “Lux Æterna” was surprisingly unveiled. Many shared that they were beyond happy to hear the band’s return without the hype many artists do these days. They also praised the cleanliness and power of James’ voice, which apparently keeps getting better year in year out.

One fan shared that while he loves this song, it also makes him sad that his grandfather wasn’t around anymore to hear it. To celebrate him, he’s enjoying “Lux Æterna” with his stepfather’s favorite cold beer. Apparently, his grandfather was huge Metallica fan.

Another fan wrote that he had just buried his father today and the release of this new track “Lux Æterna”, which is a term used to honor the dead, has provided him an intense personal connection to Metallica.

Lux Æterna

1 Response

  1. Sean M. says:

    I really love this new record, 72 Seasons, it has more strong tunes on it than weak ones. And having just seen them live here in Arizona, the songs were amazing live.

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