“Their music means so much to us”: Metallica’s Kirk Hammett names the band he considers the “architects” of heavy metal

Metallica's Kirk Hammett
(Image credit: Javier Bragado/Redferns)

Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett has named Judas Priest as the “architects of what we now know as heavy metal”.

The 61-year-old made the comment as part of a Q&A in Munich, Germany, on May 25, where he was joined by bassist Robert Trujillo and longtime Metallica photographer Ross Halfin.

During the Q&A, a photo of Hammett and Metallica singer/co-guitarist James Hetfield watching Priest at the 2023 Indio, California festival Power Trip was projected behind them.

“We were worshipping at the altar of Judas Priest,” Hammett says when he sees the snapshot (as transcribed by Blabbermouth).

“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.”

Of the experience of getting to see Priest at Power Trip, Hammett continues: “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 [headliners Iron] Maiden, Priest, AC/DC [and] Guns ’N’ Roses, and actually seeing them. It was a wonderful time.”

Metallica are currently touring across Europe and will play their next shows at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark, on June 14 and 16.

The dates are part of the heavy metal superstars’ ongoing ‘no repeat weekends’ format, where they play two sets at the same venue with totally different setlists.

For the full list of Metallica’s 2024 tour dates and to buy tickets, see below.

Metallica 2024 tour dates:

Jun 14: Copenhagen Parken Stadium, Denmark
Jun 16: Copenhagen Parken Stadium, Denmark
Jun 26: Oslo Tons Of Rock Festival, Norway
Jun 29: Clisson Hellfest, France
Jul 05: Warsaw PGE Narodowy, Poland
Jul 07: Warsaw PGE Narodowy, Poland
Jul 12: Madrid Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Spain
Jul 14: Madrid Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Spain

Aug 02: Foxborough Gillette Stadium, MA, USA
Aug 04: Foxborough Gillette Stadium, MA, USA
Aug 09: Chicago Soldier Field, IL, USA
Aug 11: Chicago Soldier Field, IL, USA
Aug 16: Minneapolis US Bank Stadium, MN, USA
Aug 18: Minneapolis US Bank Stadium, MN, USA
Aug 23: Edmonton Commonwealth Stadium, Canada
Aug 25: Edmonton Commonwealth Stadium, Canada
Aug 30: Seattle Lumen Field, WA, USA
Sep 01: Seattle Lumen Field, WA, USA
Sep 20: Mexico City Foro Sol, Mexico
Sep 22: Mexico City Foro Sol, Mexico
Sep 27: Mexico City Foro Sol, Mexico
Sep 29: Mexico City Foro Sol, Mexico

Get tickets.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.