Metallica’s Kirk Hammett identifies the band he considers architects of heavy metal

Metallica’s Kirk Hammett identifies the band he considers architects of heavy metal

In a recent discussion at the “Metallica: The Black Album in Black & White” book signing event in Munich, Germany, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett made a significant revelation about the roots of heavy metal. The event, held on May 25, featured a question-and-answer session with Hammett and Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, moderated by the band’s official photographer, Ross Halfin.

During the session, Hammett reflected on a photo of himself and Metallica frontman James Hetfield enjoying Judas Priest’s performance at the Power Trip festival in Indio, California, last October. Hammett expressed deep admiration for Judas Priest, stating, “We were worshipping at the altar of Judas Priest. Their music means so much to us. And the way Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing played the guitars — I mean, they are architects of what we now know as heavy metal, to put it bluntly. And James and I, we love Priest.”

Hammett’s comments highlight the profound influence Judas Priest has had on Metallica and the heavy metal genre as a whole. He emphasized that the intricate guitar work of Tipton and Downing played a pivotal role in shaping the sound and structure of heavy metal music. This acknowledgment from a member of one of the most iconic metal bands underscores the lasting legacy of Judas Priest in the metal community.

Trujillo also shared his thoughts on the experience, noting the rarity of Metallica members getting to watch other bands perform at festivals. “We don’t really get a chance to see bands, a lot of times, when we’re playing a huge festival or something, because we’re always backstage doing press or getting ready for the show or rehearsing or whatever. So when we did Power Trip, we got there early — a few days early — just so that we could see all the other bands. And it was great — the anticipation of seeing [Iron] Maiden, Priest, AC/DC [and] Guns N’ Roses, and actually seeing them. It was a wonderful time.”

The Power Trip festival provided a unique opportunity for Metallica to enjoy performances by other legendary bands, further enriching their appreciation for the genre’s pioneers. Trujillo added, “And it was kind of a trip because on the final day [of the Power Trip festival], it was, like, ‘Oh, that’s right. We have to play [now].'”

This isn’t the first time Metallica has shown their admiration for Judas Priest. In May 2013, Priest’s lead singer Rob Halford joined Metallica on stage at the Revolver Golden Gods award show in Los Angeles to perform the Priest classic “Rapid Fire.” Halford had previously performed “Rapid Fire” with Metallica during their 30th-anniversary celebration in December 2011 at the Fillmore in San Francisco.

In 2019, Metallica paid tribute to Judas Priest by playing a snippet of their version of “The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown)” while rehearsing for a concert in Bucharest, Romania. These moments of collaboration and homage highlight the mutual respect and influence between the two bands.

The “Metallica: The Black Album In Black & White” book, a collaboration with Ross Halfin, celebrates one of the best-selling albums of all time. It features classic and previously unpublished photographs, with introductions by Halfin, Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Hammett, Jason Newsted, and Trujillo. Halfin, who has been working with Metallica since 1984, documented the band’s journey during the album sessions and the subsequent 300-date tour from 1991 to 1993.

Halfin’s extensive work with Metallica has provided fans with an intimate look at the band’s hectic performing schedule, backstage moments, rehearsals, interviews, and travel. His unique portrait shots of the band members have become iconic images in the world of rock photography.

Kirk Hammett’s recognition of Judas Priest as the architects of heavy metal is a testament to the band’s enduring influence on the genre. As Metallica continues to inspire new generations of metal fans, their acknowledgment of the pioneers who came before them serves as a reminder of the genre’s rich history and evolution.

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