"Yep, it smells like me." Watch Metallica's James Hetfield take part in the most wholesome heavy metal unboxing video you'll see this year as he lifts the lid on his new guitar book

James Hetfield holds his new guitar book
(Image credit: YouTube (Metallica))

Metallica frontman James Hetfield stars in a wholesome new unboxing video in which the heavy metal legend opens up the new book exploring the history of his guitars. Packed with special insight into his iconic instruments and, in the case of the deluxe edition package, featuring some special, super-exclusive bonus gifts, the book, titled Messengers, looks like it could be a true treasure trove for dedicated fans of Hetfield's work.

"Messengers...trying to decide the name of the book, I had a lot of cool names, but Messengers made a lot of sense," says Papa Het in the video, which was uploaded to Metallica's official YouTube channel. "Basically, I'm a messenger, I got a gift from God [in] that I get to play music, and these are the tools that I get to express that with. And, you know, for me, obviously...[in] the beginnings of guitar playing, you don't really know too much about how important these things are for you, you just get guitars. And I'm glad that I kept all of the old guitars."

Messengers: The Guitars Of James Hetifield comes in three different editions, including a super deluxe limited edition limited to just 250 copies that's signed and numbered by Hetfield himself, as well as coming housed in a special box including the book itself, a photo print and a guitar pick and string actually used by the Metallica frontman, either in the studio or on tour.

"From the Electra OGV that defined his style, sound, and attitude to the mythical MX guitars, the first in a series of iconic collaborations with ESP, and from his signature Snakebytes through his ambitious projects with renowned luthier Ken Lawrence, James Hetfield shares the emotional and technical elements of the chosen tools that have shaped his singular musical journey, including exotic instruments, vintage Gibsons, and custom one-off," says an official press release accompanying the book. He also reveals many studio secrets, including the key amplifiers and gear that sculpt his tone and create his sound. 

"Each featured guitar is accompanied by lush museum-quality portraits by acclaimed photographer Scott Williamson, exhibiting intimate details, one can only see if holding it in their own hands, alongside Hetfield’s deeply personal reminiscence. Spanning more than forty guitars, ranging from the original battle-scarred road warriors to the trusted studio stalwarts and enduring tour favorites, Messengers: The Guitars of James Hetfield is a meticulously crafted coffee table book and a mesmerizing window into the mind and soul of James Hetfield."

Watch the unboxing video starring James Hetfield for yourself below.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.