Earlier this week, news broke that Metallica had been served with a cease-and-desist letter on the grounds that "Moth Into Flame," a song from last year's Hardwired ...To Self-Destruct, was too close to "Hunger for Power" by death metal band Opporobrium. However, Opprobrium are denying that they were responsible, saying that someone is "spreading lies behind their backs." The song in question was recorded in 1988, when Opprobrium was known as Incubus (they changed their name in 1999 to avoid conflict with the nu metal band of the same name, who had copyrighted the name).

This controversy started when Exclaim! received documents from Michael Howard of Brutal Records in which he stated that Metallica's song was "fundamentally a close duplication" of "Hunger for Power," for which he claimed to own the copyright. "As you have not sought or requested permission/authorization to use, nor to make and/or distribute, sell, lend or lease my copyrighted work entitled ‘Hunger for Power,’ you are hereby notified to CEASE AND DESIST any and all further unlawful acts of copyright infringement with regards to your actions and/or statements relating to this matter," Howard wrote, giving them 10 days to comply and threatening further legal action if they didn't. He also told Exclaim! that "Spit Out the Bone" also contained elements of "Hunger for Power," although it wasn't mentioned in the letter.

Last night, Opprobrium sent an update to their Facebook page saying that they "have nothing to do with this. We love Metallica and we are fans of Metallica ourselves." They added that "This individual is claiming that he holds the rights to one of our song " Hunger For Power", and it's not treu. We Opprobrium hold all the rights to all our songs."

Refusing to mention Howard by name, the band said "This individual is spreading lies behind our backs. ... Opprobrium does not support this individual nor are we responsible for the actions taken by this 'individual.' We Opprobrium are on the side of Metallica and not on the side of this individual that is spreading this lie."

Regardless of whether this turns into anything bigger, you can judge for yourself if the claims are correct. We've embedded "Hunger for Power" above and "Moth Into Flame" and "Spit Out the Bone" below.

Listen to Metallica's "Moth Into Flame"

Listen to Metallica's "Spit Out the Bone"

Metallica Albums Ranked Worst to Best