Metallica’s Lars Ulrich says it’s “still surreal” to have a “record of this magnitude” in ‘The Black Album’

It went straight to Number One on the US Billboard chart in 1991

Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich has said he still finds it “surreal” that Metallica have a “record of this magnitude’ in ‘The Black Album’.

Ulrich, who was speaking to NME for the Big Read cover feature, where Metallica and famous fans – shared their love for the landmark LP upon its 30th anniversary, says he is still baffled by its success.

“It’s still surreal to have a record of this magnitude [and] that still means this much to so many people 30 years later,” he said.


When it was released on August 12, 1991, it went straight to Number One on the US Billboard chart, where it stayed for four weeks, something the band struggled to understand.

Metallica 1992 Credit: Getty

“That wasn’t meant to happen!” Ulrich, who remembers the sudden shift in public attention, said. “I remember we were in New York six, nine months after the record came out and people would say, ‘Hey – are you the guy from Metallica?’ That had never happened before anywhere.

“Everything that fuelled us and made us get out of bed was trying to be contrary to what the mainstream was. [We received] these updates every day from management: ‘Oh, now you’re Number One for the third week in Switzerland’. It was like, ‘Huh?!’”

For new covers album ‘The Metallica Blacklist’, Royal Blood covered ‘Sad But True’, and Ulrich remembered how he and his family fell in love with the Brighton duo’s music upon the release of their debut album.

He added: “It was my kids’ favourite band and favourite album. The first time they played in San Fran, my wife and I met them and hung out. We ended up driving them around and showing them the landmarks.”


Reflecting on the comments, Thatcher told NME: “It’s crazy! To have someone like that back your band and not just back it, but think that you’re great, is such a nice feeling.”

Reviewing covers album ‘The Metallica Blacklist’, NME wrote: “This is a record that makes ‘DONDA’ look positively zippy. Inevitably, the record descends into a series of multi-band cover-offs, the listener acting as Caesar, deciding which ‘winning’ version should really have made the cut. Half the time you feel like you’re doing the compiler’s job for them.”

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