In conversation with Classic Rock Magazine (opens in new tab), Hammett has opened up about his friendship with Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain and the impact he thinks a record like The Black Album had in turning the mainstream on to more alternative sounds – and thus priming Nirvana for their phenomenal success.
"Kurt Cobain came to one of our shows in Seattle, on the Black Album tour," he tells Classic Rock's Dave Everley. "I knew Kurt kind of well, and I hung out with him quite a bit. He was a pretty big Metallica fan. I was surprised at how much of a Metallica fan he was.
"Rock radio embracing our sound – our heaviness – helped the whole grunge thing take hold. Not long after the Black Album came out, Nirvana put out Nevermind. I like to think we had something to do with the acceptance of Nirvana."
Speaking on the legacy of the album more broadly, Hammett says: “It’s a cultural force in itself. As much as modern culture changes and morphs, there’s something within that album that continues to resonate around the world.
"And I mean the world, because it’s big everywhere.”
The new issue of Classic Rock, which celebrates 30 years of the seminal album with new interviews and insights, is on sale now (opens in new tab).
The Black Album’s legacy is also to be celebrated by a new reissue. As well as collecting together countless early demos and rehearsal tapes, it’s accompanied by The Metallica Blacklist, a 53-track all-star covers album comprising versions of Black Album songs by everyone from Ghost, Volbeat and Biffy Clyro to Miley Cyrus. Metallica Remastered and The Metallica Blacklist are out on September 10 via Blackened Recordings.