The complex Metallica songs Lars Ulrich hates to play live

Despite achieving immense success with heavy metal legends, Lars Ulrich has consistently nurtured his love for rock music. Even as Metallica soared to fame, Ulrich retained the enthusiasm of a devoted young fan, regularly revelling in the performances of his cherished rock bands.

Metallica’s significant inspirations trace back to the iconic heavy metal outfits of the 1970s, such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Judas Priest, and Motörhead. These foundational acts played a pivotal role in defining metal as a gritty, edgy, and captivating genre, profoundly influencing the musical perspective of James Hetfield, Ulrich, and Kirk Hammett when they first established the group in 1983.

However, being a crucial component of one of the most prominent rock bands isn’t without its challenges. In reality, it often involves a struggle on stage as the members tirelessly aim for perfection, navigating through an extensive repertoire of fan favourites. After the release of St Anger, Ulrich described the difficulties they experienced when playing four of the new songs to a live audience.

He explained: “‘Unnamed Feeling’, to me, is one of those songs where when you fuck up, it slips away easier. When you’re doing one thing, you’re doing that, you’re singing, Kirk’s…there’s a lot of counter energies going, and when one of those gets a little off, the whole thing kind of tilts over. ‘Dirty Window’ kind of has a movement to it. The cowbell obviously takes it to another level, and it’s got a guitar solo.”

Members of the band acknowledging the challenges of performing specific songs live is not a rare occurrence. Hammett, too, faces similar difficulties on occasion. Bringing Death Magnetic to an abrupt halt, ‘My Apocalypse’ showcases a colossal descending riff complemented perfectly by Hetfield’s synchronised growls. In an interview with Guitar Center, Hammett recounted the challenges posed by that particular riff.

He recalled: “That’s a riff I hope I get every night because when that riff kicks in, I’m the only one playing it. If I don’t practice that riff, I’m liable to mess it up.” While Death Magnetic might not have garnered universal acclaim as a Metallica album, it wasn’t intended to replicate the success of their earlier hits. Following the harrowing tale of St. Anger, however, this album served as evidence that Metallica had not definitively strayed from their path.

As Ulrich once said: “You can’t have Death Magnetic and the choices that were made on that record without St. Anger. So, it’s all tethered together in a way that makes it a useless conversation at some point. Because everything is part of a bigger picture. And I guess I am very good at accepting the journey.”

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