Metallica have been longtime supporters of Record Store Day, and the timing is perfect for the band to be named to the 2016 Record Store Day Ambassadors.

The group played a key role in the inaugural Record Store Day back in April of 2008 when they performed a special in-store appearance at Rasputin Music in Mountain View, Calif., thus giving the fledgling event some superstar clout. Now, eight years later, they'll be using their status once again to help promote Record Store Day 2016, which includes over 1,400 participating stores in the U.S. alone.

But giving things a bit of an international feel, this year's Record Store Day them is to lend support to those in France who suffered tragic losses last fall during the terrorist attack at Le Bataclan. The band has decided to share their own performance from Le Bataclan back in 2003 for a special Record Store Day release. This comes in coordination with the reissues of Kill 'Em All and Ride the Lightning, which will also be released on April 16 this year to tie in with Record Store Day.

Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite, Metallica! - Live at Le Bataclan Paris, France - June 11, 2003 is a live recording and the band, Record Store Day and participating indie record stores will be donating proceeds from sales to benefit the Fondation de France's Give for France charity. The nine-song set has been remixed and will be available on CD exclusively to independent retail and via See the full track listing below and learn more about the charity here.

Meanwhile, Metallica have filmed a video for Record Store Day that can be seen on their website. Plus, Lars Ulrich has offered his own lengthy statement on the importance of record stores and the role they've played in his life. Read his full commentary below.

For reasons I'll never quite understand, the rock department at Bristol Music Center was in the basement of the four-story store, but walking in there felt like the ultimate rush. I never knew what was going to await me. I never knew what newfound gem was going to be blaring out of the speakers. All I knew was that something incredible would happen, because it always did. It was all about the possibilities and the possibilities were infinite. Like a kid in a candy store, except my version of that was...a kid in a record store.
From the mid '70s to the early '80s, the rock department at Bristol Music Center in Copenhagen, Denmark was the most significant part of my life outside school and family, and probably often tied right in there with both. My dad had started taking me there as early as I could remember, and the early excursions felt like going to another world. Growing up I thought my dad was the coolest guy, and no place was more 'next level' than his music room in our pad, which housed one of the vastest record collections around town in the 60s. Going up to that hang space on the top floor was actually like going to a record store in itself. There were thousands of records, scattered all over - in the racks, on the furniture, on the shelves, next to the record player. Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, the Doors, the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin....the list is endless. And after my dad dragged me to see Deep Purple in 1973, I acquired the Fireball album the next day, and began attempting to amass a collection worthy of my father's.
Ken and Ole, who were the guys responsible for the rock department at Bristol, were my heroes. Whatever they recommended instantly became a must have. In 1979 when I got invited back to Ken's apartment to check out his personal record collection, it was one of the most exciting things in my life. Period. After I moved to the United States in the early '80s they became my lifeline to European hard rock, and the packages they would send me on a monthly basis were the most invigorating, life-affirming elements that showed up in my mailbox. I would sit for hours with my records; listening, looking, imagining, transporting myself to some other dimension, as the music enveloped me and carried me as far away as my imagination was capable of taking me. And the covers! Those record sleeves kept me fixated on the bands, musicians, lyrics and imagery being thrown in my direction. I kept logs over what records I would listen to, and how many times I would listen to them. In other words, I was obsessed. I lived and breathed in a record universe, day in, day out.
Boy, do I miss those days!
As times have changed, records unfortunately play a significantly different role in most young people's lives and have primarily become a niche entity. But there are signs of hope. My seventeen-year-old asked for a record player for his birthday two years ago, and I have been steadily doing my best due diligence as a parent, feeding him the classics since then. This process reached its emotional peak (and I even got misty-eyed!) when he put Deep Purple's Machine Head and Made in Japan on his latest Christmas wish-list, in good old vinyl format. What a moment! Maybe it all will work out after all....
As music becomes available either through only the internet or in gigantic airport-size retail stores, it is more important than ever - actually vital - that all us fanatics continue to bring to light the importance of records, and to support to the maximum of our abilities the independent record store outlet. The good news is, of course, that vinyl is making a measurable comeback. But that is not enough for us to rest on our laurels. We must all bond continuously together and scream from every rooftop with our loudest voices, enlighten our kids, fly the flag, and beat the drum (!) to the best of our ability.
For music.
For vinyl.
For independent record stores.
For people like you and me who live and breathe music twenty-four hours a day.
By the way, I'm still wondering why the rock department was in the basement of the Bristol Music Center. Of course the cynical side of me wonders if it has anything to do with the fact that rock somehow is perceived by self-appointed musical purists as a lesser form of music? Don't even get me started on that one! Right now, let's focus on having a Record Store with a basement to whine about in the first place and maybe we will finish that conversation some other day...
- Lars Ulrich

Circle it on your calendar. April 16, 2016 is Record Store Day this year. To learn more about Record Store Day and the participating stores, click here.

Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, Metallica! - Live at Le Bataclan. Paris, France - June 11th, 2003 Track Listing

1. "The Four Horsemen"
2. "Leper Messiah"
3. "No Remorse"
4. "Fade to Black"
5. "Frantic"
6. "Ride the Lightning"
7. "Blackened"
8. "Seek & Destroy"
9. "Damage, Inc."

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