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Polar prize: Metallica to receive 'Nobel prize of music'

Puppet masters … Metallica.
Puppet masters … Metallica. Photograph: Pete Cronin/Redferns

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.

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.”

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.”