Lars Ulrich has come to the defence of the universally-scorched snare sound on Metallica’s 2003 record, St. Anger.
Upon its release, the record was met with a polarizing (albeit mostly disappointed) reaction. With fans and critics left high and dry with a lack of guitar solos, the presence of no official bass player, a perceived changed in direction and Lars Ulrich’s now-infamous tepid drum sound.
In an interview with SiriusXM’s Eddie Trunk on Wednesday, July 29th, Lars Ulrich was asked about the ever-divisive record and the controversial snare sound.
“I stand behind it 100% because, at that moment, that was the truth,” he said. “Just my personality, I’m always just looking ahead, always thinking about the next thing.
“That’s just how I’m wired,” he continued. “Whether it’s Metallica always thinking ahead, or in my personal life, or in relationships, whatever I’m doing — I’m just always thinking ahead. Sometimes, arguably, I spent too much time in the future, but I rarely spend any time in the past. And so the only time this stuff really comes up is in interviews.”
Lars continued to delve into the relationship he has with the record, “I hear St. Anger. That’s a pummelling and a half, and there’s a lot of incredible, raw energy, and it’s, like, ‘Woah!’
“It’s been slapped around a little bit. But the snare thing, it was like a super-impulsive, momentary… We were working on a riff. [James] Hetfield was playing a riff in the control room. And I ran up. I was, like, ‘I need to put a beat behind that.’ I ran into the tracking room and sat down and played a couple of beats over this riff to not lose the energy of the moment, and I forgot to turn the snare on.
Ulrich continued: “And then we were listening back to it, and I was, like, ‘Wow! That sound kind of fits that riff, and it sounds weirdly odd and kind of cool.’ And then I just kind of left the snare off for the rest of the sessions, more or less. And then it was, like, ‘Yeah, that’s cool. That’s different. That’ll fuck some people up. That sounds like that’s part of the pummeling,’ or whatever.
“And then it becomes this huge, debated thing. And sometimes we’ll kind of sit on the sidelines and go, like, ‘Holy shit! We didn’t see that one coming,’ in terms of the issue that it turns into.”