While Metallica may be one of the biggest bands in the world, Lars Ulrich's drumming style has consistently been a point of scrutiny over the years. But the Metallica stickman has another fan in a thrash metal brother, former Slayer and current Empire State Bastard drummer Dave Lombardo.

Lombardo, who has expressed his friendship and admiration of Ulrich on past occasions, came to Ulrich's defense when speaking with Metal Hammer. When asked if he feels that Ulrich gets unfairly dismissed by metal fans, Lombardo exclaimed, "Absolutely!"

He then shared his defense of Ulrich, commenting, "I saw Mario Duplantier recently talking about Lars, saying some kind words. I feel Lars is an essential part of that band – anybody else and it just won’t sound the same."

He continued, "I admonish the people who talk shit about him, I don’t like that. You have to embrace who Lars is, and his contribution to Metallica’s sound. They’re such an inspirational band, and everybody wants to be as big as they are, and you can only do that by taking risks."

The drummer says that the band's evolution has not come without controversy, but they've persevered. "They shocked people when they cut their hair or whatever, but it was part of their evolution and they clearly knew what they were doing. I love that they’re still out there, kicking ass," he concludes.

Other Times Lombardo Has Defended Lars Ulrich

Dave Lombardo's defense of Lars Ulrich shouldn't come as a surprise if you've been paying attention over the years. In 2014, Lombardo had nothing but praise for Metallica when speaking at a drum clinic in Sardinia, Italy, but made a point to single out Ulrich's contributions.

"I think Lars is a good drummer. He's a good arranger. He arranges… Without Lars, there wouldn't be a Metallica. So you have to give him credit for what he does for the band," he explained, then adding, "It's very important... When you have a chemistry within a band. There's four members of the band. When there's chemistry, like a special interaction between musicians, if you take one musician out, it's not the same. If you take Lars out of the equation, it won't be the same."

He also backed the outspoken Ulrich's very public battle against file-sharing service Napster in the early 2000s. telling Mike 'The Big Cheese' of the 'Heavy Metal Mayhem' radio show in 2014, "He was [right to fight]. He was smart. He tried to fight against it, and that was a brave thing Lars did, and his team. But, unfortunately, it's still going on, and there's nothing really at this point we can do about it."

READ MORE: Dave Lombardo's 5 Favorite Non-Metal Drummers

Back in 2012, Lombardo initially shared his stance on those shit-talking Ulrich, telling MetalPaths.com, “Me and Lars we get along great and I don’t like people talking s--- about Lars! They have to stop. There are a lot of fans out there who like to say a lot of bad things about him and he’s a very good friend of mine and I don’t like it."

What Are Dave Lombardo and Lars Ulrich Up To?

While Lombardo has had his hands in many different projects over the years, he's currently focused on his new band Empire State Bastard who will be releasing their debut album, Rivers of Heresy on Sept. 1. Pre-orders are being taken here and you can catch the band in concert at dates booked through November.

Ulrich, meanwhile, continues to tour with Metallica playing multiple nights in each market while they support their newly released 72 Seasons album. Get ticketing details on Metallica's upcoming dates here.

Rockers Who Have Defended Lars Ulrich

Why does Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich need defending? It seems almost bizarre that the question even has to be asked. But as dyed-in-the-wool Metallica fans know, a certain subset of metal listeners seem intent on consistently criticizing his drumming skills. Still, Ulrich has had several fellow musicians who have come to his defense, including other drummers. Below, see what they had to say about it.

More From Loudwire