It’s a well-known fact that some of the best metal songs ever produced were written in a minor key, and that the genre seemingly goes hand-in-hand with the ominous-sounding sonic universe that is the antithesis of the major key.
While there are exceptions to the rule, most metal hits that immediately spring to mind – think Megadeth’s Killing is my Business..., Metallica’s Enter Sandman and Iron Maiden’s Hallowed Be Thy Name – all have one thing in common: they’re minor through-and-through.
What, then, would these songs have sounded like in a parallel universe? One where Hetfield, Hammett and co woke up on a sunny day in the early '80s and decided to write Ride the Lightning as a happy-go-lucky pop-punk romp, for example?
Lucky for us mere mortals who are incapable of traveling the musical multiverse in search of such answers, the Happy Metal YouTube channel has put in the hard work, with guitarists Ben Bouissieres and Andy Xiong reimagining some of the biggest hits in metal realm in a major key.
And the results are, perhaps rather surprisingly, superb.
The aforementioned Ride the Lightning is a particular highlight from the catalog, featuring a breakdown section that reinvents Hetfield’s riff as a swashbuckling powerchord jolly and Hammett’s guitar solo as a two-hand tapping trip down sunshine lane.
Megadeth isn’t safe from the Happy Metal treatment, either. Elsewhere in their repertoire, Xiong and Bouissieres work their magic on Symphony of Destruction, Dystopia and A Tout Le Monde, the latter of which sounds like a punk rock – dare we say Green Day-esque – ballad.
The Happy Metal duo seem to have returned from a three-year long hiatus, and in the space of one month have tackled four Megadeth tracks. It looks as though more videos are in the works, too, which will no doubt come as good news to traditionalist metalheads.
In their back catalog, Xiong and Bouissieres have also turned their attention to Slayer, Scorpions, Judas Priest and Pantera, as well as The Offspring, Amon Amarth, System of a Down and many more.
Head over to the Happy Metal YouTube channel (opens in new tab) to browse the full catalog of transformed tracks.
It’s not the first time the world of metal has been infiltrated by guitarists on a quest to shed some sunlight on minor key hits.
In 2020, Periphery’s Misha Mansoor turned Stairway to Heaven into Escalator to Hell when he transposed the Led Zeppelin classic to a major key romp.
Likewise, YouTuber Börje Unchained! gave Metallica’s Battery a similar sonic pick-me-up, reinventing it as an easycore/pop-punk anthem.