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Various Artists - The Metallica Blacklist review



Reviewer:
N/A

18 users:
2.22
Band: Various Artists
Album: The Metallica Blacklist
Release date: September 2021


Disc I
01. Alessia Cara & The Warning - Enter Sandman [Metallica cover]
02. Mac DeMarco - Enter Sandman [Metallica cover]
03. Ghost - Enter Sandman [Metallica cover]
04. Juanes - Enter Sandman [Metallica cover]
05. Rina Sawayama - Enter Sandman [Metallica cover]
06. Weezer - Enter Sandman [Metallica cover]
07. Sam Fender - Sad But True [live] [Metallica cover]
08. Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit - Sad But True [Metallica cover]
09. Mexican Institute of Sound - Sad But True [Metallica cover] [feat. La Perla, Gera MX]
10. Royal Blood - Sad But True [Metallica cover]
11. St. Vincent - Sad But True [Metallica cover]
12. White Reaper - Sad But True [Metallica cover]
13. YB - Sad But True [Metallica cover]

Disc II
01. Biffy Clyro - Holier Than Thou [Metallica cover]
02. The Chats - Holier Than Thou [Metallica cover]
03. OFF! - Holier Than Thou [Metallica cover]
04. PUP - Holier Than Thou [Metallica cover]
05. Corey Taylor - Holier Than Thou [Metallica cover]
06. Cage The Elephant - The Unforgiven [Metallica cover]
07. Vishal Dadlani, Divine & Shor Police - The Unforgiven [Metallica cover]
08. Diet Cig - The Unforgiven [Metallica cover]
09. Flatbush Zombies - The Unforgiven [Metallica cover] [feat. DJ Scratch]
10. Ha*Ash - The Unforgiven [Metallica cover]
11. José Madero - The Unforgiven [Metallica cover]
12. Moses Sumney - The Unforgiven [Metallica cover]

Disc III
01. J Balvin - Wherever I May Roam [Metallica cover]
02. Chase & Status - Wherever I May Roam [Metallica cover] [feat. BackRoad Gee]
03. The Neptunes - Wherever I May Roam [Metallica cover]
04. Jon Pardi - Wherever I May Roam [Metallica cover]
05. SebastiAn - Don't Tread On Else Matters [Metallica cover]
06. Portugal. The Man - Don't Tread On Me [Metallica cover] [feat. Aaron Beam]
07. Volbeat - Don't Tread On Me [Metallica cover]
08. The Hu - Through The Never [Metallica cover]
09. Tomi Owó - Through The Never [Metallica cover]
10. Phoebe Bridgers - Nothing Else Matters [Metallica cover]
11. Miley Cyrus - Nothing Else Matters [Metallica cover] [feat. WATT, Elton John, Yo-Yo Ma, Robert Trujillo, Chad Smith]
12. Dave Gahan - Nothing Else Matters [Metallica cover]
13. Mickey Guyton - Nothing Else Matters [Metallica cover]
14. Dermot Kennedy - Nothing Else Matters [Metallica cover]
15. Mon Laferte - Nothing Else Matters [Metallica cover]

Disc IV
01. Igor Levit - Nothing Else Matters [Metallica cover]
02. My Morning Jacket - Nothing Else Matters [Metallica cover]
03. PG Roxette - Nothing Else Matters [Metallica cover]
04. Darius Rucker - Nothing Else Matters [Metallica cover]
05. Chris Stapleton - Nothing Else Matters [Metallica cover]
06. Tresor - Nothing Else Matters [Metallica cover]
07. Goodnight, Texas - Of Wolf And Man [Metallica cover]
08. Idles - The God That Failed [Metallica cover]
09. Imelda May - The God That Failed [Metallica cover]
10. Cherry Glazerr - My Friend Of Misery [Metallica cover]
11. Izia - My Friend Of Misery [Metallica cover]
12. Kamasi Washington - My Friend Of Misery [Metallica cover]
13. Rodrigo Y Gabriela - The Struggle Within [Metallica cover]


I listened to a shitload of Black Album covers so you don't have to.

So... Metallica's seminal Black Album came out 30 years ago in a move that pretty much cemented their legacy in pop culture as "the metal band". It was a lot of folks' last good Metallica album, a lot of folks first bad Metallica album, but even more folks' first Metallica album. Pop culture has been celebrating Metallica since, with that 2003 MTV Icon show where their songs were covered by the likes of Sum 41, Avril Lavigne, Snoop Dogg and Limp Bizkit; plus they had that one show where they played a couple of songs with Lady Gaga. It's not surprising that Metallica's connection to the mainstream hasn't been very well received by most metalheads. And now for the 30th anniversary, a special tribute album was done where a bunch of artists covered songs from The Black Album. The only problem is that there's four discs of non metal bands covering Metallica songs. And I'm not sure if anybody asked for that.

To be fair, there's far more cases of metal artists covering non-metal tracks than the other way around. And if a metal album would get the massive tribute album treatment, it couldn't have been any other than Metallica's The Black Album. Like... what else could it have been? Could you imagine a similar tribute album for Slayer's Reign In Blood? We already have one cover and it's enough. Iron Maiden's Number Of The Beast? Rammstein's Mutter? What other metal album had this big of a universal reach? I don't even like the album that much, but I still can't deny its massive appeal. Of course this tribute makes sense.

But even if it does make sense, I can't for the life of me imagine someone actually listening to this for pleasure. You put this one on and you're greeted by six consecutive versions of "Enter Sandman", then seven consecutive versions of "Sad But True". Some songs are definitely more popular than others, and it's no surprise that "Nothing Else Matters" the ballad that is the least metal song on the record, had the biggest numbers, but nobody should have to endure listening to it again and again. And then you have the huge array of sounds on the record. Pop artists, indie artists, rock artists, hip-hop artists, jazz artists, country artists, punk artists. The odds of a listener finding all of these appealing are pretty slim. And I'm reviewing this for a metal website, and, to put it bluntly, this is not an album for metalheads. I'm not actually sure who the target audience for this is supposed to be honestly. I can imagine a bunch of folks on here not finding any of the songs appealing. And I don't want to appear snobbish by describing myself as open-minded and brag about how much broader my taste is, but even as someone who kinda is... a lot of this is not that good.

But a lot of it is good. Hell, a lot of this is fantastic. I don't think this was ever intended as a "plug in and listen to it all", but just like that two-hour-long acoustic Melvins album that I reviewed, it feels more like a Subway that offers you the wide range of ingredients for your own Black Album sandwich. You want artists trying to stick close to the original, artists sampling the original song into their own, and then reinterpretations into different sounds. All to varying degrees of success. And thankfully that also means some really worthwhile stuff. And, if I may say so, some versions I like more than the original. It probably helps that I was already a fan of a pretty big number of the artists involved, having covered quite a few already in our non-metal feature.

"Enter Sandman" has the most amount of bands playing it pretty safe and trying to stick pretty close to the original. Ghost are obviously pretty good at this, but Mac DeMarco and Weezer just make me morbidly curious to hear how it would sound if they came out with a metal album. And I don't think anyone in this world ever needs to sit through Juanes of all people trying his hand at it. Alessia Cara & The Warning's version is the middle-road between the rock energy of the original and their own pop sensibilities, and it works pretty well. But definitely the wildest of the bunch is Rina Sawayatama, which makes it sound like a proper industrial metal meets early 00s glittery pop banger. And that is just the first song.

I could go and try to compare each cover for each song, but I feel like that would be a pretty futile endeavor, because of just how much stuff there is here. So instead I'll just mention the ones that seem most interesting. Like Mexican Institute Of Sound and J Balvin both create Latin version based on samples, but the latter works really well, while the former is just hilarious. St. Vincent makes "Sad But True" sound like a smoother Nine Inch Nails song. Pup, The Chats, and OFF! create punk versions of "Holier Than Thou", and none of them really drop the ball, but OFF!'s is the one that really reeks of that rowdy energy. Other than J Balvin the best sampling happens in Flatbush Zombies' "The Unforgiven". Moses Sumney and Cage The Elephant both create more intimate versions of "The Unforgiven", but in different soundscapes, and I think Moses' works best. There's country rock versions of "Wherever I May Roam" and "Nothing Else Matters" done by Jon Pardi and Chris Stapelton respectively, the latter of which absolutely blows the original out of the water. There's a bunch of other pretty great covers of "Nothing Else Matters", like Phoebe Bridgers, Dave Gahan, and surprisingly also Miley Cyrus, but they don't quite reach that level. The Hu is on a Metallica tribute streak, and they could honestly just cover the entire thing and it would be great. Volbeat cover the worst song on the original album. Idles make "The God That Failed" into a pulsating post-punk monolith that might be my favorite thing on the entire record. Kamasi Washington's take on "My Friend Of Misery" is such a colorful jazz take on the original that it is contending with Idles for the best song here. And despite having listened to the original album for so many times, if my life depended on whether I could unquestionably answer whether Metallica have songs called "Of Wolf And Man" and "The Struggle Within", I don't think I could answer. So it's not surprising that the two are the most unpopular songs on the album, with only one rendition each, a cool alt-country one by Goodnight, Texas for the former, and a solid flamenco one by Rodrigo y Gabriela for the latter. The rest of the songs either made no positive impression, or I couldn't be bothered to give them a second shot.

So, I hope this can help you parse this unlistenable slob to get to the actual worthwhile stuff. Because hiding those fantastic Chris Stapleton, Idles, and Kamasi Washington so deep in this should be a crime recognized by the Geneva convention. For convenience, I created a playlist to act as my own redux, with stuff added in order of my enjoyment of it, with some slight adjustment to not place two covers of the same song too close to each other:






Written on 21.12.2021 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments

Comments: 21   Visited by: 313 users
21.12.2021 - 14:39
Netzach
Planewalker
Quote:
I listened to a shitload of Black Album covers so you don't have to.


A noble sacrifice, and I've scheduled an appointment with that shrink for you.
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21.12.2021 - 14:40
Deathwyrm

Solid review. Seeing the tracklist gives this the impression of being a test of endurance. If you're the kind of person who can enjoy listening to Enter Sandman, can you listen to Enter Sandman six times in a row?
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21.12.2021 - 14:45
tominator
At best deranged
"I've never asked for this..."

That's (I think) the sentiment that most metalheads have about this thing.

I don't think I would have the patience to sit through a disc with 7 versions of the same song played back-to-back. Like you mentioned, it's probably meant more as a "à la carte" type thing. But even then, they could have spread the 7 versions of the same song over multiple discs. I mean, they have like 4 discs available to do that...
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21.12.2021 - 14:52
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Are you extremely drunk or bored. You like to write and nothing else matters.
Weitd artists to cover, good to read, but I skip this... But then again where is cuts.. I like metal, and many jaff, blues, folk and even 80s pop acts, but it us not Unforgiven....
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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21.12.2021 - 14:59
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
I published this less than an hour ago and 4 comments already? This has to be a record.
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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21.12.2021 - 15:23
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by RaduP on 21.12.2021 at 14:59

I published this less than an hour ago and 4 comments already? This has to be a record.

This is an intervention, Radu.
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21.12.2021 - 17:45
metalbrat

Thank you so much for wasting your precious time and energy to save us.. Actually you didn't have to do this in metalstorm, coz i dont think anyone here really cares about this album, even a hardcore Metallica fan like me who started from Black Album (yes, I belong to that shameless group).
Enjoyed your review.
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In the beginning I was made of clay. Then I bit the apple and they changed me to metal 🤘
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22.12.2021 - 00:46
Nejde
Green Devil
This is the reason why I never bother with tribute albums. The original version most likely is the best version. There are few occasions where I preferred the cover. Only one that comes to mind is Ghost's version of Roky Erickson's If You Have Ghosts but I always listen to Roky's version afterwards and then I can't decide which one is the best. Maybe I'll give Lulu a new chance instead of listening to this.
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"When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It's only painful for others. The same applies when you are stupid." - Ricky Gervais
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22.12.2021 - 09:35
Lord Slothrop

I feel like I should buy you a present.
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22.12.2021 - 10:19
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Nejde on 22.12.2021 at 00:46

This is the reason why I never bother with tribute albums. The original version most likely is the best version.

Weird to think that no cover is worth listening to because it's definitely not better than the original. Might as well stop listening to everything that isn't the best song you know.
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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22.12.2021 - 11:20
bddidier

Thanks for this review of a totally useless album, your sacrifice is appreciated.
I've never heard of a single artist on this album (except Miley Cyrus and did I read correctly Elton John?), does that make me a bad person?
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22.12.2021 - 11:48
Nejde
Green Devil
Written by RaduP on 22.12.2021 at 10:19

Weird to think that no cover is worth listening to because it's definitely not better than the original. Might as well stop listening to everything that isn't the best song you know.


Of course there are covers that are good, tons of them actually. The difference is when labels release tribute albums. An album where different bands cover one other band only doesn't interest me. On the other hand I don't mind a cover that's part of a single band's album where the rest of the songs are original compositions because then the cover is made to fit in with the band's sound. One example that comes to mind is Okkultist's cover of Bathory's Satan My Master. Their version of the song fits perfectly with the rest of the album and I actually think the cover is way better than the original.
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"When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It's only painful for others. The same applies when you are stupid." - Ricky Gervais
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22.12.2021 - 13:18
musclassia

Written by Nejde on 22.12.2021 at 11:48

Written by RaduP on 22.12.2021 at 10:19

Weird to think that no cover is worth listening to because it's definitely not better than the original. Might as well stop listening to everything that isn't the best song you know.


Of course there are covers that are good, tons of them actually. The difference is when labels release tribute albums. An album where different bands cover one other band only doesn't interest me. On the other hand I don't mind a cover that's part of a single band's album where the rest of the songs are original compositions because then the cover is made to fit in with the band's sound. One example that comes to mind is Okkultist's cover of Bathory's Satan My Master. Their version of the song fits perfectly with the rest of the album and I actually think the cover is way better than the original.


I can't agree more on tribute albums, surely the least interesting type of music product - it's not that no cover is worth listening to, it's that they're most frequently covering the biggest, and therefore most overplayed, bands (how many VA covers are there of Metallica and Iron Maiden by now?), and whilst the original isn't necessarily the 'best' version, it's normally a version that's been played (and covered) so many times that there's no way to have enthusiasm for another interpretation (hell, when Metallica contributed to Maiden Heaven with their version of Remember Tomorrow, the same song had already been covered by Opeth and Crowbar); I reckon people would be a lot less enthusiastic about Johnny Cash covering Hurt if it was alongside 11 other covers of Hurt after Hurt had already been extensively covered and the original had been played to infinity and beyond, which is why it's hard to find much enthusiasm for Chris Stapleton doing a country version of Nothing Else Matters. The Miley Cyrus & friends version of it is fine, but it's very redundant given how similar it is to the original. The only cover of a 'huge' metal song that I can say I'm particularly interested in is Tori Amos' Raining Blood, because it's unrecognizable as Raining Blood outside of the lyrics, which is probably why out of the few I skimmed on this one that Radu highlighted, the one I found most interesting was the Kamasi Washington cover of My Friend Of Misery, because it's unrecognizable as My Friend Of Misery (and even that's a relatively very underplayed track for the band). One band doing a covers album is normally going to be more interesting than many bands doing a cover album of one artist, just because they're more likely to throw in some weird stuff (like Metallica trying to do Blue Oyster Cult's Astronomy, rather than three different versions of Whiplash).

In a world where there's already way too much new (and old) music to be able to listen to everything you'd want to, I don't see why overlooking tribute albums was a controversial statement from you lol, I found Radu's response 'weird'
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22.12.2021 - 14:58
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by musclassia on 22.12.2021 at 13:18

I can't agree more on tribute albums, surely the least interesting type of music product - it's not that no cover is worth listening to, it's that they're most frequently covering the biggest, and therefore most overplayed, bands (how many VA covers are there of Metallica and Iron Maiden by now?), and whilst the original isn't necessarily the 'best' version, it's normally a version that's been played (and covered) so many times that there's no way to have enthusiasm for another interpretation (hell, when Metallica contributed to Maiden Heaven with their version of Remember Tomorrow, the same song had already been covered by Opeth and Crowbar); I reckon people would be a lot less enthusiastic about Johnny Cash covering Hurt if it was alongside 11 other covers of Hurt after Hurt had already been extensively covered and the original had been played to infinity and beyond, which is why it's hard to find much enthusiasm for Chris Stapleton doing a country version of Nothing Else Matters. The Miley Cyrus & friends version of it is fine, but it's very redundant given how similar it is to the original. The only cover of a 'huge' metal song that I can say I'm particularly interested in is Tori Amos' Raining Blood, because it's unrecognizable as Raining Blood outside of the lyrics, which is probably why out of the few I skimmed on this one that Radu highlighted, the one I found most interesting was the Kamasi Washington cover of My Friend Of Misery, because it's unrecognizable as My Friend Of Misery (and even that's a relatively very underplayed track for the band). One band doing a covers album is normally going to be more interesting than many bands doing a cover album of one artist, just because they're more likely to throw in some weird stuff (like Metallica trying to do Blue Oyster Cult's Astronomy, rather than three different versions of Whiplash).

In a world where there's already way too much new (and old) music to be able to listen to everything you'd want to, I don't see why overlooking tribute albums was a controversial statement from you lol, I found Radu's response 'weird'

I don't really think I listened to any other in full (I might have, but I don't remember), and I specifically don't recommend listening to this one in full, for pretty obvious reasons. In a way, I see tribute albums as less of an album to listen to, and more like a collection of songs to pick from. Hence why I went through all the trouble of listening to all of it myself so I can parse out the worthwhile from the worthless. The fact that we live in the streaming age and we don't have to put in a CD and listen to all of it, but can instead easily curate our own playlists should make the "but there's too many versions of the same song next to each other" point less of a hassle. You can listen to Kamasi Washington's cover without having to listen to the rest of the CD.

And I really wouldn't have bothered with any tribute album where the artists are just covering music that is clearly similar to what they do already. But this isn't thrash metal bands, or even heavy metal bands covering Metallica. This is jazz, rock, indie, country, hip-hop, pop artists covering Metallica. Which wielded some interesting results.
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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22.12.2021 - 18:04
Nejde
Green Devil
Written by musclassia on 22.12.2021 at 13:18

In a world where there's already way too much new (and old) music to be able to listen to everything you'd want to, I don't see why overlooking tribute albums was a controversial statement from you lol, I found Radu's response 'weird'


What musclassia said. Thanks for having my back on this

Written by RaduP on 22.12.2021 at 14:58

And I really wouldn't have bothered with any tribute album where the artists are just covering music that is clearly similar to what they do already. But this isn't thrash metal bands, or even heavy metal bands covering Metallica. This is jazz, rock, indie, country, hip-hop, pop artists covering Metallica. Which wielded some interesting results.


But Radu definitely has a point too. To be fair this isn't your regular metal tribute album by other metal bands. Maybe I sounded a bit harsh in my first comment but I actually gave the whole thing a spin when it came out and I didn't enjoy it at all because of the mash up of different genres. But at least it made me discover The Warning. Great band and they most certainly are gonna get big.
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"When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It's only painful for others. The same applies when you are stupid." - Ricky Gervais
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22.12.2021 - 19:52
IH8Hipsters

It should be called the Shit List because this release is pure and utter shit! Money grabbing Bullshit.
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22.12.2021 - 20:25
JoHn DoE

Written by IH8Hipsters on 22.12.2021 at 19:52

It should be called the Shit List because this release is pure and utter shit! Money grabbing Bullshit.


Money grabbing? How? I bet anyone can listen to this for free somewhere on the internet, youtube, some streaming service.

It's just a tribute album, why all the hate & exaggeration? You dislike it, don't listen to it, but to call this tribute album "money grabbing bullshit" is a bit ridiculous.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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23.12.2021 - 23:49
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
I caught wind of some details of this during its development, but I never actually put the pieces together and tried to comprehend what it would eventually turn into. It is only now that I see this four-disc monstrosity with 12 consecutive versions of "Nothing Else Matters" that I am overcome with the need to grab the world by the lips and scream, "PLEASE care about a band that isn't Metallica just for eight seconds."

I am quite curious to hear what OFF! and Rina Sawayama did, and although I'm not familiar with (or have never even heard of) the overwhelming majority of these artists, the sheer variety represented does intrigue me. I don't doubt that some versions are improvements on the originals, so I am going to check out your curated playlist. Maybe in the future I will listen to the entire thing, just for the sake of it - I highly doubt that this deserves its current rating of 1.86, much as I may appreciate the sentiments behind it.

The Black Album is probably the Metallica album that I've listened to in full the most times (although I haven't actually done so in probably ten years) so at least I could say I'm reasonably familiar with every song and could compare without effort. I just never, ever need to hear "Nothing Else Matters" ever again. As a concept, this is actually a very interesting release: to gather so many artists great and small from such a broad spectrum of musical genres to cover one album in full is a really interesting idea. The main problems I have are 1) it's this album and 2) 12 consecutive versions of "Nothing Else Matters." A four-disc set is just way, way too much, and even though I agree with your assumption that this is supposed to be an a la carte release rather than a cohesive album of its own, that's so much overkill that it would make Lemmy sick.

I get that Metallica is the metal band for most people, so if there's any album that could draw such a diverse crowd of people to heavy metal, it's this one. I can't really refute the selection. I guess I just feel like Metallica is passé. Saying that you like Metallica is like saying that you drink water and you find room temperature comfortable and sometimes your job wears you out and you think that baby animals are cute. If you exist, I take it as read that you're familiar with at least one Metallica song. It tells me nothing about your taste in music or your personality. Even if I don't care most of the time, a monstrosity like this just gets me annoyed that people will make this much of a fuss about Metallica and they won't listen to Death Angel.
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"Earth is small and I hate it" - Lum Invader

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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24.12.2021 - 20:49
nikarg
Mod
I don't like the black album and I never did. I listened to the curated playlist only because I felt I had to since you had gone through all this trouble. I don't like a single cover unfortunately and I don't see the point of this album being released tbh. I guess it's because of its 30th anniversary but I still don't get why this came out in the form that it did.
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05.01.2022 - 05:58
Rating: 2
Boxcar Willy
yr a kook
May god have mercy on your soul for sitting through 5 hours of this.
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14:22 - Marcel Hubregtse
I do your mum
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20.01.2022 - 17:06
Karlabos
Meat and Potatos
I like the idea of this album a lot.
Of course, nobody is gonna go ahead and listen to it on a single sit, but knowing that there are a lot non-metal covers of metal huh... metal related tracks is kinda refreshing.

I didn't listen to it yet, but I take it most ppl complaining are the ones that have an inexplicable aversion to pop.

I'm prob gonna skim to one track or two at most, but even though, I must say still find the idea appealing.
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Rose is red, violet is blue. Flag is win, Baba is you.
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