During a conversation with Metal Hammer, Lars Ulrich talked about Metallica’s 1984 sophomore record “Ride the Lightning,” addressing some of the controversies surrounding the songs.
Asked about the sellout accusations that came with the band’s first-ever ballad, “Fade to Black,” the drummer replied:
“Everybody seemed to be caught off-guard by the fact we’d done it. We surprised everyone but ourselves. You can hear that the New Wave of British Heavy Metal inspired the first record.
“But if you step back further than that, you get to Deep Purple’s ‘Child in Time’ and Judas Priest’s ‘Beyond the Realms of Death,’ even ‘Stairway To Heaven’ – those big, brooding, epic songs
“That kind of song was always in the background for us – we knew in our hearts that was part of the Metallica sound, but we just didn’t have the skill or finesse to tackle it on [1983 debut] ‘Kill ‘Em All.’
“By the time Cliff [Burton, bass] and Kirk [Hammett, guitar] had come on board, we felt we had the ability to go down that path.”
Why did people react to it the way they did at the time?
“Probably because there was a group of people who had a different view of what Metallica was – that we were a lot more of a one-dimensional entity.
“Often I feel like there’s two Metallicas. There’s the Metallica I live and breathe every day, and then there’s the Metallica I read about.
“Those are often two contradictory things. The things that people get caught off-guard about are completely normal in my mind, but maybe we don’t do a good enough job of explaining them.”