Metallica’s The Blacklist came out just over one month ago, and it’s literally taken that long to digest fully. Fifty-three tracks, including a dozen “Nothing Else Matters,” reimagining one of the world’s most definitive metal records. So is it good, great, terrible, unnecessary, or awesome? Yes. All of those, depending on the track in question. I don’t think there’s anyone who would love all fifty-three tracks. In fact, if you’re enjoying My Morning Jacket’s “Nothing Else Matters,” this review may not be for you. Don’t be too set back on this; there’s undoubtedly a worthy garden of delights for ‘Tallica heads interested in hearing some favorite songs in a new light. And a handful of them truly kicks ass. Without further ado, below is the Metal Insider’s full, exhaustive track-by-track review of Metallica’s The Blacklist.
01) “Enter Sandman”
Artist: Alessia Cara & The Warning
Description: It’s a beautiful spin on the planet’s most popular metal song. This remix steams with originality and passion. Soaring vocals, great sampling, and an intriguing rewrite lets Alessia deliver something entrancingly familiar yet fresh and delightful. She turns it into a heavy pop song, and one I’d be a fan of even not knowing the original.
02) “Enter Sandman”
Artist: Mac DeMarco
Description: It kind of sounds like a bar band playing rock hits at your local saloon, including the production quality. It’s adequate, worth singing along to if you’re beered up, but not really anything you needed to hear. It’s a good argument in favor of the editorial oversight that was neglected in lieu of “send it in, and we’ll put it on.”
03) “Enter Sandman”
Description: Ghost never really did it for me, but this take on Sandman is worth a listen and a headbang. Papa Emeritus spends just the right amount of time doing the haunted thing before dropping into a kick-ass rock n’ roll groove. The guitars shred, and overall it does justice to the original, even if I don’t love the swing in the chorus.
04) “Enter Sandman”
Description: The song starts with an abrasive staccato reimagining of the classic Sandman riff, but otherwise, the music is just a straight-played cover in Juanes’ Columbian accent. That’s not to say it’s terrible, but the only things of note are the weird riff and his accents, and that’s not really much else.
05) “Enter Sandman”
Artist: Rina Sawayama
Description: It’s always interesting to hear female vocals on metal covers, and this is no exception. Rina transforms James’ roar into her own distinctive cry, and electronic beats add an aura of danger. This one grew on me too. My first time through it didn’t really stand out, but sometime between the fifth and tenth listens, it became my favorite track on the album.
06) “Enter Sandman”
Description: This is an embarrassment for both Weezer and Metallica. They took the greatest hard rock song in the world and turned it into a sickly pile of barf. The vocals are atrocious, and while the guitars and drums sound good, I won’t give them any credit for that because they’re indistinguishable from the original. Anyone in guitar center can play that shit, bro.
07) “Sad But True (Live)”
Artist: Sam Fender
Description: It’s a haunting piano take that totally carries the heaviness of the original. The keys manage the mood while Sam pours his heart out through James’ words. Definitely to be listened to in a dark room while sipping scotch and the rain and wind howl outside.
08) “Sad But True”
Artist: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Description: This one has been getting radio play, and deservedly so. The song’s heaviness sits comfortably in this upbeat, heartfelt country cover that sounds terrible in theory but rocks in practice. Yee-haw!
09) “Sad But True”
Artist: Mexican Institute Of Sound (Ft. Gera MX, La Perla & Metallica)
Description: Electronic music can be heavy, and here’s proof. This remix chops and dices your favorite parts of the song and jams them back together into a new beat. Plus, bonus verses are rapped in Spanish for extra flavor!
10) “Sad But True”
Artist: Royal Blood
Description: There’s not much to listen to here. The guitar is identical to the album original, but there’s no discernable bass, and the female vocals hew pretty close to James’ original with a bit more of a grungy feel. It’s not bad, but it feels like a watered-down copy of Track 2 with nothing new to offer.