Lars Ulrich said that Metallica could be guilty of changing their style “almost too much” in the past, as he explained the thought process behind the move from their fourth LP, …And Justice for All, to 1991's follow-up Metallica (known as the Black Album).

“We felt that we had pushed the progressive side of Metallica,” Ulrich said in a recent interview after receiving the Polar Music Prize.

“The last song on the … And Justice For All album was a song called ‘Dyers Eve,’ which is five minutes of, basically, what we jokingly call ‘math metal.’ So we found, as we were going along on that tour, as the audiences became bigger and bigger, that some of the crazier, 10-minute progressive songs felt like they were connecting less and less with the audience. And we felt that we had, from a creative point of view, pushed … Where do you go after 'Dyers Eve'? It's, like, you have reached the end of that — there's nothing beyond that. … We creatively wanted to take a turn.”

You can watch the interview below.

“We've always felt like we've been on a creative journey that always needs to be reinvigorated, reinvented," Ulrich noted. "And I think we, as people, have a fear of repetition or fear of being stuck. And maybe even to the point where you could argue that we fight it too much. I think we may have made a couple of turns at some point that were almost too much, just because we don't wanna be fucking trapped in what people want from us, what the community expects from us. And we are so fiercely independent and autonomous, and nobody's gonna hold us back, and we're just gonna keep changing it up all the time.”

Underlining his belief that “a natural progressive growth” had ended with Justice, he added that “the only place forward, other than repeating yourself or getting stuck in that moment, was to do something completely different, and that's what we did for the next couple of years.”

Metallica begin a new North American tour on Sept. 2, running through March 13 next year.