The drumming community has not all been warm to Lars Ulrich in the recent years. He has met with a great deal of criticism, even ridicule. One drummer who has never said anything demeaning about the legendary Thrash Metal drummer is Mario Duplantier of the band Gojira. He has defended Lars on a number of occasions.
In 2021, he said in a Metal Hammer interview: “I was maybe 10 or 11 years old and my brother had received the ‘Metallica Live Shit: Binge & Purge’ video boxset for Christmas. We were sat watching it and I couldn’t take my eyes off of Lars – the way he was playing, the color of the drumheads, the movement… It was all so badass. Lars is a genius. If you listen to the first five Metallica albums, the drumming is so special, particularly the way he writes those patterns. Even now I think he’s the best showman drummer in the world. It’s not about the tempo or technicality – it’s something else. Nobody could imagine Metallica with another drummer.”
More recently, speaking to Downbeat Podcast with Stray From the Path’s Craig Reynolds, Duplantier said: “We need to bring some justice for him, because it’s not about moving tempo-wise. It’s what he created in the past. I’m a bit tired of seeing all this conversation about Lars because what he did create is quite unique. Listen to, fucking, …’And Justice for All’. It’s amazing. It’s very physical and what he brought to the table back in the day – you know, playing without shirts and doing all these faces, and standing up behind the kits – is almost more important than the rest. It’s the the personality on stage for me as a kid, I was just fascinated. It was not about the technique, you know? ‘Is it tight? Is he [playing great]?’ I didn’t care. I just saw someone behind the drums. A true personality.”