The name Tom M. Engelbrecht may not ring any bells for now. He’s an ordinary guy from Bergen, Norway, who works as a security guard at a cocktail bar. However, he has one superpower. With the help from Gunnar V Tattoo (no stranger to tattoos of musicians) and Bjarte Nødtvedt, Tom is now officially the Guinness World Record holder for having the most tattoos of the same band, with a total of 43 Metallica-related pieces of art on his skin.
“Tom is a huge Metallica fan,” reads the entry on the Guinness World Record website. And he certainly is. That’s why Brian Kelleher of Killer Guitar Rigs decided to ask him a few questions about his tattoos and the decision to show support for his favorite band in such a way. His record was officially added on December 5, 2023.
The first thing we asked him was to give us some background on his love for Metallica. When he got into them, what his favorite eras are, and how many times he saw them live.
“So I grew up with a father and two older brothers who love rock and heavy metal,” Tom replied. “I was at my first concert at the age of seven when my brother took me to see my favorite band at that time — Kiss.”
“In 2007, at the age of 17, I went to my first Metallica concert. And I went just [because] it was a well-known band. At that time, I didn’t care much for Metallica, just wanted to see them. But I got hooked! It hit me like a baseball bat to the face. Like, mother of God! Holy crap, what a band! I loved them from that day on.”
Of course, Metallica is more than just a favorite band for Tom. Opening up more on his love for the legendary thrash metal quartet, the new Guinness World Record holder admits that he found emotional support in their work as well. He added:
“When I was around 19, I started to have problems with my mental health, and in the river of depression and anxiety, Metallica became the branch that I reached and that saved my life. I used Metallica as therapy. And the more I used Metallica, the closer they got to my heart.”
“Every time I am at concert, everything just disappears. I end up in my little bubble and I just enjoy the moment.”
“I have been to 24 concerts, and I am going to 11 next year,” Tom added.
“My favorite era is the ‘Justice’ and ‘The Black Album’ era. James’ voice, the hard-hitting heavy music…”
What was the first Metallica tattoo you got?
“My first Metallica tattoo was a half sleeve. It was taken back in 2010.”
How many Metallica tattoos until it hit the point of “this is getting out of hand”?
“Well, if you ask me, I would say the day I have to tattoo my face. Cause I will probably never stop.”
“If you ask my girlfriend, she will say, ‘A long time ago.’ She ain’t that happy that I will tattoo ‘Metal Up Your As.’ She’s just as thrilled to see a toilet on my leg. And she ain’t that thrilled that I have spent over 30,000$ on my Metallica tattoos.”
Have you ever met the band, and if so, what did they think about the tattoos?
“Sadly, I have not met the band. But I know Metallica has posted my leg on their story on Instagram, and that Lars has posted one of my tattoos in one of his posts.”
“But I would really like to meet them for two reasons. First, because I want them to sign my Guinness World Record diploma.”
“Second, because I have this f**ked up dream. People often meet their heroes, get an autograph, and then get the autograph tattooed. I want to take it to the point of f**ked up. I want Metallica to tattoo their own autographs on me themselves.”
Do you play an instrument, and if so, what’s your favorite Metallica song to play?
“Well, I wouldn’t say I play any instrument. But I’m trying to learn to play guitar. I ain’t any good. It goes slowly but I do try.”
Do you have other band tattoos? If it wasn’t Metallica, who would you have taking their place on your skin?
“I don’t have any other band tattoos. I am probably gonna have the logo of the Freddie Mercury tribute concert in 1992. Well, if it wasn’t Metallica, it would be Rammstein.”
Tell me a little about the World Record process, and how do you feel about achieving it?
“Well, I started on a tattoo-project during the pandemic. And after a lot of sessions, the tattoo artist and I were joking about how it should be a record. We checked and found out that it would be a record when I’m finished with my project.”
“At this moment, my right side of the body is fully tattooed of Metallica. From the foot, up leg and the side — my torso, armpit and my whole arm. All in all — 46 tattoos where 43 is counted in the record. Three of them are doubled up.”
“It all started as a joke, but the further I got, the more it meant for me. I wanted to Get in the history book of mankind. When I got the news, it felt good. Like a feeling I have never felt before. But I also feel proud that I made it.”
Finally: What’s next for you and your Metallica tattoos?
“Well, the next step will be ‘Metal up your ass’ but also a new tattoo of James. But other than that — well, I have a lot of plans. I just need to figure out how to put it all together and where to place them.”
Photos and videos: Tom M. Engelbrecht, Gunnar V Tattoo, private collection/social media