Metallica release as-yet-unheard rough mix of The Unforgiven from May 1991

James Hetfield
(Image credit: Roberto Finizio/NurPhoto via Getty)

Metallica have shared a rough mix of The Unforgiven, the latest preview of their highly anticipated Black Album reissue, due September 10.

The Black Album (formally named Metallica) was recorded with producer Bob Rock between October 1990 and June 1991 and had a famously fraught inception, with multiple mixes and endless takes.

As a result, the process was costly, and the band chalked up a recording and mixing tab in the region of $1 million. Of course, the Black Album’s sales would eventually more than justify the investment, going 16 times platinum. 

The ‘new’ rough mix of The Unforgiven, which forms part of a massive 30th anniversary remastered edition of their most acclaimed record, seems to cover more extremes than the original track.

Hetfield’s clean vocals sound softer and Hammet’s guitar tone feels thicker and warmer at times – check out the pre-solo licks at 3.20 – yet the solo is less obscured by effects, making it more cutting and present.

The new teaser track follows on the heels of Sad But True Take 36, which will also feature on the upcoming remastered boxset. 

In keeping with the current trend for multiple formats, fans will have the choice of a double vinyl package and 3CD expanded edition, alongside the standard release. 

There’s also an imposing Deluxe Edition (including 6 LPs, 14 CDs and a bunch of extras) available for Black Album die-hards, which can be yours for a mere $240.

In addition, the group are celebrating the milestone with the release of The Metallica Blacklist – a new 53-track covers record featuring everyone from Miley Cyrus to Weezer, Royal Blood and St. Vincent.

Both the Black Album remastered and The Metallica Blacklist arrive September 10 via Blackened Recordings.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar,, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.