Young busker praised by Metallica after absolutely smashing Master of Puppets cover

Young busker playing guitar
(Image credit: Josh Blockwell/TikTok)

Thanks in part to Netflix’s Stranger Things, Metallica’s Master of Puppets is now the heavy metal anthem of a whole new generation, after it was heard in quite spectacular fashion on the small screen during 2022’s most talked-about TV show.

Now, as if we needed any more evidence of Metallica’s age-traversing appeal, a TikTok user named Josh Blockwell has uploaded a video of a young ‘Tallica fan performing – and absolutely nailing – this year’s hottest metal song.

What’s more, the anonymous axe-slinger has received a sonic seal of approval from Metallica themselves, after the band responded to the captivating clip with a set of genre-appropriate devil horn emojis.

It’s a cover worthy of Metallica’s praise. With his Ibanez PGMM31 Mikro Paul Gilbert signature guitar in hand, the unidentified guitar hero makes light work of the thunderous riff and, once the TikTok clip skips forward, absolutely kills the guitar solo in an impressive display of his already competent catalog of technical skills.

Without breaking a sweat, the young busker burns his way through the rapid-fire alternate picking passages and migrates his way right up to the final fret of his maple fingerboard to fizzle through a handful of scorching licks.


♬ original sound - joshblockwell

“Out in Cardiff and saw a kid plug in his #paulgilbert signature and thought I’d stick around,” wrote Blockwell in the clip’s caption. “Did not expect to stay there with my jaw on the floor while he hammered out Master of Puppets flawlessly!”

Though the up-and-coming six-string star has not been named, a commenter on the video claimed to be his aunt, and said the young busker will be “thrilled” to see he’s received the nod from Metallica.

“Just told my nephew you commented, Metallica, it’s made his day!” she wrote. “Thank you.”

Master of Puppets has become the guitar anthem of 2022 after it featured in the finale of Stranger Things earlier this year. After a teaser trailer invited much speculation from fans, the track – fueled by a Stranger Things B.C. Rich Warlock – eventually played a pivotal role in proceedings.

After the episode aired, Yousician revealed Master of Puppets had become the number one song aspiring guitarists want to learn.

It’s the second time in as many weeks that a busking guitarist has caught the eyes and ears of six-string fans, after Damian Salazar deployed a Kiesel Jason Becker Numbers guitar to deliver one of the best shred guitar performances of the year.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.