Metallica have announced their first album in six years, '72 Seasons', and a world tour.

The heavy metal titans surprised fans this week by dropping the lead single from the follow-up to 2016's 'Hardwired... to Self-Destruct', 'Lux Æterna', and a striking music video.

The album's title signifies how influential the first 18 years of our life are.

Frontman James Hetfield explained: "[Seventy-two] seasons. The first 18 years of our lives that form our true or false selves.

"The concept that we were told 'who we are' by our parents. A possible pigeonholing around what kind of personality we are."

He went on: "I think the most interesting part of this is the continued study of those core beliefs and how it affects our perception of the world today. Much of our adult experience is reenactment or reaction to these childhood experiences. Prisoners of childhood or breaking free of those bondages we carry."

The album will be released on April 14, 2023.

The 'Enter Sandman' rockers will then embark on the mammoth tour in support of the LP, which will see them play two shows in each city with different setlists.

The tour spans 2023 and 2024, and is due to kick off in Amsterdam on April 27, 2023.

Different shows will have different support acts; from Architects, Mammoth WVH, and Five Finger Death Punch to Ice Nine Kills, Pantera, Volbeat and Greta Van Fleet.

General sale tickets will be available from 9am local time on Friday (02.12.22).

The track-listing for '72 Seasons' is:

1. '72 Seasons’

2. ‘Shadows Follow’

3. ‘Screaming Suicide’

4. ‘Sleepwalk My Life Away’

5. ‘You Must Burn!’

6. ‘Lux Æterna’

7. ‘Crown of Barbed Wire’

8. ‘Chasing Light’

9. ‘If Darkness Had a Son’

10. ‘Too Far Gone?’

11. ‘Room of Mirrors’

12. ‘Inamorata’