Metallica re-revisit the basement to share a 1990 demo of Enter Sandman ahead of epic Black Album reissue

In lieu of the gigantic, super-massive 30th anniversary release of The Black Album, Metallica has shared a previously unreleased demo of Enter Sandman that was recorded in drummer Lars Ulrich's basement in the summer of 1990.

The track captures a moment when metal history was about to change, as the kings of the underground streamlined their sound, rediscovered the joys of midrange, and sought the services of über-producer Bob Rock to give their new sound the hi-fi audio pizazz it deserved. 

Of course, this being a demo, there's a rough and ready quality to the performances that might might well give guitar store employees – or anyone who has been to NAMM – some minor PTSD as the Enter Sandman riff finds its groove. But even in this context, there's no mistaking that Kirk Hammett's riff would become one of the greatest of all time. The demo is being released as part of the Riffs & Demos section of Metallica's epic reissue of their landmark 1991 release.

The self-titled album, popularly known as The Black Album, has been remastered to mark its anniversary, and is being reissued under Metallica's own Blackened Recordings imprint in a number of collectable formats, including 180G double vinyl, standard and triple-CD expanded editions, and a limited edition Deluxe Box Set that has pretty much everything.

Metallica 1992

(Image credit: Mick Hutson/Redferns)

The box set presents the album as double-LPs on 180G vinyl, plus a picture disc, no fewer than three live LPs, 14 CDs of live tracks, rough mixes, demos and interviews, and six DVDs of outtakes, behind the scenes footage, promo videos and live performances. And, to top it all off, there's a 120-page hardcover book, four tour laminates, three lithos, three guitar picks, a Metallica lanyard, a folder with lyric sheets, and a download card. Phew!

And that's not even the most preposterously ambitious aspect of the Black Album 30th anniversary – with The Metallica Blacklist album gathering over 50 musicians from a variety of backgrounds and genres to record their favorite Black Album track. 

That really is a moveable feast for Metallica fans, with the likes of St. Vincent and Jason Isbell reworking Sad But True, IDLES covering The God That Failed and a whole host of artists performing Nothing Else Matters. Among them is Miley Cyrus, who invited Sir Elton John, Chad Smith, Yo-Yo Ma, Watt and Metallica bassist Rob Trujillo to join her on the track. Check it out below.

Both albums are released digitally on September 10, with physical releases following on October 1. All proceeds from the sale of The Metallica Blacklist are going to charity, with half going to Metallica's All Within My Hands Foundation and the remainder going to charities picked by each of the participating artists.

For more information on the release, head over to Metallica .

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.