METALLICA's LARS ULRICH On Black Album: 'It Was A Convergence Of Different Energies Coming Together Just At The Right Time'

September 4, 2021

The third episode of "The Metallica Podcast: Volume 1 - The Black Album" has just been released in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the band's self-titled fifth LP, better known as The Black Album. The podcast's weekly episodes explore the stories behind and the legacy of the best-selling album in the history of Nielsen Soundscan.

Official description of episode three: "The Black Album was a totally different beast from the quartet – lyrically, musically, and instrumentally. This episode explores the band recording together in the same room for the first time and how it changed the way they played — and in perfect alignment with the '80s turning into the '90s, no less. Guests include: Bob Rock, Ross Halfin, Lzzy Hale, and Bob Rock's son, Mik Rock, whose secret role on 'Enter Sandman' is revealed for the first time anywhere."

Speaking about "Metallica"'s more streamlined direction compared to the thrash metal ovetones of METALLICA's first four albums, drummer Lars Ulrich said: "It was a good 14, 15 months from when we started writing till we wrapped the record up. The battle cry was just 'simply.' All four of us share a love and appreciation for bands like THE ROLLING STONES, for bands like AC/DC and for stuff that is much more traditional blues-based rock and roll. It's a part of all of our schooling. We talked about shorter songs and the MISFITS. I remember at some point, we were talking about a song like 'Jumpin' Jack Flash'. So a lot of stuff that showed up, obviously, was just probably fairly thematic of all of what we're talking about here just for the first time on our horizon, on our radar."

He continued: "Take a band like STATUS QUO. STATUS QUO were a huge, huge part of my childhood. And so whether it's the harder — when you get into songs like 'Down Down' or 'Rain' or 'Caroline' or 'Roll Over Lay Down' [and] some of those mid-'70s albums like 'Hello!' or 'Quo' or 'On The Level', it's all blues-based hard rock and roll. The amplifiers are a little more distorted and it's turned up to sometimes 12 instead of 11, but again, it all comes from the same three Chuck Berry riffs and the same Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon riffs, and so on and so forth. And just like AC/DC and just like THE ROLLING STONES, that part of METALLICA's musical lineage is something that we're, obviously, very open about and very proud of. And I think it certainly explains how we sort of have one foot in a lot of these different musical worlds. It was a combination of the shorter songs, the simpler songs, the songs that drums… I was more, like, 'Okay, I just wanna set up the riffs rather than trying to lead.' Okay, '…And Justice For All', this whole thing starts with a crazy drum beat and the guitar follows the drums. It's, like, 'Okay, I'm just gonna sit back there and put the best drum beat behind these gargantuan guitar riffs.' It starts with the songs, 'cause the songs have to have the foundation to allow for the subtleties, to allow the space and to allow for all those types of things. So it was a convergence of all these different energies coming together just at the right time."

METALLICA's self-titled LP in 2014 became the first album to sell 16 million copies since Nielsen SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991.

"Metallica" was the first of four collaborations with Rock, with whom the band clashed throughout the recording of the disc.

METALLICA performed The Black Album in its entirety at a number of European festivals in 2012.

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