Watch Metallica Perform Psychedelic National Anthem at NBA Finals - Rolling Stone
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Watch Metallica Perform Psychedelic National Anthem at NBA Finals

James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett delivered wah-wah-heavy, harmonized version of “The Star Spangled Banner” before Game Five on Sunday

Metallica‘s James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett have developed a new live staple: their psychedelic version of “The Star Spangled Banner.” The metal axemen performed their dual-guitar anthem before tip-off of Sunday night’s NBA Finals Game Five match-up between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Hammett handles the iconic main melody, with Hetfield switching between harmonized leads and chords. It’s a flawless performance – and the duo were well-rehearsed, having unleashed their heavy rendition earlier this month at the X Games in Austin, Texas. Last week, the band posted live footage of their thrash-metal classic “Whiplash,” along with a behind-the-scenes X Games clip that features Hetfield goofing around and improvising riffs.  

Metallica recorded their 14-track Austin set – including classics like “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “One” and “Enter Sandman” – and are selling digital copies of the performance at the Live Metallica website. In a joint effort with ESPN and Circuit for the Americas to assist victims of recent flooding, the band is donating all proceeds to the Central Texas Red Cross. All versions of the show – including MP3, FLAC, Apple Lossless and HD – cost $5 through July 15th.

The Bay Area band are known for supporting their local sports teams. For the past three years, they’ve made appearances at the San Francisco Giants’ “Metallica Day,” where the guitarists have opened with their Hendrix-esque version of the National Anthem. The group has also participated in a “Metallica Night” with hockey team the San Jose Sharks.

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