Lou insists album with thrash giants is “marriage made in heaven” – they say it’s made them a better band

Metallica and Lou Reed

Happy marriage: Reed and Metallica

Lou Reed insists his collaboration with Metallica is “a marriage made in heaven” – and the thrash giants claim the experience has made them a better band.

Fans were astonished yesterday when the “secret project” guitarist Kirk Hammett had alluded to turned out to be a ten-track album made with art-rock icon Reed, 69.

But amid accusations of the work being a “rich man’s folly” and time wasted when they could have recorded a follow-up to 2008′s Death Magnetic, drummer Lars Ulrich insists it’s a valuable project.

He tells Rolling Stone: “I don’t think we’ve ever felt this free. There’s nothing that’s totally outside the boundary for us. The strength of us with Lou makes us feel like we can’t land in a wrong place.”

Reed met Metallica at the 25th anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concet in New York in 2009, when they backed him for two tracks. He says: “I knew from the first day we played together: ‘Oh, man, this is perfection right in front of me. It’s a marriage made in heaven.

“They’re bringing Metallica with all that power. And because they’re pretty sophisticated, wherever I go they’re still with me.”

But guitarist Hammett denies the band have been cast in the role of Reed’s backing band: “It doesn’t feel like that. It feels like we’re a different band in a situation we’ve never been before – and it’s making us a better band.”

Two track names have been revealed: Pumping Blood and Mistress Dread. Frontman James Hetfield reports: “Lars and I listened to Lou’s demos and it was like, ‘Wow, this is very different.’ It was scary at first because the music was so open. Then I thought, ‘This could go anywhere.’

“I told Lou I want to be there when people hear it. I want to see their faces.”

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