Is METALLICA's 'One' A Ripoff Of DARK ANGEL's 'Darkness Descends'? GENE HOGLAN Weighs In

January 6, 2019

Gene Hoglan says that he once joked about suing the members of METALLICA for allegedly "ripping off" a DARK ANGEL song for their classic track "One".

The DARK ANGEL drummer revealed his band's musical connection to METALLICA while discussing the evolution of double-bass drumming during a recent appearance on Dean Delray's "Let There Be Talk" podcast.

When Delray brought up METALLICA's 1988 cut as an example of how the use of unison sextuplets between a wall of guitars and Lars Ulrich's aggressively EQ'd kick drums redefined the use of double-bass drums in metal, Hoglan said: "I'll flat out tell you, that comes from a DARK ANGEL song. That comes from 'Darkness Descends' [the title track of DARK ANGEL's 1986 album]. And it's well known in the scene that as soon as [METALLICA] put out 'One', I got so many phone calls going, 'You know those guys are ripping you off.'"

Gene continued: "We had [METALLICA's longtime] soundman, 'Big' Mick [Hughes], we had him on a tour, and METALLICA was up for the Grammy at the time, but it hadn't been announced or anything yet. And I was joking that, 'If they win the Grammy, I'm gonna sue.' [I was] totally joking. And Mick was, like, 'You should. They'll probably give you a hundred grand to shut you up.' And I was, like, 'I'm not gonna become the pariah of the metal scene by suing METALLICA.' Everybody's stolen METALLICA riffs."

Asked by Delray if he believes "One" was inspired by "Darkness Descends" in the drumming only or in "the musical part" as well, Hoglan responded: "The whole everything. The drum part, definitely. And that's why I just thought it was kind of funny. The first line in the whole thing is, 'Darkness…' And it comes right from 'Darkness Descends', opening track on the second [DARK ANGEL] record. So, as soon as you hear it, you'd catch it."

Gene went on to say he never brought up the similarity to Ulrich despite the fact that he had toured with METALLICA many years later when he was a member of FEAR FACTORY.

"One" was featured on METALLICA's fourth album, "...And Justice For All", which was the band's last LP to be engineered and co-produced by Flemming Rasmussen, who also worked on "Ride The Lightning" (1984) and "Master Of Puppets" (1986). According to Rasmussen, Ulrich blasted out the double-bass machine gun section in one take. "He just flew straight through that," he told Songfacts.

Two years ago, Hoglan told LA Weekly that the "Darkness Descends" title track was the first metal song inspired by Judge Dredd, right before ANTHRAX did its own tribute to Dredd with "I Am The Law" on the 1987 album "Among The Living".

A short YouTube clip pointing out the musical similarity between "One" and "Darkness Descends" can be found below.

DARK ANGEL is continuing to work on material for its long-awaited comeback album. The band's first CD since 1991's "Time Does Not Heal" will feature the lineup that has performed sporadic live shows since reuniting in 2013: Hoglan, Eric Meyer (guitar),Jim Durkin (guitar),Ron Rinehart (vocals) and Michael Gonzalez (bass).

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