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Metallica Have Recorded an Album With Lou Reed

By June 16, 2011

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Because Metallica take so long between studio albums, there was little thought that the metal veterans would have their follow-up to 2008's Death Magnetic any time soon. But in November, drummer Lars Ulrich said in an interview that a new disc could come our way by the end of 2011, which would be an impressive turnaround for a band that like to take their sweet time writing and recording material. This week, we learned that a new Metallica record will indeed be coming soon -- although it's not clear if it will come out in 2011. Oh, and it's not exactly a Metallica record, either.

On the Metallica website yesterday, the group posted the news that they've written a record with Lou Reed, the iconic singer and songwriter of the legendary underground '60s band the Velvet Underground. "Ever since we had the pleasure of performing with Lou at the 25th Anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at Madison Square Garden in October of 2009," the post read, "we have been kicking around the idea of making a record together." Apparently, Reed went to San Francisco, Metallica's base of operations, and worked with the group over the last several months, finishing up the project last week.

Metallica offered few details about this unique collaboration. The album consists of 10 songs, although it's unclear if Reed or Metallica frontman James Hetfield sings lead vocals or if they trade off or if Metallica serve as Reed's backup band.

As the post mentions, this news is not entirely out of the blue. Back in February, Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett told Rolling Stone that the band members were working on something that's "not really 100 percent a Metallica record. It's a recording project, let's put it that way. Without getting too deep into it, it's more a recording project than a bona fide Metallica album." This Lou Reed collaboration is that recording project. We still don't know when it's coming, but it has to rank with the most unusual full-length musical pairings in rock history. Reed has collaborated with artists as different as the Killers and Gorillaz, but those were for single tracks. To be sure, Reed's post-Velvets solo career has been marked by radical sonic shifts, whether it was 1975's all-feedback Metal Machine Music or his more recent albums about domestic bliss such as Set the Twilight Reeling and Ecstasy. But as adventurous as Reed is, I doubt many people would have bet he'd be making a record with Metallica in 2011.

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Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

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