While the band revealed no additional details, fans speculated that the “XX” could refer to 20 years since the release of their orchestral live album S&M. It was recorded in April 1999 and launched on Nov. 23 that year.
The zero date comes the day after their new S&M2 concert movie premieres in theaters. It was shot last month and saw the band reunited with the San Fransisco Symphony to perform a selection of tracks from across their career.
The two shows took place before frontman James Hetfield returned to rehab in order to continue his struggle against addiction issues. That announcement led to messages of support from a number of peers. Tony Iommi released a post saying that Hetfield had “done the right thing seeking help” and added that he hoped to see his friend “back at your very best soon.” Former Metallica bassist Ron McGovney said he’d spent two years sober himself, noting that it hadn’t been easy, and telling Hetfield: “I’m with you big guy.” Former Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum advised him to take care of himself, adding: “The disease of alcoholism doesn’t discriminate. You are very strong to take the steps needed to be healthy and happy.”
Bandmate Kirk Hammett acknowledged the outpouring of support by tweeting: “Sending thanks to all of you out there sending your support to us.” Lars Ulrich posted that he was “thinking about my brother.”