Lux aeterna is Latin for “the eternal light.” In religious contexts, it’s the “light perpetual” that shines upon us after we die. The song is about being in the darkness in certain times in your life but then also having this ever-present light shine upon you both to buoy your spirit and to show you the way. James Hetfield told a YouTube audience that the song was a joyous representation of the realization that this light exists and that the uplift from the love of family, friends, and music is a true part of that light. The lyric about emancipation killing isolation is particularly poignant, showing that the journey of self-discovery and thought development is enough banish the terrible feelings of being alone.

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

Metallica has always guarded its music closely, but in November of 2022, the group “dropped” the song. Cover bands from places like Japan and Australia picked up the song and performed it live. Rather than be upset at the fact, as they told Howard Stern on April 12, 2023, they, “… fucking love that …” Band members expressed amazement that the cover bands weren’t from Northern California, Southern California, or Brooklyn, New York, or places in between but that they were far-flung around the globe. The band appreciates the nod they receive from these cover bands. For his part, Stern was blown away, only being able to stammer, “Fuck … FUCK …” at the end of the performance on his show.

Other Media

Aside from the band’s performance on Howard Stern, not very many other shows have featured the song. It was part of Jimmy Kimmel Live shortly after its release in April 2023, but the song is so new that it hasn’t had a chance to appear elsewhere. The critics’ reviews of both the song and the album have all been glowing, with Music Talkers calling the song best work the group has done in 20 years. Truly, the song is a throwback to the band’s heyday as 20-somethings in the 1980s. Hetfield’s vocals, particularly, received high praise. The reviewer expressed astonishment that after four decades of gritty screaming, Hetfield is still on-point and in-tune in these performances. The album itself is called “72 seasons,” which is a reference to someone’s first 18 years of life. Considering Hetfield was 18 in 1981 for Metallica’s debut, that reference is highly personal.


Anticipation in domination
A sea of hearts beat as one, unified
Magnification, all generations
Approaching thunder awaiting the light

Full speed or nothin’, full speed or nothin’

Lux æterna
Lux æterna, yeah

Exhilaration, frenzied sensation
Kindred alliance connected inside
Commiseration, sonic salvation
Cast out the demons that strangle your life

Full speed or nothin’, full speed or nothin’

Lux æterna
Lux æterna, yeah

Lux æterna

Emancipation kill isolation
Never alone for the feelings alike
Amplification lightning the nation
Never alive more than right here tonight

Full speed or nothin’, full speed or nothin’

Lux æterna
Lux æterna, yeah

Light it!

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Lars Ulrich / James Hetfield

Lux Æterna lyrics © Creeping Death Music

Metallica fans may also be interested in a closer look at the Lyrics & Meaning Behind Nothing Else Matters by Metallica

Listeners of music from the 2020’s, might also appreciate the song Shivers by Ed Sheeran.