Kerry King is notoriously not one to hold back his thoughts. If he doesn’t like something or someone, he’s the kind of dude that’s going to lay it all out there on the table for the world to see or hear. But for reasons we’re not quite sure of, Kerry King sure had it out for the boys in Metallica in the immediate years after the Black Album blew up. To be clear, King himself was a fan of that specific album, stating in 2021 that:
“I may not have been super-stoked on it, but I never hated it the way a lot of people did. To this day, I like that record a lot. I think it’s Metallica but I don’t think it’s thrash Metallica. There was so much grief over that when it came out. And to be honest with you, everything that came out after that for a long time, that’s what I have a problem with. But The Black Album? It’s still heavy. It’s got some fast stuff on it.”
Diving back for some more context around his post-Black Album hatred, we find exhibit A in this G4 interview that Kerry gave in the early 2000’s. The interviewer gets right to it and asks Kerry about a recent comment he made in a previous interview where he called Metallica a “sinking ship now.” Kerry responded:
“To me, I mean, I’m not just talking smack on Metallica just to do it, but realistically, what band is it, you know? Are you the band that did the first five records or the band that did all that crap since then? I think in doing those questionable records they – number one lost the fire, or… forgot how to write stuff because St. Anger was supposed to be, you know, the return, and that was garbage you know? I mean, I played it once and I threw it out the window.”
When Metallica‘s polarizing documentary, ‘Some Kind of Monster’, dropped in 2004, King went in on the offensive again, telling Norway’s NRK P3TV that “I used to admire Metallica and I don’t wanna see them going to fucking therapy. I mean, that’s fucking… keep it in the band, man.” He goes on: “I won’t watch that movie [‘Some Kind of Monster’], because I don’t want to think of them like that. I wanna think of fucking ‘Battery’ and ‘Damage Inc.’ and ‘Ride the Lightning’. I don’t wanna see these fragile fucking old men that can’t have a cocktail anymore because they’re afraid of what they’ll become. Fuck that!”
Hetfield, to his credit, acknowledged and responded to King’s comments in a pretty adult way. Here was his reaction:
This wasn’t the first video of Hetfield (and crew) responding to Metallica jabs. This video from the 1995 documentary, ‘A Week and a Half in the Life of Metallica,’ shows the guys’ reactions to Kerry King saying that Kirk Hammett was essentially a terrible guitarist:
Who really knows for sure what caused the Metallica-directed vitriol from Kerry. Overall jealousy? A specific personal incident or strings of incidents? Perhaps some or all. Thankfully, though, it seems that the drama (at least publicly) has subsided in current times.