Various Artists – The Metallica Blacklist Album (Blackened)

Covers. We’ve heard a few.

And when it comes to big names reinterpreting classic tracks, less is more.

The Metallica Blacklist Album begs to differ.

More is more. And there’s even more.

But Metallica have never done things by halves.

And what better way to celebrate the seminal black album than by inviting the great and good of popular music to pick their favourites from 30 years ago?

Well, there might have been some better ways.

Or at least another way.

And allowing unlimited takes on the same tunes does threaten overkill.

Not Overkill. Although that would have been cool.

More than 50 Metallica ‘fans’ and their bands contribute to the Blacklist.

There are ‘play-it-safe’ mirror images of the Black album’s biggest hits.

And there are some frankly baffling reinterpretations of Hetfield and co. at their commercial peak.

But look hard enough enough and there are some genuine gems.

The Blacklist might not be the definitive list. 

But it’s an era-defining deep dive into songs that defy the ages.

Nothing Else Matters on punishing compilation

It seems Nothing Else Matters as no fewer than 12 takes on Matallica’s über ballad dominate the Blacklist.

That’s a whole album of the same song.

A dozen takes on a career-defining classic.

And there’s a real danger that even the most die-hard Mettali-fan might become just a little disillusioned when faced with multiple Nothing Else Matters.

The version featuring Miley Cyrus, WATT, Elton John, Yo-Yo Ma, Robert Trujillo and Chad Smith has become the Blacklist’s breakout single.

It’s even been played on Radio Two. During the day.

But is it the best take here?

Country gents Darius Rucker and Chris Stapleton both take a stab at breathing new life into a hitherto untouchable anthem.

The former’s sub-seven minute effort is subtle, emotive and strangely affecting.

Stapleton takes a more subversive approach but his darkly affecting version of Nothing Else Matters is an unnerving highlight.

For something entirely different try TRESOR.

But maybe only once…

Of Wolf And Man…and more

Goodnight, Texas buck the trend with Of Wolf And Man.

It’s the only version of a Black album deep cut here.

But its folky, Americana-tinged vibes provide an unexpected treat.

Elsewhere Ghost’s Enter Sandman is a sumptuous showcase for one of metal’s most exciting bands.

Sam Fender — the Geordie Bruce Springsteen – adds some on-trend indie cool to a live take on Sad But True.

And Royal Blood rip through the same track like men possessed.

Much has been made of Latin superstar Juanes’ cover of Enter Sandman.

And let’s just say it’s an acquired taste.

Party starter or false starter? The jury’s out.

The same can’t be said for Moses Sumney’s understated version of The Unforgiven.

The Ghanaian singer songwriter is in exalted company on the Blacklist but threatens to steal the show with this meandering, moving cover.

The Metallica Blacklist Album is a monster of a compilation.

And it requires some serious commitment.

But the high points outnumber the missteps and all profits will be split between the All Within My Hands Foundation and 50-plus charities chosen by the contributing artists.

In that context, Nothing Else Matters.