"They really made me smile...it was our singer that we never got!" Metallica's James Hetfield reveals the new metal band he's loving right now - and it involves an old friend

James Hetfield
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whether it's his championing of Swedish party metallers Ghost in their early days or his love of Norwegian blackened punks Kvelertak when they first broke into the metal scene, Metallica frontman James Hetfield has never been shy of letting people know when he's enjoying a new band.

In a new interview aired on Metallica's own podcast, The Metallica Report (as transcribed by Blabbermouth), Papa Het reveals that he has been digging the music of one of the newest heavy metal supergroups to hit the scene - as well as his joy at realising that the band featured an old friend of Metallica's in their ranks. 

 "As far as new music goes…let's see," he muses. "I flipped through Sirius a bunch. I mean, it's just so easy to go on to your playlist and listen to the same stuff over and over. And if I'm not listening to the radio of some sort where someone else is in control, I'm not learning new stuff so much. I don't like getting caught in that rabbit hole: 'If you like this, you might like this.' And then sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn't. That's a computer telling me what I might like. But listening to the radio, I guess the newest thing that I was surprised by and really made me smile was Category 7, a band that's kind of a collaboration of few people."

Category 7, formed only last year, features Armored Saint and former Anthrax singer John Bush, ex-Machine Head man and current Kerry King alumni Phil Demmel and members of Exodus, Adrenaline Mob and Shadows Fall. In the early 80s, John Bush was asked by Metallica to front the band in light of Hetfield still finding his feet as a singer - and Bush turned them down. Clearly, things worked out just fine for all parties involves, and Hetfield was delighted to hear his almost-bandmate's voice blasting across the airwaves.

"I was listening to it, I'm going, 'That voice is awesome. And it sounds very familiar,'" he continues. "It was fricking John Bush, our singer that we never got. And so John Bush is in a band with a few other well-known people out there, Phil Demmel from Machine Head, Exodus, a few other people in this band, kind of a, I don't know if it's a, whatever, supergroup of metal guys, but they all wanted to form a band and start playing. And [Metal Blade Records mogul] Brian Slagel has signed him. So I heard one song on the radio, and that's it. And it was great. It was really good. And I'm glad that John has kind of gone out on his own and done his own thing. And he was so, so, so tied to Armored Saint and then the Anthrax thing. Yeah, it's exciting."

Metallica are currently in the midst of the latest leg of their 72 Seasons world tour. The opening night of their current trek, which took place in Munich, Germany last month, made headlines when an incredible thunderstorm turned up and added some extra drama to a blistering Master Of Puppets

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.