Flemming Rasmussen, the producer that worked his magic on three of the great Metallica albums, 1984’s Ride The Lightning, 1986’s Master of Puppets and 1988’s …And Justice for All, has reflected on the recording sessions for the band’s second studio album.

In a recent interview with Metal Hammer, the producer virtuoso delved into the recording process of the album, admitting that Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich always had a problem keeping a consistent tempo.

“I thought he was absolutely useless,” Rasmussen revealed. “The very first thing I asked when he started playing was, ‘Does everything start on an upbeat?’ And he went, ‘What’s an upbeat?’

“We started telling him about beats. That they have to be an equal length of time between that hit, that hit, and that hit, and you have to be able to count to four before you come in again.

“Then he could play a really good fill that nobody else had thought of doing at that time.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Rasmussen delved into the band’s decision to use a literal anvil during the recording of their odyssey ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’.

The producer revealed that the track was the only song from the album that hadn’t been fully arranged. After fiddling around with the track, the band decided to record the bell sound with an anvil and a metal bar.

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“We put it on a backstairs when we recorded it,” Rasmussen shared. “That was ridiculous – it weighed a ton. But Lars hit it and it sounded really good. That was before samplers, so we had to make our own sounds.”

Check out ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ by Metallica:

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“We really didn’t see it coming,” revealed bassist Robert Trujillo. “James seemed like he was fine, but then you look back and you try to analyze the situation over time and see where there were red flags.“Being on the road can be very challenging, and I would imagine for James, to get up there in front of all those people and have to be ‘on,’ meanwhile your family’s not with you and all these things are going on, it builds up.”

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