Metallica intentionally took a hard turn away from their increasingly progressive thrash sound on their 1991 self-titled record, better known as The Black Album. In an interview with Uncut, Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett said they felt at the time they couldn’t take what they accomplished on …And Justice For All any further and wanted to do something totally different.

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“When we were done with …And Justice For All and the subsequent two-year tour, there was no place to go on that path,” said Ulrich. “We’d hit the wall. The last song on that album is a song called ‘Dyers Eve’ and it’s six or seven minutes of the most crazy progressive off-the-wall stuff Metallica is capable of doing. After playing all those songs on the road for a couple of years, we said, ‘There’s got to be a reset here.'”

“It wasn’t easy to make, as we wanted a certain sound on that album,” added Hammett. “We wanted everything to be the best it possibly could be, sound-wise, song-wise and performance-wise, and so we went in and — I’ll probably be the first person to mention this — we wanted to come up with a Back In Black, an LP stacked with singles. That was the concept, songs which sound like singles but aren’t.”

“We sat down and thought about the Misfits, AC/DC, and The Stones,” said Ulrich. “We thought about the art of simplifying and writing shorter songs. It’s harder to write a short song than a long song and harder to be succinct. The new challenge was to write shorter songs. A little more bounce, to make the music more physical than cerebral.

Ulrich later added that upon the completion of Metallica, the band was damn near on the verge of collapse.

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“When we walked out of the studio a year later with the Black Album in our pockets, I don’t think any of us thought we’d see each other again,” Ulrich admitted. “But we ended up spending the next 10-12 years making records together. It was a love affair, but it got off to a rocky start. But thankfully he pushed and challenged us. He didn’t accept our refusal to be experimental and to cast the net wider.”

Check out the full interview here.

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