Watch: When Lars Ulrich Sang for Metallica While James Hetfield Played Drums

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With a career as vast as Metallica, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a position of neutrality when it comes to the band.

From their genre-defining thrash days and hard rocking stadium metal era all the way to whatever the fuck that was in the later half of the ‘90s and early aughts, they have touched on so many styles and become so ubiquitous that it demands an opinion. 

The same can be said for the band members themselves, both as musicians and people. Lars is a loudmouth with an impeccable double-kick, but his playing style and personality can be divisive.

He’s nothing short of a genius when it comes to musical arrangements and song structure. James is a stoic, haunted man who is responsible for many of the greatest metal riffs ever written. However you feel about his “Yeah!” vocal flourishes, his downpicking is tougher than any guitarist in polite society.

Kirk is a soft spoken Buddhist who loves the culture around horror movies and can rip a better solo than most people ever born. Robert is a jovial, big hearted goof who loves funk and just happens to be the best bass player in the world, metal or otherwise.

We know how great the guys in Metallica are in their respective fields, but how proficient would the members be in other roles within the band?

Here’s some footage of a drum-off between Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield. Although drums are far from Hetfield’s primary instrument, it’s interesting to know that as a child he sat behind the kit before he ever picked up a guitar. He also was the drummer in Metallica side project, Spastic Children.

A lighthearted drum-off is one thing, but could Lars ever fill James’ shoes as a vocalist. As it turns out, he probably can! In this video from a 1992 show in Los Angeles, the members of Metallica switch instruments for a wild rendition of the Diamond Head classic “Am I Evil?”

With a mic in his hand, Lars is completely within his element. He’s got a naturally strong voice and can unsurprisingly ham it up with the best in the game. Although Lars is about to have a heart attack at the end of the song, it’s clear that he could be great with the slightest bit of training.

What do you guys think? Is James a better drummer than Lars? Is Lars a better frontman than James? Sound off in the comments!

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