Metallica's headline show at Britain's DOWNLOAD 2004 festival yesterday (06JUN04) was thrown into chaos when drummer Lars Ulrich fell ill - forcing the band to turn to relative newcomers Slipknot to rescue their performance.

The legendary heavy rock act's drummer was rushed to hospital with a mystery illness just hours before they were scheduled to take to the stage at Donington Park in central England.

But rather than leaving hordes of fans devastated by axing their appearance, the healthy musicians - James Hetfield, LARS ULRICH and ROBERT TRUJILLO - recruited Slipknot drummer JOEY JORDISON, SLAYER star DAVE LOMBARDO and Ulrich's technician to fill in.

The emergency stand-in meant Metallica arrived 40 minutes late, having been forced to practice backstage until just minutes before showtime.

A statement on the band's website reads, "Word filtered through that Lars suffered a medical emergency and frankly, I don't like to ask too many questions when the boys are preparing to deliver in unusual circumstances. The CD players were out, the guys were ripping through jams and the clock was ticking.

"Before the guys went onstage their energy was high high high, and with the show having been delayed without announcement, James stepped out and filled in the crowd on what had been going on, informing them of the Lars situation and that the guys had some friends stepping up to fill in.

"Thus it was that Lombardo bashed out a brutal BATTERY, a crushing statement that this show was not going to do anything less than deliver."

07/06/2004 17:13