The legendary drummer was speaking to Vulture when he singled out his disdain for ‘Eye of The Beholder’ – taken from 1988’s ‘…And Justice For All’.
While the album has received widespread acclaim since its initial release, Ulrich said that the song was “really forced”.
When asked about why he never wants to hear it again, he explained: “Wherever I hear that song, it sounds kind of like — I guess we don’t want to be super-disrespectful to it — but it sounds really forced. It sounds like you put a square peg in a round hole. It sounds like it’s got two different tempos.
“There’s kind of a 4/4 feel in the intro and on the verses, and then I think the choruses are more like in a waltz tempo. It literally sounds like two different worlds rubbing up against each other. It sounds very awkward to me. I’m not a huge fan of that song.
“I guess the asterisk is that, to me, we did the best we could each moment. So of course, sometimes you sit down and go ‘Huh?’ or ‘That could have been better’ or ‘That was a little awkward’ or ‘That feels a little silly or easy’ or ‘That feels over-thought-out’ or whatever.
It goes back to that whole thing about the past is the past, and I don’t spend a long time back there. And there’s not really much I can do about it [laughs] and honestly, I don’t listen to them.”
Ulrich went on to admit that he doesn’t “listen to a lot of Metallica music”.
“Part of it is because I’m sort of overly analytical [about the details]. It’s basically almost impossible for me to listen to a Metallica song without going, ‘Okay, how are the sonics, how’s the mix, how does the guitar sound? The vocals are too loud, the bass is too boomy’,” he explained.
“It becomes this exercise in analytics. When you hear your favorite band — like if I listened to Rage Against the Machine or something, I just fucking let myself go. But when Metallica comes on it’s like, ‘Huh?’
Despite receiving acclaim, the record has also attracted criticism from fans who have bemoaned the lack of bass guitar on the record. It marked the band’s first release with now-former bassist Jason Newsted after the death of Cliff Burton in 1986.
Last month, Ulrich gave NME an update on the progress of new Metallica material in a wide-ranging interview which also covered lockdown, socially distanced gigs and Spotify.