I used to love Lars when I was big into Metallica, and then I followed a path similar to that which some other metalheads have taken: I got burnt out on Metallica and shelved them indefinitely because I discovered a bunch of other bands that have that "it factor" that Metallica seems to have lost...
However, my respect for Lars has come back because of a few recent epiphanies.
I used to be one of those people who would make ad hominem
attacks on drummers because of their personalities or because they got caught in the "endorsement whore" trap. Now, I'm more prone to look at drummers based solely
on their drumming. Lars may be a complete hack as a person (even then, some posts on here counter that statement pretty well), but I can look past the whole Napster screw-up and see him for how he is behind the kit. And his style seems to be one that fits Metallica and Metallica only. It seems to be a simpler style, compared to other metal drummers, but it fits perfectly with what the rest of the band plays. That, and after taking a look at a transcription for Master of Puppets, my assumption that the entire song was in 4/4 (because Lars' songs from RTL and MOP sounded so simple from a musical standpoint) was completely blown out of the water. For those of you who haven't seen this particular one (a "beat sheet" from onlinedrummer.com), it's quite a stunning discovery to see that Lars made something so complex on paper sound so incredibly simple! That's an incredible ability to have, in my opinion.
Here's the transcription: http://onlinedrummer.com/beat_sheets.php?Id=128
Once you get past all that, it'd be nice if you heard the dry "ping" of a ride once in awhile from Lars...the fact that he Would. Not. Lay. Off. The. Freaking. Hi-hats.
always got to me for some reason...