This is a historic occasion. On a recent afternoon in their studio north of San Francisco, Metallica are playing the whole of their biggest album, 1991's Metallica, a.k.a. the Black Album, in sequence for the first time. They are also playing it backward, starting with the emotionally wracked finale, "The Struggle Within," and ending with the exultant menace of "Enter Sandman." "It doesn't say anywhere that if you play an album in its entirety, you have to play it front to back," drummer Lars Ulrich contends.
Ulrich, singer-guitarist James Hetfield, guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo will perform the Black Album at their Orion Music + More festival, to be held June 23rd-24th in Atlantic City. They'll also stomp through 1984's Ride the Lightning, another first. As the members explain in these interviews, before and after practice, this is a summer of firsts. An eight-show run in Mexico City will feature an extravagant new stage that is a component of the 3D movie Metallica are developing with director Nimród Antal. And with Orion Music + More, Metallica are launching a personalized twist on the festival experience. Ulrich is programming a film tent; Hammett is the host of Kirk's Crypt, devoted to his collection of horror-movie memorabilia. Everyone in the band had a loud say in the wide range of acts on the rest of the bill.
"Do your festival, do your movie – it's all so cool," Ulrich raves. "Variety is the spice of life."
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