When you dig into the timeline–The Black Album was written and recorded in late 1990 and early 1991–the influence starts to make sense.
You see, Soundgarden‘s major-label debut, Louder Than Love, was released in September of 1989. Today, we categorize Soundgarden as a grunge band. But “grunge” wasn’t quite a thing yet in 1989 and 1990. When they signed to A&M Records, they were thought of as a metal band. And they sounded like one, too. So it stands to reason that they’d be on Kirk Hammett’s radar.
He said as much in a recent Guitar World piece. He was listening to Louder Than Love in a hotel room in the wee hours of the morning, noodling around on his guitar, and came up with the foundation of the “Enter Sandman.” Lars helped him tweak it, and one of rock’s all-time greatest riffs was born. Kirk said: “I want to write the next “Smoke on the Water.”” In a way, he did.
Let’s toss this one in, too. For good measure.