Metallica's Lars Ulrich: My 15 Favorite Metal and Hard Rock Albums

Drummer goes deep on classics ranging from AC/DC's 'Let There Be Rock' to System of a Down's 'Toxicity'

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Alice in Chains, 'Dirt' (1992)
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Alice in Chains, 'Dirt' (1992)

I was first introduced to Alice in Chains when the first one came out in the summer of '90. We were in L.A., recording the Black Album, and we used to see them around town at all the bars and clubs. They were super cool guys – young, easy, fun, a little kooky. I couldn't wrap my head around how they had long underwear on under their shirts. They had a whole different look we'd never seen before with flannel shirts and it was cool. And their music was just so fucking heavy and had so much attitude.

Then when Dirt came out, what, two years later, it was such a dark, deep record. At that time, we hadn't been around a lot of drug abuse at that level; we'd just drink a lot and most of the stuff we did was in more of a social and party-like atmosphere. We were not super familiar with the whole drug culture, which was hidden in closets and hotel rooms. The guys who were really into the heavy drugs stuff weren't very social, so I didn't quite connect the dots in the beginning with this record. I didn't understand all the drug references but as I started obviously getting to know the guys better and understand the records better, the lyrical heaviness of the record hit me.

It's just an incredibly deep, dark record. Obviously, "Rooster" is this incredible, beautiful song. I didn't know if it was about Jerry's dad or what. But "Rain When I Die" and "Dam That River" and all that were super heavy, short songs that were great. It's crazy. It was probably one of the one or two records from '92 that I listened to the most.

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