By Zachary Swickey
Two legendary forces of music – mega-selling metal band Metallica and The Velvet Underground’s enigmatic frontman Lou Reed – have quietly congregated at Metallica’s San Francisco studio to record a collaborative album. Rumors have been swirling for a while, and Metallica finally put them to rest with a statement confirming the effort on their website.
“A few months ago our own Kirk Hammet hinted at a new Metallica project that’s ‘not really 100 percent a Metallica record.’ While Kirk jumped the gun a little, we are more than proud to announce that we have just completed recording a full length album that is a collaboration with none other than the legendary Lou Reed.”
Currently untitled, the record will consist of 10 songs created by Reed with Metallica fulfilling arrangement duties. “I knew it from the first day we played together: ‘Oh, man, this is perfection, right in front of me.’” Reed told Rolling Stone. “They’re bringing Metallica, with all that power, and because they’re pretty sophisticated, wherever I go, they’re still with me.
Metallica giddily share Reed’s enthusiasm for the project: “I don’t think we’ve ever felt this free. There’s nothing that’s totally outside of the boundary for us.”
It all started back in October 2009, when Metallica joined Reed on two of his classic tunes for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 25th anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden. “We knew from then that we were made for each other,” Reed said. Initial plans were to craft an album from Reed’s older material, but he soon changed his mind, suggesting instead that they record a batch of tunes that he had written for a German theater production currently running in Berlin.
Metallica frontman James Hetfield was excited about the demos Reed provided. “It was scary at first, because the music was so open,” he said. “But then I thought, ‘This could go anywhere.’”
The album is already “90 percent” finished according to drummer Lars Ulrich. Tracks revealed include the seven-minute, speed-metal opus “Pumping Blood,” which was done in a single live take, as well as “Mistress Dread,” which showcases Reed’s vocals layered on an unmistakable riff from Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett.
Reed, who is currently without a record deal, and Metallica who have fulfilled their contract with Warner Bros, have yet to decide on when their musical collaboration will see the light of day, but in today’s evolving music industry, there is no telling what type of release the album will see.
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