Metallica’s blockbuster self-titled 1991 opus, better known as the “Black Album” looms large over the entire metal genre. It’s sold more copies than, well, just about any heavy release in history. Its iconic singles — “Enter Sandman,” “The Unforgiven,” “Nothing Else Matters,” “Wherever I May Roam” and “Sad but True” — uprooted expectations, enthralled hardcore fans and new converts alike and helped secure Metallica’s position as a global force in music. But when Metallica weren’t entirely sure how the record was going to land. “We knew we had something that was radically different … I was a little nervous,” Hammett admits, looking back. “Because we did not have any sort of precedent for that kind of approach [or] sound in the four albums before that.” For its 30th anniversary guitarist Kirk Hammett reflects on the risks and rewards of heavy metal's biggest breakout smash.
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