Weezer's cover of Metallica smash-hit Enter Sandman has been released. The track, taken from the forthcoming The Metallica Blacklist project, sees the LA rockers put a typically playful spin on the metal anthem – even going as far as putting a pair of thick-rimmed spectacles on the Sandman with a lick lifted straight from Weezer's 1994 hit, Buddy Holly.
The Metallica Blacklist project was announced in June as part of the 30th anniversary of Metallica's eponymous 1991 album, aka The Black Album. The project pulls together a truly eclectic ensemble of musicians, with the likes of Miley Cyrus, Sir Elton John, Yo-Yo Ma, IDLES, Biffy Clyro, Jason Isbell and more covering their favourite Black Album track.
With Weezer releasing their own Black Album in 2019, they were a shoo-in to contribute here, and make for particularly interesting as it places Rivers Cuomo and Brian Bell's electric guitar partnership under the spotlight.
Do they have the required level of chug to do justice to new Gibson artist Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield premium heavy metal electric guitar tones? Well, check it out below.
Despite not having weeks spent in the company of producer Bob Rock, chasing tones on what is arguably the most premium-sounding heavy metal album of all time, Weezer can hold their own. And when it comes to the solo, despite Cuomo having shred shops to burn, Weezer chose to reprise the vocal melody for a harmonised guitar line, and finding time to reference themselves in the process in a heavy metal goes heavy meta moment.
The Black Album celebrates its 30th anniversary on 12 August. Speaking to MusicRadar ahead of its 20th anniversary, Rock described it as “probably the biggest accomplishment of my professional life,“ and believes Metallica would concur. It was certainly the most commercially successful, transforming an arena metal band into a blue-chip stadium-metal band.
One of the first things on Rock's to-do list when he got Metallica into the studio was switch up Lars Ulrich's drum patterns. Hitherto he had played to Hetfield's rhythm guitar a la Keith Moon and Pete Townshend. This time Ulrich led.
“Lars wanted Metallica to groove more. AC/DC’s Back In Black was a big reference point as a rock record that grooved,“ explained Rock. I told him that in order to get that feel, he had to be the focal point musically. So on certain songs, the band played to Lars. They followed him. It made a real difference.”
Rock wanted Metallica to play live in the studio and take that energy into each take. As for Enter Sandman, everyone knew it was a hit, but the subject matter was a little heavy for the management and label.
“They heard James’ lyrics and realised the song was about crib death,“ said Rock. “That didn’t go over well. I sat down with James and talked to him about his words. I told him, ‘What you have is great, but it can be better. Does it have to be so literal?’ Not that I was thinking about the single; I just wanted him to make the song great.“
Hetfield revised the lyrics and the rest is history. It was a hit. And you can find it on others on a series of deluxe reissues, on a variety of formats, on which the album remastered with a host of extras. Pre-order the remastered Black Album here.
As for The Metallica Blacklist, it is being released through Metallica's own Blackened Recordings, with proceedings going to charity – half going to Metallica's All Within My Hands Foundation, the other to caused of the participating artists' choosing. You can preorder The Metallica Blacklist here.