Fans suggest Metallica fixed Lars Ulrich’s drumming for the official audio of their Download set

The official audio for the band’s performance of One shows Lars nailing the 16th-note triplet kick drum hits in the song’s break, but fan-shot footage tells a different story…

Metallica recently released official footage from their 10 June headline set at Download Festival. And while it shows the thrash titans in their usual ultra-tight form, some fans have suggested there might be some trickery going on.

The raised eyebrows have come specifically as a result of the band’s performance video of One, which was the penultimate track on their set, before Enter Sandman. Some fans have suggested that Lars Ulrich’s famous 16th-note triplet double kick part in the song’s break has been replaced entirely in post.

In the clip above – from the 5:35 mark – as James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo’s guitar and bass parts drop out prior to the launch into the break section, Lars’s drumming is put into focus, and on face value, it sounds like he hits those machine gun-style kick drum blasts with laser precision.

But as some have highlighted from fan-shot footage of the exact same performance, what Lars really played was very different, and much less precise. Listen to the clip below from the 5:25, for example. You can hear that Lars isn’t playing the rapid 16th note triplet kick drum hits he should be, but is instead playing a mixture of 8th notes and a couple of off-beat flams.

Some fans have tried to explain Lars’s performance, suggesting that either the mic for one his kick drums was not working, or that that the audience was only hearing one kick.

As MusicRadar points out, this is unlikely, because if that were the case, we’d be hearing essentially half of the 16th-note triplet double kick phrase, which we’re not.

UK air guitar champion Sven “Sven Spandex” Smith says he was there, and compares the two clips of audio in a new Instagram post. “A few weeks ago I saw Metallica at Download twice,” he says. “And Lars’s drumming was interesting, to say the least. Metallica have just released the live footage from the festival, but the only thing is, it’s not live – his drumming is completely faked.” Smith concludes, however: “I was so much fun, though, I’m not gonna lie. I loved it.”

It’s not uncommon for band’s to tweak and polish their live performances when release official live audio – either with overdubs or re-recorded parts, but the difference here is pretty stark, so it’s not surprising fans have flagged it.

Of, course, none of this really matters. Metallica’s music is demanding, and they’ve played quite literally thousands of shows over the course of their career. They’re humans at the end of the day, and everyone can be forgiven for having an off night. Besides, it didn’t look like the tens of thousands of fans in attendance were bothered one bit about Lars’s slip up.

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