‘The Metallica Blacklist': 10 Best Metallica Cover Songs on ‘Black Album’ Tribute
At this point, there isn't much need to argue Metallica's global influence. Forty years into their career and 125 million albums sold, the rock legends are no doubt one of the biggest bands in the world. Much of that prestige is centered around the massive success of their fifth studio album, Metallica, affectionately known by fans, critics and even the band itself as the "Black Album."
Released on Aug. 12, 1991, the "Black Album" remains the best-selling record of the past 30 years, and as author Ben Apatoff describes in Metallica: The $24.95 Book, it "changed what hit metal records sounded like."
In a book included in the deluxe box set of Metallica, journalist David Fricke notes that the album sold over two million copies in four weeks, which was as much as ...And Justice For All had sold in three years. "Even for Metallica, the most successful band out of the American-metal underground," he writes, "this was surreal arithmetic." That surreal arithmetic never slowed down as the record has gone platinum 16 times in the United States, and in 2021, it returned to Billboard's Top 10 for the first time since 1992, reaching No. 9 just a couple of weeks after its 30th anniversary.
The domination of the "Black Album" brings with it much love and adoration as well as criticism, continuing to inspire and challenge musicians, young and old. Slash recently told SPIN, "[Metallica] crossed over in a way that made them a household name and they achieved that while maintaining their sonic integrity, songwriting and attitude. They took their signature style and recorded an album that became universally accessible, but still fucking cool ... the legacy of the Black Album will live on forever."
The late Vinnie Paul wasn't as impressed when he first heard it, explaining in Louder Than Hell, "We felt like, although it was a great record, they had moved away from being a total metal band."
No matter where the rest of the world lands, though, Metallica remain proud of the album they created in the early '90s with producer Bob Rock. That much is evident in the massive box set they released in 2021, as well as the fact that they performed it in its entirety, back to front, on Sept. 26, 2021 for the first time since doing it at their own Orion Music + More festival in 2012. But more than simply honoring the past, the band also invited friends—53 friends, to be exact—to help them propel the "Black Album" into the future.
Enter The Metallica Blacklist, a huge compilation that features those 53 friends sharing their covers of their favorite tracks from the album, each track benefiting Metallica's charitable foundation, All Within My Hands, as well as a charity of the artist's choice.
Just as the influence of Metallica is far-reaching, so, too, are the artists on Blacklist. Country superstar Chris Stapleton turns "Nothing Else Matters" into a twangy sing-along; jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington totally transforms "My Friend of Misery"; pop rockers Weezer stay as close to the original "Enter Sandman" as possible, while throwing in a nod to their hit, "Buddy Holly." There are a handful of recognizable rockers, too, including Corey Taylor covering "Holier Than Thou."
While a compilation of 53 bands covering 12 tracks is bound to include some misses, Blacklist includes a considerable amount of hits. Listening to it over and over and over again, we've picked out the 10 best covers from The Metallica Blacklist; check them out in the gallery below.