The Top 10 Albums Lars Ulrich Picked As His Favorites Of All Time

The Top 10 Albums Lars Ulrich Picked As His Favorites Of All Time

Lars Ulrich has solidified his place as a true icon in the world of rock with his tireless work ethic and ability to influence countless aspiring musicians. He has been named one of the greatest drummers in rock. In this article, we will take a look at the albums that Lars Ulrich picked as his favorites and how the albums influenced him day by day.

Ulrich‘s journey into the world of music began at a young age. Inspired by his father, a professional tennis player, Lars Ulrich initially pursued a career in the sport. However, his passion for music soon took over, leading him to pick up the drums and embark on a remarkable musical journey that would shape the face of heavy metal.

The drummer’s unyielding work ethic, however, has played a pivotal role in Metallica‘s enduring success. Known for his meticulous attention to detail and relentless pursuit of perfection, Ulrich has pushed himself and his bandmates to new heights. Countless hours spent in the rehearsal room, fine-tuning compositions and endlessly honing their craft have been the driving force behind Metallica‘s groundbreaking albums, which have garnered both critical acclaim and commercial success.

Renowned for his powerful and dynamic playing style, Ulrich‘s drumming is characterized by an intricate combination of speed, precision, and sheer intensity. His thunderous double-bass pedal work, lightning-fast fills, and relentless energy behind the kit have become hallmarks of Metallica‘s signature sound. The musician’s drumming prowess can be heard in iconic tracks such as Master of PuppetsOne, and Enter Sandman, where his rhythmic backbone forms the foundation of the band’s colossal sound.

So, let’s see which albums Lars Ulrich named his favorites of all time.

The 10 Albums Lars Ulrich Named His Favorites Ever

As Lars Ulrich continues to inspire and ignite the imaginations of musicians and fans alike, his legacy as the driving force behind Metallica‘s thunderous sound and unwavering determination will undoubtedly resonate for generations to come. In 2017, Lars Ulrich appeared on Rolling Stone magazine to reveal his favorite albums, saying, “For each artist that’s part of my ultimate metal or hard-rock albums, I went for what you would call the definitive moment in their catalogue.”

However, it is time to see Lars Ulrich’s favorite albums in rock.

#10. UFO – Strangers In The Night

image: Pinterest

Recorded during UFO‘s Lights Out and Obsession tours in 1978, Strangers in the Night exudes an electric atmosphere that immerses listeners in the heart of a UFO concert experience. The album boasts a collection of live recordings from various venues across the United States, skillfully mixed and mastered to capture the band’s unparalleled onstage prowess.

From the opening notes of Natural Thing to the closing anthem of Doctor Doctor, the album takes listeners on a rollercoaster ride through UFO’s finest moments. One of the standout features of Strangers in the Night is the band’s ability to capture the essence of their live performances without sacrificing sonic quality. The album strikes a perfect balance, presenting a live show’s raw energy and spontaneity while maintaining a crystal-clear production that allows each instrument to shine.


Upon its release, Strangers in the Night was met with critical acclaim and cemented UFO’s status as one of the premier live acts of the era. The album not only solidified their fanbase but also attracted a new wave of listeners who were captivated by the band’s electrifying sound.

To explain why did Lars Ulrich pick the album as one of his favorites, he said: “This is almost the definitive hard-rock live album. With a lot of the bands in the Seventies, the introduction to them for me was through the live album.”

#9. Rage Against the Machine – The Battle of Los Angeles

Rage Against The Machine band
Rage Against The Machine band photo – image: Facebook

Released on November 2, 1999, The Battle of Los Angeles stands as a defiant and explosive political statement by the American rock band, Rage Against the Machine. With their trademark fusion of heavy metal, funk, and rap, this album became a rallying cry for social justice and an embodiment of the band’s unyielding commitment to challenging systemic oppression.

The Battle of Los Angeles arrives three years after the band’s highly successful album, Evil Empire, and builds upon their reputation for unapologetic activism and explosive musicality. From the opening track, Testify, to the closing anthem, War Within a Breath, Rage Against the Machine delivers an unrelenting onslaught of furious guitar riffs, energetic bass lines, and politically charged lyrics that demand attention.


Lars Ulrich praised Rage Against The Machine by touching on the album, saying: “‘The Battle of Los Angeles’ just sounds so fucking authentic. There’s no filter. It feels so instinctive, impulsive and from the gut.”

In 2020, Lars Ulrich admitted the album that he listened to the most in the year was Rage Against The Machine album. He sent praising words to the band.

“The first Rage Against the Machine album,” Lars says. “From my worldview, there’s nothing that seems to put things more in perspective than Rage Against the Machine. The music, themes, lyrics, delivery – everything seems to be so spot-on and relevant to the daily craziness that shows up whenever you unlock your device. I think it’s the perfect soundtrack to the 2020.”

#8. Diamond Head – Lightning To The Nations

Lars Ulrich's favorite Diamond Head album, Lightning To The Nations
Lars Ulrich’s favorite Diamond Head album, Lightning To The Nations – image: Getty

In the vast landscape of heavy metal, some albums become pillars of influence, quietly shaping the course of the genre. Released in 1980, Diamond Head’s seminal record, Lightning to the Nations, is among these records. It was a melodic intricacy of the genre but also laid the foundation for the thrash metal movement that would come to define the 1980s.


Despite its initial limited release, Lightning to the Nations became a seminal influence on the burgeoning thrash metal scene, shaping the sound of bands like Metallica and Megadeth. The album’s impact can be felt in the fast-paced riffing, intricate song structures, and fearless exploration of heavy metal’s boundaries that would come to define the thrash metal movement. Diamond Head‘s innovative approach to songwriting and its dedication to pushing the limits of the genre laid the groundwork for a new era of metal music.

Lars Ulrich confirmed Diamond Head‘s influencing both himself and his band Metallica.

“If you’re gonna say, ‘Name one record that’s the blueprint for Metallica’s sound,’ this is it,” he said. “I’ve said that a thousand times; I’ve said it 10,000 times.”

#7. Motörhead – Overkill

Motörhead band photo – image: Redferns/Getty

Overkill kicks off with its eponymous track, a relentless onslaught of distorted guitars, lightening drums, and the distinct raspy vocals of frontman Lemmy Kilmister. This opening salvo sets the tone for the entire album, showcasing Motörhead‘s signature sound—a potent fusion of heavy metal and punk rock, fueled by an unrelenting energy that leaves listeners breathless.

From the breakneck speed of tracks like Stay Clean and Metropolis to the infectious grooves of No Class and Damage Case, the album showcases Motörhead’s versatility within the speed metal genre. The band’s ability to seamlessly blend frenetic tempos with infectious hooks and memorable melodies sets them apart, cementing their status as a force to be reckoned with in the heavy music scene.

Beyond its musical prowess, Overkill also boasts a production that captures the raw energy and intensity of Motörhead‘s live performances. The album’s raw and unpolished sound, expertly captured by producer Jimmy Miller, contributes to its timeless appeal and authenticity. It feels as if the band is performing right in front of you, commanding the stage with their unbridled power.


Lars Ulrich recalled his first hearing Motörhead band and praised them over their sound. According to him, the album blew his mind.

“I started hearing about Motörhead in the spring of 1979,” he says. “I was in Copenhagen, Denmark, and I went down through the local record store. And I asked if I could hear a couple songs from this Motörhead band, and then the double-bass drumming of Phil Taylor started the song ‘Overkill.’ I had never heard anything that sounded like that. It blew my head off.”

In December 2022, Lars Ulrich also revealed why he thought Motörhead was an important band, telling Classic Rock: “The one thing that was different about Motörhead was that they united people from all these different genres.”

#6. Judas Priest – Unleashed in the East

The Judas Priest album that Lars Ulrich picked as one of his favorites, Unleashed In The East
The Judas Priest album that Lars Ulrich picked as one of his favorites, Unleashed In The East – image: Justin Borucki

Judas Priest released Unleashed in the East in 1979. Recorded during their 1979 tour of Japan, Unleashed in the East immortalizes Judas Priest‘s explosive live performances in front of an adoring audience. From the opening notes of Exciter to the closing crescendo of Genocide, the album propels listeners into a sonic realm where heavy metal reigns supreme.

Rob Halford‘s soaring vocals command attention, effortlessly shifting from haunting whispers to piercing screams with unrivaled precision. The dual guitar attack of K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton delivers blistering solos and razor-sharp riffs. At the same time, Ian Hill’s booming bass lines and Les Binks’s powerhouse drumming provide the foundation for the band’s iconic sound.


Unleashed in the East features stunning renditions of Judas Priest’s classic hits, including Victim of Changes, Diamonds and Rust, and The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown). Each track exemplifies the band’s ability to seamlessly blend intricate melodies, heavy riffs, and anthemic choruses into a potent musical concoction that captivates listeners.

According to Lars Ulrich, Victim of Changes was one of the great songs taken from the album: “There’s a lot of deep cuts on it from ‘Sad Wings of Destiny.’ Obviously, there’s the legendary ‘Victim of Changes.’ It’s just the energy and the chugging riffs and down-picking.”

#5. Deep Purple – Made in Japan

image: Pinterest

Lars Ulrich also named Made In Japan by Deep Purple one of his favorite albums in rock music. The album was released in 1972 and is widely named one of the pioneering albums in the genre.

The virtuosity of each band member shines throughout the album. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore‘s lightning-fast solos and mesmerizing riffs leave a lasting impression, while Jon Lord’s keyboard wizardry adds depth and texture to the band’s sound. Ian Paice’s drumming precisely drives the rhythm section, and Ian Gillan’s soaring vocals captivate audiences, showcasing his remarkable range and dynamic power.


Moreover, Made in Japan also broke new ground regarding production quality. The album’s exceptional sound engineering makes each instrument heard with pristine clarity, capturing the dynamic interplay between band members. The result is a recording that captures the intensity of a live performance and offers a level of sonic fidelity previously unseen in the genre.

Lars Ulrich discloses his admiration for Deep Purple‘s Made In Japan by saying: “‘Made in Japan’ is the first record from Deep Purple that I had my hands on, and I got to know all the songs.”

In May 2023, Lars Ulrich admitted during his appearance on Louder Sound that Deep Purple was the band he realized he wanted to play music, saying: “I was just infatuated. Not just with the music but the event: the people, the volume, the reverberation, the light show, the whole thing.”

#4. Black Sabbath – Sabotage

The Black Sabbath album Lars Ulrich named his favorite, Sabotage
image: Warner Records

Released in 1975, Sabotage by Black Sabbath showcased the band’s artistic growth and cemented their status as one of the most influential forces in rock music. It also marked a departure from the traditional doom-laden sound that Black Sabbath had become known for.

However, the album’s opening track, Hole in the Sky, sets the tone with its blistering guitar work by Tony Iommi and the thunderous rhythm section of Geezer Butler on bass and Bill Ward on drums. Ozzy Osbourne‘s vocals, filled with equal parts vulnerability and defiance, soar above the heavy instrumentation, drawing listeners into a dark and atmospheric realm. One of the album’s standout tracks, Symptom of the Universe, seamlessly blends heavy metal with elements of progressive rock and even hints of punk.


Lyrically, Sabotage delves into a range of themes, including personal struggles, societal injustice, and the perils of fame. Tracks like Megalomania and The Writ explore the darker aspects of human nature, while Am I Going Insane (Radio) touches on themes of mental health. Black Sabbath’s lyrical depth and introspective storytelling set them apart from their peers, offering listeners a glimpse into the band members’ personal demons and societal critiques.

Explaining why Lars Ulrich liked the album, he commented: “This record had a little bit more of what I would call an uptempo energy than some of the other albums, so that’s probably also part of the reason that it’s my favorite.”

#3. AC/DC – Let There Be Rock

AC/DC band
AC/DC – image: Yui Mok/AP

The rock pioneer AC/DC‘s Let There Be Rock was also one of the albums that Lars Ulrich picked as his favorites. Released in 1977, this auditory juggernaut marked a pivotal moment in AC/DC’s career, propelling them into the stratosphere of rock stardom and solidifying their status as one of the greatest bands of all time.

The opening salvo of Let There Be Rock strikes like a lightning bolt, capturing the essence of AC/DC‘s electrifying sound. The title track immediately thrusts listeners into a relentless barrage of power chords and pounding drums, embodying the unadulterated spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. Angus Young’s incendiary guitar solos electrify the airwaves, intertwining with the raunchy vocals of Bon Scott, who serves as the charismatic maestro of this symphony of sonic chaos.

Among the album’s standout tracks, Whole Lotta Rosie emerges as a timeless rock anthem, immortalizing the larger-than-life fictional character whose presence ignites a fervor at every live show. With its infectious riff and Scott’s lascivious lyrics, the song encapsulates the unabashed hedonism and unrelenting energy that defines the band’s ethos.


Picking the album as one of his favorites, Lars Ulrich named a few songs he liked the most, saying: “This is AC/DC’s heaviest record, AC/DC’s densest record, AC/DC’s most energetic record. Four or five of the songs are just staple AC/DC live, between ‘Let There Be Rock,’ ‘Bad Boy Boogie,’ ‘Whole Lotta Rosie,’ and ‘Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be.’ I don’t even want to try to comprehend how many times these songs have been played live.”

In 2020, Lars Ulrich recalled attending AC/DC concert in the late 1970s. At the time, he admitted that the band’s energy was huge.

“I saw AC/DC with Bon Scott four times, opening for Black Sabbath and Rainbow and then playing their own shows in Copenhagen in 1977 and San Francisco in 1979, in my early teens,” he recalls.

“The energy was insane: Angus [Young, guitar] strutting across the stage, all guitar solos, sweat, hair, no shirt on and Bon Scott, also shirtless, tight jeans, the coolest frontman ever. To me, the definition of rock ‘n’ roll attitude is AC/DC in those formative years.”

#2. Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction

Appetite For Destruction, the album that Lars Ulrich named his favorite Guns N' Roses album
photo: Ross Marino/Getty

Guns N’ Roses released the album in 1987. From the opening chords of Welcome to the Jungle, the album encapsulates the seedy underbelly of urban life, transporting audiences into a world teeming with danger and hedonism. Axl Rose’s ferocious vocals exude a volatile mix of vulnerability and defiance, while Slash’s searing guitar solos soar with a reckless abandon that defies convention.


Each track on Appetite for Destruction offers a glimpse into the band’s unparalleled musical prowess and their unflinching exploration of themes like lust, rebellion, and addiction. From the explosive anthem Sweet Child o’ Mine with its iconic guitar riff and heartfelt lyrics to the raucous rebellion of Paradise City and the unapologetic swagger of Nightrain, the album showcases the band’s ability to craft infectious melodies that strike a chord with the disenchanted youth of the era.

“What can I say about ‘Appetite’ that hasn’t already been said? It’s one of the handful of greatest rock records ever recorded,” Lars Ulrich praises the record.

“‘Appetite’ is genre-less in a way, in that not only is it one of the best hard-rock records and metal records of all time, but it’s also just one of the best records of all time, and it obviously shaped a generation and was the blueprint for literally thousands of bands.”

#1. Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beasts

Lars Ulrich's favorite album of all time, Iron Maiden's The Number Of The Beasts
Lars Ulrich’s favorite album of all time, Iron Maiden’s The Number Of The Beasts – image: Ilpo Musto/REX

The Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden is not merely an album but a narrative journey through the dark recesses of the human imagination. The album’s lyrical themes, steeped in mythology, horror, and introspection, transport listeners to worlds where fear and fantasy converge. From the hauntingly atmospheric Children of the Damned to the lightning-fast onslaught of Run to the Hills, Iron Maiden’s masterful storytelling comes alive, painting vivid portraits that linger long after the final notes fade away.


Decades after its release, The Number of the Beast remains a sacred relic for metal enthusiasts worldwide. Its influence can be heard in the work of countless bands, and its iconic cover art, featuring the band’s menacing mascot Eddie, has become an emblem of heavy metal culture. The album’s legacy serves as a testament to Iron Maiden’s unparalleled craftsmanship, their unwavering dedication to their art, and their unrelenting pursuit of musical excellence.

Lars Ulrich named The Number Of The Beasts one of the great singles in rock, admitting Iron Maiden’s influence on Metallica: “I’ve always been very open about how Iron Maiden inspired Metallica. We always cite them as a main influence. They were just cooler than other bands.”

Lars Ulrich’s Favorite Albums:

  • UFO – Strangers In The Night
  • Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beasts
  • Black Sabbath – Sabotage
  • Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction
  • AC/DC – Let There Be Rock
  • Rage Against the Machine – The Battle of Los Angeles
  • Motörhead – Overkill
  • Judas Priest – Unleashed in the East
  • Diamond Head – Lightning To The Nations
  • Deep Purple – Made in Japan

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