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Metallica Play Full ‘Black Album’ For First Time Ever

Metallica / Photo by Anton Corbijn

Metallica might have just celebrated 30 years as a band with a handful of shows a few months ago, but times have changed since December, and now Metallica scoffs at your obsession with anniversaries. Scoffs! To prove it, Blabbermouth reports they just played the entirety of their eponymous 1991 album, better known as the “Black Album,” for the first time ever yesterday at their tour opener in Prague, Czech Republic. And drummer Lars Ulrich says he “quite likes the fact that, come [this] summer, it’ll be the 21st anniversary… not the 20th.”

Okay, so that’s not really the reason the band chose to whip out the entire iconic record (though Ulrich really did say that). In the fall, the band announced they would headline the U.K.’s Download festival, which goes down next month, for the eighth time, as part of their spring/summer European tour. Ulrich says Download’s organizers convinced the quartet to give European fans the live “Black Album” experience.

The Prague gig featured two never-before-played-live songs, “Don’t Tread on Me” and “The Struggle Within,” one of which Ulrich doesn’t really love. When SPIN recently asked him to name one Metallica song he’d like to take back, he named “Don’t Tread on Me.” Whether American fans at their eclectic Orion Fest at the end of June will receive the same treat remains unknown, but we wouldn’t rule it out. Metallica, it should be noted, is the best-selling CD since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991 (coincidentally, the same year the album was released). In the U.S. alone, it’s sold nearly 15.8 million copies. For that, on its 21st birthday, it deserves a drink or two.

The Inquisition: Metallica’s Lars Ulrich