YouTuber Who Wrote New Metallica ‘Lux Aeterna’ Solo Destroys Kirk Hammett’s Defense of His Own Playing
After Kirk Hammett responded to criticism over his guitar solo on Metallica's 72 Seasons lead single "Lux Aeterna," YouTuber Bradley Hall (who recorded his own solo over the new album track) has destroyed Hammett's defense in a new video.
Hall, a content creator in the metal community who has gained considerable popularity over the last year or so, goes through all of Hammett's explanations, or as he dubs them, "excuses," for his "Lux Aeterna" solo. which was more improvisational than the calculated solos of years and albums past.
The YouTuber breaks down why he feels Hammett's comments about melodic phrasing and pentatonic scales are poor reasons for laying down the solo we've all heard and even goes so far as to discredit the Metallica legend for not being a good enough guitarist to make certain scales not sound like a warm-up exercise.
Let's dive in...
How did this even start?
Shortly after the release of "Lux Aeterna," Hall published a video titled Metallica "Lux Aeterna" But the Solo Doesn't Suck and, for obvious reasons, it garnered quite a lot of attention.
He states that he felt Hammett's version was "underwhelming," so he cut a thrilling version, which includes some seriously fun whammy-drive licks, a bit of sweep picking and an overall off-the-rails approach.
What did Kirk say in response to critics?
Speaking with Total Guitar, Hammett championed his original "Lux Aeterna" solo.
“Yeah, my fucking friends down the street could probably play a better solo than 'Lux Æterna' – but what’s the point? For me, what’s appropriate is playing for the song and playing in the moment," he asserted.
Without directly identifying which critics in particular he's responding to, it does indeed come off as if he's heard Hall's version among the chorus of critics online.
"I was just laughing the whole time. I could string together like six or seven three-octave arpeggios in 16th notes, sit there every day and practice it and go, ‘Hey, look what I can do!’ but where am I gonna put it? That won’t work in any Metallica song! Arpeggios? Come on! In a guitar solo, mapped out like a lot of people do, four or five chords with a different arpeggio over each one? It sounds like an exercise. I don’t want to listen to exercises and warm-ups every time I hear a song," Hammett argued.
Citing just three guitarists who cater to this approach successfully, Hammett added, “The only guys out there who I think convincingly play arpeggios as a means of expression are Joe Satriani, Yngwie [Malmsteen], and Paul Gilbert."
Hammett also noted that sweep picking is "incredibly easy but it sounds incredibly hard" and that it's a dated technique going back to the '70s and '80s. "I know my modes, Hungarian scales, symmetrical scales, I know all that shit," he said of his musical knowledge bank and declared that it is "more appropriate" within the framework of Metallica to come up with "melodies that are more like vocal melodies," noting that the pentatonic scale, the one he most frequently utilizes, is the best to achieve this goal.
Why doesn't Bradley Hall like Kirk's excuses?
Upon learning about the Total Guitar interview with Hammett, Hall hit back with a nearly 10-minute response video, expressing disappointment in the Metallica guitarist's justifications for the "Lux Aeterna" solo.
And he thinks Kirk flat out missed the point.
“People are not mocking him and his solos because they're not hard to play. People are mocking him because the solos sound lazy and completely throwaway," Hall contends, "This is the most common deflection that people use when people are criticizing their playing. It's not about who can play the most complicated solo – he's missing the point and the point of the criticism."
Aware that people may interpret intentions differently across the vastness of the internet, the content creator goes on, "I think most people understood what I was trying to do with this video. But some missed the point, of course, including Kirk, I guess. It was not to try and one-up him. That's cringe."
Calling out Hammett, Hall argues, "The idea of the video was just to try and show what could have been done if you just paid a bit more attention to what's going on in the backing – follow the riff and the rhythms and chords and all that stuff. You know, the things that you should do when you write a good, memorable solo."
Regarding Hammett's comments on arpeggios, Hall again questions the icon's abilities.
"This is actually insulting to read coming from someone of Kirk's caliber," Hall declares, "If you can't implement arpeggios into a solo and make it not sound like an exercise, then that's just a 'you' problem. That just means you're not good enough at guitar."
Further tearing down Hammett's line of defense, he adds, "These are not memorable phrases. These just sound like somebody going through the motions and just playing something off the top of their head and not really being bothered to go back and refine it."
And he doesn't think improvisation can explain away everything either.
“Just because you went down the route of playing something more raw and improvised, it doesn’t mean that you have this right now to be all high and mighty. Fair enough if the level of improvisation was good and the phrasing was really nice. But it’s not. It just sounds like super-regurgitated, boring, lazy phrasing," Hall expresses, feeling Hammett has played incredibly memorable solos under mostly the same set of principles, it's just that the "Lux Aeterna" solo falls quite short compared to past efforts.
"That doesn't make it good or mean that it necessarily suits the song," Hall says of Hammett's in-the-moment approach, "It just sounds like excuses for lazy-ass playing."
Watch Hall's full response in the video below.