Who are the real "architects" of heavy metal? It's a question that has routinely come up over decades and Metallica's Kirk Hammett has his answer — not Black Sabbath.

Although Black Sabbath are largely credited with pioneering heavy metal for having driven it further away from the hard rock standard of the time and into new territory. However, that notion has been challenged a bit in recent years as more have come to look back at metal's origins in terms of the style that was later popularized.

Hammett and Robert Trujillo took part in a recent Q&A session in Germany at a book signing event for Metallica: The Black Album in Black & White, which is where the subject of metal's aforementioned "architects" was broached.

"We were worshipping at the altar of Judas Priest," Hammett says in the video seen further down the page. "Their music means so much to us. And the way Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing played the guitars — I mean, they are architects of what we now know as heavy metal, to put it bluntly," he asserts, "And James [Hetfield] and I, we love Priest."

The lumbering, riff-driven style purveyed by Black Sabbath was later channeled into the doom metal subgenre. While they inspired so many of metal's biggest and earliest acts, the classic heavy metal style that was adopted throughout the '80s was more strongly connected to Judas Priest — harmonized guitar leads, high-pitch singing and faster tempos.

READ MORE: Who is the First 'Definitive' Heavy Metal Band? Judas Priest's Rob Halford Answers

Reflecting on last year's Power Trip festival, a three-day event that featured Iron Maiden, Guns N' Roses, Judas Priest, AC/DC, Tool and Metallica.

"We don't really get a chance to see bands, a lot of times, when we're playing a huge festival or something, because we're always backstage doing press or getting ready for the show or rehearsing or whatever. So when we did Power Trip, we got there early — a few days early — just so that we could see all the other bands. And it was great — the anticipation of seeing (Iron) Maiden, Priest, AC/DC [and] Guns N' Roses, and actually seeing them. It was a wonderful time."

Watch more of the Q&A below.

Metallica's Kirk Hammett + Robert Trujillo, Fan Q&A

The Best Metal Album of Each Year Since 1970

See Loudwire's picks for the Best Metal Album of Each Year Since 1970

Gallery Credit: Loudwire Staff

More From Loudwire