Venerable UK metal mag “Kerrang!” (where you’re never more than issue away from a Hayley Williams poster) have commissioned another one of their periodic cover-mount CDs which pays tribute to one of the genre’s greats – this time thrash founding fathers and veritable colossi Metallica get the oft-dubious ‘honour’ of having up-and-coming bands cover their tunes.
In a break with tradition, this time around the bands are covering an entire record – Metallica’s seminal 1991 untitled or ‘Black’ album.
For the most part, few of the bands are diverging too far from the Metallica template, as if you’ve got material like this to work with, it doesn’t really make that much sense to give the likes of “Sad But True“ or “The Unforgiven“ a quick-and-dirty dubstep spray-job and hope that replacing singer James Hetfield‘s commanding and unmistakable baritone with a Cookie Monster death grunt will suffice as far as adding new elements to the existing songs.
The CD starts off with upstart UK post-metalcore types Rise To Remain doing “Enter Sandman” and making a pretty decent go of it – singer Austin Dickinson has a really decent set of pipes (blame his Dad) and doesn’t disgrace himself in the slightest. The rest of the recently-rejigged band are taut as the proverbial drum skin – lead guitarist Ben Tovey is definitely one to watch and dashes off a blistering lead with echoes Kirk Hammett‘s original but slips in absurdly speedy flurries of notes which somehow don’t become annoying. Quite an achievement.
Other highlights are UK experimentalists The Defiled giving a subtle electronic make-over to “The Unforgiven”, which really works quite well, UK thrashers Savage Messiah doing a number on “Of Wolf And Man” and Fluffrick favourites, the delightful Evile, doing “Through The Never” (Ol Drake for the proverbial win…).
If you’re outside the UK, it might be more difficult to obtain this compilation (unless you’re using channels which I can’t condone but can understand you utilising in this instance) but if “Kerrang!” is available more easily to you, the tracks on the CD make this a no-brainer issue to pick up, especially if you’re like me and only buy the mag a couple of times a year. I am, as the good folk at GT News in Sheffield will doubtless attest, a “Metal Hammer” kind of fellow when it comes to musical periodicals…