Print Edition - 2018-02-15  |  Life & Style

Metallica to get music’s ‘Nobel Prize’

- BBC, Los Angeles

Feb 15, 2018-

Heavy metal pioneers Metallica are being honoured with Sweden’s Polar Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in music. The band, best known for 1991’s Black Album, redefined the sound of metal with a tougher, faster and more abrasive take on rock.

Polar Prize organisers said the US band could transform “a teenage bedroom into a Valhalla”. Metallica will receive their £90,000 prize in Stockholm this June.

They’re the first metal band to win the award, which has previously gone to the likes of Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Chuck Berry and BB King. “It puts us in very distinguished company,” said drummer Lars Ulrich of the award. “It’s a great validation of everything that Metallica has done over the last 35 years. At the same time, we feel like we’re in our prime with a lot of good years ahead of us.”

Vocalist and guitarist James Hetfield added: “As myself and as Metallica I’m grateful to have this as part of our legacy, our history.”

Formed in California, Metallica are one of the world’s biggest bands, selling more than 125 million albums over the last 30 years.

Their first four albums—Kill ‘Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and And Justice for All—are all considered classics, but it was the Black Album that pushed them into the mainstream, producing the hit singles and set list staples Enter Sandman and Nothing Else Matters.

While their reputation for sweaty, muscular rock music is well-earned, they’ve stretched their wings over the years, recording a live album with the San Francisco Symphony and a critically-mauled collaboration with Lou Reed. Along the way, they’ve faced several devastating challenges, not least the death of bassist Cliff Burton in a tour bus crash in 1986.

In 2004, the band released a documentary, Some Kind of Monster, that exposed deep tensions in the band—notably between Ulrich and Hetfield—which were resolved by bringing in a performance coach to help them work on their communication skills. They’ll receive their 1 million kronor prize in the presence of the Swedish Royal family on June 14.

At the same time, the Afghanistan National Institute Of Music and its founder Dr Ahmad Sarmast will receive the Polar Prize for classical music.

Published: 15-02-2018 08:33

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