It's been a banner year for Metallica with the upcoming release of the long-anticipated Hardwired... To Self-Destruct, the 30th anniversary of Master of Puppets and the recent 25th anniversary of the eponymous record, typically referred to as the 'Black Album.' Drummer Lars Ulrich reflected on the overwhelming and sustained success of the self-titled record on the Pop Shop Podcast by Billboard.

"When I look back on it, it wasn't like we woke up one day and all of a sudden we were just like right in the thick of it," Ulrich began (transcription via Blabbermouth). "It was our fifth record, and it felt like the path we were on was sort of… each record got a little more successful than the previous one and the touring got bigger and we got more in the limelight and both the good and the bad that comes with that. But it was still a process that, by the time we got to the 'black' album, we were ten years into our career."

He went on to explain how acts like Guns N' Roses, Pearl Jam and Nirvana exploded onto the scene and had to deal with the sudden reality of immediate rock super stardom.

Returning to Metallica, Ulrich said, "We knew when we were making the record that there was certainly kind of an alignment of the planets or the stars, or whatever you say." Focusing on shorter songs after taking the progressive experimentation to its peak on ...And Justice for All, Metallica were also aided by the guiding hand of producer Bob Rock and a shift in what MTV was playing. "It all sort of lined up," the sticksman reiterated.

Describing how he doesn't feel Metallica sold out or "artificially [altered] the path" the band was on, Ulrich also mentioned, "We felt that MTV… We felt that the mainstream was moving out towards where we were. We always considered ourselves to be sort of autonomous and obviously very left of center and living in our own little bubble and the more successful we got, the more the mainstream sort of opened up to who we were and came to us and we felt that the mainstream was embracing us out in our position, in the left of centerfield, rather than us abandoning who we were and going and meeting MTV at the center of their universe."

"I think you file that one under 'mindf--k,'" Ulrich stated when positioned with the fact that the record is the biggest selling album in the U.S. over the last quarter century. The 'Black Album' regularly moves roughly 5,000 copies each week with over 16 million units sold since 1991.

While the year has brought a lot of reflection, all eyes are on the future with Metallica set to drop Hardwired... To Self-Destruct on Nov. 18. The band also released "Hardwired," the opening track off the 80 minute, double album, which has seen many fans hail the song as a return to their classic thrash days.

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