Kirk Hammett Addresses ‘Really Divisive’ Metallica Albums ‘Lulu’ & ‘St. Anger’: ‘I Think It’s Important to Have Stuff Like That in Your Catalog’ tt

“If you have a catalog that’s just perfect, people get bored of it.”

Kirk Hammett Addresses 'Really Divisive' Metallica Albums 'Lulu' & 'St. Anger': 'I Think It's Important to Have Stuff Like That in Your Catalog'

Kirk Hammett compared Metallica’s groundbreaking album “Master of Puppets” to the oft-maligned “Lulu” and “St. Anger”, noting how it is normal — if not desirable — for a band to have its career peaks and valleys.

It’s been nearly 40 years since “Master of Puppets” was released, and many still regard it as one of the definitive heavy metal albums that are yet to be surpassed in terms of vision, quality, and sheer badassery. Members of the world’s biggest metal band openly acknowledge the looming importance of “Master of Puppets”, as Kirk Hammett tells Rick Beato in a new interview how it became the “blueprint” of Metallica’s sound.

Metallica's Kirk Hammett compares 'St. Anger' to YES taking 'a freaking  left turn' | Rock News - Planet Rock

“I really felt that [album was] that lineup’s peak, and I mean that we were peaking with [late Metallica bassist] Cliff Burton… Arrangement-wise, songwriting-wise, sonically, playing-wise, we coalesced in a way that we had not coalesced at that point”, the guitarist says, admitting he wonders what would’ve happened had that tragic bus accident in Sweden not taken Cliff’s life.

Still, Kirk notes how the 1986 LP’s success never prevented Metallica from exploring new ground, even if those forays didn’t always get accepted by the fanbase (transcription via Blabbermouth):

“Even though sometimes we’ve taken chances and they failed horribly from a commercial standpoint, I think creatively and artistically, I think they’re huge successes. And I speak specifically about ‘Lulu’, the album we did with Lou Reed, and also about ‘St. Anger’. Those are really divisive albums, and you have two camps — people who like it and people who don’t.

“I think stuff like that’s important to have in your catalog. ‘Cause you just don’t want a lot of the same thing. You want peaks and valleys; you want contrast. It’s what makes it interesting.

“And if you have a catalog that’s just perfect, people get bored of it. There’s a lot of the same thing. Sometimes people wanna get challenged by their favorite band.”

Naming the example of one of his own favorite bands, Kirk added:

“I love Yes. The first three or four Yes albums are brilliant. But then they took a freaking left turn into somewhere else. And I loved it, ’cause it was challenging. And it forced me to listen even harder.”

Even when making those seminal albums, Metallica seems to have had the same approach. While reflecting on the band’s early legacy, Kirk noted in another recent interview how he and his bandmates were “blasé” about all the success when it started happening:

“When we were making those albums and touring behind them, we just kind of took it for granted. It was just, like, ‘All right, we did that. Let’s go on to the next thing.’ We never like sat down and really thought about the accomplishment that we made. And so, 40 years later, I’m able to do that and I’m able to go, ‘Man, we really pulled something off and we were just kind of blasé about it,’ you know?”

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