Metallica's Lars Ulrich says Black Album success is 'bizarre'

Lars Ulrich
Lars Ulrich (Image credit: Getty)

Lars Ulrich says the long-lasting success of Metallica’s 1991 self-titled album is a “mindfuck.”

The metal titans’ seminal fifth record, also known as the Black Album, is the best-selling album in the US for the last 25 years, according to Billboard. It has sold 16.4 million copies since its launch and, having spent more than 390 weeks in the Billboard Top 200, is the longest-charting record since the tally began using Nielsen Data.

When asked what he thinks about their record-breaking success in the States, Ulrich tells Billboard: “I think you file that one under ‘mindfuck.’ There’s so many inherently bizarre things about that sentence or that fact that I don’t even know where to begin.

“It’s pretty amazing that 5000 people still buy this record every week in the US. I’d like to meet, No. 3267 last week. Who is that person? Did you not own it? Are you just replacing your old copy? Did it just show up on your radar?”

He adds: “I’m not knocking it, and I think it’s awesome. Numbers like that are just so weirdly abstract to me.”

Admitting that Metallica have always considered themselves “outsiders,” Ulrich says focusing on family life and living in San Francisco’s Bay Area keeps the band down-to-earth – and that the achievement means less to him as he “gets older.”

He continues: “We don’t get caught up in everything that happens in New York and in Los Angeles. I think there’s something about the Bay Area that keeps our feet on the ground, and we still have a pretty decent sense of reality. We force ourselves to prioritise our families and have as normal a life as you get up in San Francisco. We’re happy and proud of the choices that we’ve made.

“I’m not a big guy in terms of all that ‘being No. 1’ or winning or any of that kind of nonsense – it means less and less to me as I get older. But, obviously, it’s a pretty cool thing to have in your arsenal, or in your list of statistics.

“It’s nice to have a record like that in your catalogue and it’s nice to be part of continuing to make a difference in people’s lives. I think the kids are really proud of it, so it’s all pretty cool.”

Metallica’s 10th album Hardwired…To Self-Destruct will be released on November 18.

Hardwired... To Self Destruct artwork

Hardwired... To Self Destruct artwork

Metallica: Hardwired… To Self-Destruct tracklist

Disc 1

  1. Hardwired
  2. Atlas, Rise!
  3. Now That We’re Dead
  4. Moth Into Flame
  5. Am I Savage?
  6. Halo On Fire

Disc 2

  1. Confusion
  2. Dream No More
  3. ManUNkind
  4. Here Comes Revenge
  5. Murder One
  6. Spit Out The Bone

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Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.