UPDATE: Metallica have released a "First Pass" version of the track and made it available on iTunes.
Dubbed the "garage demo version" as a nod to their self-produced Garage Days recordings, the new recording adds multiple audio details like clear lyrics that were lost in the phone-shot video that saturated the web on Monday. At eight minutes and 20 seconds in length, the epic song unfolds slowly, with frontman James Hetfield describing what could very well be his view from the stage at a summer gig: "Are you remembering the sound/ Recall the shaking of the ground/ Crawling, crawling all as one/ Lords of Summer bring the sun." Musically, its riffs gallop and charge in a way that recall the group's thrashier Eighties offerings, with lead guitarist Kirk Hammett playing a fiery solo.
Drummer Lars Ulrich told Rolling Stone that the song is "fairly representative of where our creative headspace is at right now." He said that the song – which is the group's first new tune since 2012 when it released outtakes from its last album, Death Magnetic – is just to show fans that they are "writing and creating away."
He also said that fans should not necessarily expect to hear "Lords of Summer" on a future Metallica album. When the group toured in 2006, it premiered two new songs that the band members later cannibalized for Death Magnetic songs. "There was a couple of pieces in 'New Song 1,' some of the middle bit ended up in 'All Nightmare Long,' and the intro bit ended up in 'The End of the Line,'" he said. "That's how we work; stuff just gets changed around, moved over and this goes over there and the rest of that gets sacked and that ends up in the intro in song five." He also said that by the time the group makes it to Europe, it may have written a different new song that it would debut.
The group is out on its "Metallica by Request" tour, where fans in Latin and South America, Europe and Canada all vote on each night's set list. The band has since posted an official live recording of their Bogotá show to its LiveMetallica.com website that includes both the live version and "Garage Demo" of the track.
While on a break between Metallica by Request shows, members of the group have scheduled two concerts in California. The band will be paying tribute to Ozzy Osbourne when he is honored at the MusiCares MAP Fund gala in May, while frontman James Hetfield is joining forces with former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar at a benefit concert called Acoustic-4-a-Cure that same week.