Me­tal­lica, ‘heirs to Wag­ner’, win Swe­den’s Po­lar mu­sic award

The Guardian - - NATIONAL - Laura Snapes

Me­tal­lica have been named re­cip­i­ents of Swe­den’s Po­lar prize, con­sid­ered one of mu­sic’s most pres­ti­gious awards. The Los An­ge­les four-piece are the first metal band to re­ceive the hon­our, which has pre­vi­ously gone to acts in­clud­ing Joni Mitchell, Paul McCart­ney and Chuck Berry.

The drum­mer, Lars Ul­rich, said: “It puts us in very dis­tin­guished com­pany. It’s a great val­i­da­tion of ev­ery­thing that Me­tal­lica have done over the last 35 years. At the same time, we feel like we’re in our prime, with a lot of good years ahead of us.”

The singer and gui­tarist, James Het­field, added: “As my­self and as Me­tal­lica I’m grate­ful to have this as part of our legacy, our his­tory.”

The judges wrote of the band: “Not since Wag­ner’s emo­tional tur­moil and Tchaikovsky’s can­nons has any­one cre­ated mu­sic that is so phys­i­cal and fu­ri­ous, and yet still so ac­ces­si­ble.

“Through vir­tu­oso en­sem­ble play­ing and their use of ex­tremely ac­cel­er­ated tem­pos, Me­tal­lica have taken rock mu­sic to places it had never been be­fore.”

They con­tin­ued: “In Me­tal­lica’s world, both a teenage bed­room and a con­cert hall can be trans­formed into a Val­halla. The strength of the band’s un­com­pro­mis­ing al­bums has helped mil­lions of lis­ten­ers to trans­form their sense of alien­ation into a su­per­power.”

Me­tal­lica will re­ceive their 1m krona (£90,000) prize in Stockholm this June. The band have said they will do­nate the money to their char­ity, All Within My Hands, which sup­ports or­gan­i­sa­tions tack­ling poverty and pae­di­atric can­cer and those that help youth mu­sic pro­grammes .

The Po­lar mu­sic prize names two an­nual lau­re­ates. The sec­ond 2018 re­cip­i­ent is the Afghanistan Na­tional In­sti­tute of Mu­sic and its founder, Dr Ah­mad Naser Sar­mast. ANIM sup­ports or­phans, chil­dren who work in the street and young girls by train­ing them as mu­si­cians and singers.

Abba’s man­ager, the late Stig An­der­son, founded the Po­lar mu­sic prize in 1989.

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