The latest installment from the much-hyped Metallica Blacklist album – Ghost’s haunting reworking of the Black Album’s monster hit Enter Sandman – has been released, and it’s an absolute scorcher.
Equipping the opening exchanges of the track with a daring, reverb-drenched piano passage, the Swedish rock group dial the dynamics right back, and softly make their way through the choir-esque formalities of the first verse.
The delicate approach doesn’t last long, though – upon reaching the 50-second mark, Ghost reach for their electric guitars and blast through Enter Sandman’s untouchable high-gain riff, all while introducing some scorching double-tracked shred runs and wailing bends.
From then on, it’s faithfully Enter Sandman – save the slightly reharmonized, major-flavored pre-chorus and chorus sections that utilize the piano and lead guitar lines to immense effect – with Ghost’s anonymous ghouls serving up wah-drenched breaks and tasty melodic interludes
Speaking in the November issue of Guitar World, Ghost’s Tobias Forge detailed the group’s reimagining of Enter Sandman – a track they originally performed back in 2018 when Metallica scooped the Swedish Polar Music Prize.
“It felt like something we knew how to do,” Forge reflected. “But when it comes to covering other band’s songs I try to find something that isn’t in the track in its original state. And honestly, I find that difficult in a lot of Metallica songs because I feel they are pretty fully fleshed out.
“With Enter Sandman,” he continued “I could hear a piano. I could hear the vocal melody speaking in a way where you could build another chord sequence underneath.”
Despite the confident cut, Ghost’s Enter Sandman rendition wasn’t recorded without “a wee bit of anxiety” according to Forge, who also went on to discuss the “key” relationship his band has with Metallica.
“Ever since James [Hetfield] started pushing the band 10 years ago, from that moment on we definitely rose to bigger fame,” he continued. “We performed on their festival [Orion Music + More], and we also did some touring together with them when they were doing Sonisphere.
“Eventually they asked us to support them on an entire tour. So I’d say we have had a mentor/student sort of relationship. It feels, you know, like the most Miyagi of dojos – you get the hand of the sensei on you.”
Ghost’s take on Enter Sandman is the latest entry to be released from the 53-artist Metallica Blacklist, following Rodrigo Y Gabriel’s acoustic reworking of The Struggle Within, St. Vincent’s dark rendition on Sad But True and J Balvin’s hip hop version of Wherever I May Roam.
It’s also the second Enter Sandman cover to be released so far, after Weezer’s own largely faithful take on the track.
The 30th Anniversary Metallica Blacklist – which the band says will offer up “new dimensions” of the Black Album – will be released today (September 10). Proceeds from sales will be split evenly between Metallica's All Within My Hands foundation, and over 50 charities chosen by artists who appear on the record.
- The Metallica Blacklist is available now via Blackened Records.