Cliff Burton was Metallica's bass playing during the band's early, pioneering thrash metal work. Before his tragic death in a tour bus accident in 1986, he had been integral to the band's sound and direction on Kill ’Em All, Ride The Lightning and Master Of Puppets. With his 'lead bass' approach, together with drummer Lars Ulrich, Cliff powered the band's sound and defined Metallica as a massively influential force in metal.
After Burton's death, Lars Ulrich became the band's principal creative force, taking the band in a different more commercial direction from thrash. Yet still, particularly on the 'Black' album (Metallica), Lars' playing is remarkable, making him one of modern metal's most popular drummers.