A lot of people own a Metallica t-shirt, many of whom have never listened to their iconic blend of metal. That doesn’t really compute. James Hetfield and co are absolute pioneers of the genre, who continue to enjoy the kudos earned from their very first offerings. Now, 30 years after dropping their self-titled record, often affectionately known as ‘The Black Album’, they’re back with a remastered edition to mark such a heralded occasion. So, here’s another chance to get into these legends’ songs, if you’re somehow not a fan already.
While I’m breaking away from the traditional reviewing mould here, to simply comment on and raise some hype around this remastered collection, it’s worth noting that the great tracks still remain. But they’re just sharper. If you buy or download the full deluxe box set, you’ll also get a whole host of live versions — more than 15 hours’ worth, to be exact.
The favourites are still the favourites before you get into those in-concert recordings. It goes without saying that the haunting opening riff of ‘Enter Sandman’ is still as deliciously chilling today. ‘The Unforgiven’ remains a firm belter, ‘Through the Never’ is just as scuzzy and hell-raising as it always was, and ‘Holier Than Thou’ never stopped being seriously cool hard rock. Don’t tell me that ‘Nothing Else Matters’ isn’t a wonderful piece of songwriting either. This album was all killer then, and very much deserves to so publicly rear its head and be celebrated again.
As part of the full campaign, various bands and artists have been covering tracks from ‘The Black Album’. The list of contributors is pretty impressive — even quite intriguing — so their versions on the slowly teased ‘The Metallica Blacklist’ are well worth spinning.
There’s a popular misconception that girls shouldn’t like metal. Rubbish. And that’s further evidenced by just how many female artists have jumped on these covers. St. Vincent, Phoebe Bridgers, Imelda May, Cherry Glazerr and more, take a bow.
My other recommendations from this playlist include the offerings from Sam Fender, IDLES, The Chats and Royal Blood. Some are seriously reimagined-sounding, too — I’m looking at you in particular, SebastiAn and Rodrigo y Gabriela. Of course, I’ve got to mention Biffy Clyro here as well, who are having a bit of a moment themselves, following their Glasgow Green headline show last Thursday.
So, Metallica, if, on the off chance, you’re somehow reading this, a big congrats from me to thee.