Conquering the charts 30 years ago with their “black album,” Metallica has become the global ambassador for heavy metal – and this 52-track tribute set confirms it. Artists from nearly every genre, from pop rebel Miley Cyrus to jazz-soul wizard Kamasi Washington, bring unique interpretations, many of them inventive and surprising.
Chris Stapleton weaves a country-dirge on “Nothing Else Matters” – dig that long, rippin’ guitar solo – while Rodrigo y Gabriela ignite some flamenco on “The Struggle Within.” The Mongolian metalers in the Hu play “Through the Never” as grungy thrash, with native throat singing and a fierce solo on tovshuur, a traditional stringed instrument.
Alessia Cara & the Warning give “Enter Sandman” a polished, Shinedown-like mix, while Mac DeMarco records the same cut as lo-fi garage crunch, with a shred-wah solo. Jason Isbell launches “Sad But True” with bottleneck before finding a backwater-bayou groove. Its polar opposite, St. Vincent’s version turns the track into antiseptic industrial rock, rife with mechanized guitar riffs.
In all, Blacklist achieves its mission to let the musicians interpret Metallica their way. Most of the time it works – illustrating how these San Francisco thrashers have genuinely shaped music around the planet.
This article originally appeared in VG’s January 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.