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Royal Blood pay tribute to Metallica with a faithful, bludgeoning cover of Sad But True

Royal Blood
(Image credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The Metallica Blacklist – a forthcoming compilation album in which an impressive 53 artists pay tribute to select songs from Metallica's 1991 self-titled record (The Black Album, to most people) – has so far played host to a wealth of top-notch covers.

They include Weezer's mostly faithful take on Enter Sandman, Volbeat's galloping, anthemic version of Don't Tread on Me, and J Balvin's hip-hop reworking of Wherever I May Roam, to name a few.

Naturally, with only 12 songs on the 1991 record, and a whopping 53 artists offering covers on The Metallica Blacklist, each track is reinvented several times, with each artist offering a unique rendition. This wide variety of musical interpretation offers insight into the widespread appeal of The Black Album.

Take Sad But True, for example: St. Vincent's version – which was released back in June – traded the original's massive-sounding drums and trademark gain-heavy guitar riff for a far more industrial, Nine Inch Nails-esque arrangement.

Royal Blood's brand-new take, on the other hand, stays comparatively more faithful to Metallica's original, incorporating distorted riffing and acoustic drums – with a rather walloping kick – underneath bassist Mike Kerr's characteristic vocals. It does however see Hammett's solo somewhat rewritten, reducing note count and making room for some huge bends. Check out its avant-garde-style music video below.

Sad But True has also been covered by English singer-songwriter Sam Fender, and turned into a frenzied, country-fried blues romp by Americana A-listers Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit.

Royal Blood's cover of Sad But True comes hot on the heels of their latest studio album, Typhoons, which dropped back in April. In a May interview with Guitar World, Kerr noted that the duo were keen to shake things up with the record.

“We wanted it to feel like a debut record, in a sense,” he explained. “I think this is the first time we've really evolved the band's sound, to be honest with you. This is probably the first time we've ever really surprised people.”

Set to arrive September 10 via Blackened Recordings, The Metallica Blacklist is described by the band as a “fitting and limitless homage, one that features bands who've shared stages with Metallica alongside artists who are younger than the original album”. 

“It’s a truly staggering, at times mystifying assemblage of musicians, dozens of whom have little to nothing in common other than the shared passion for the music that’s united them for this album,” the thrash titans continue.

Proceeds from the release will be divided evenly between Metallica's All Within My Hands foundation and over 50 charities chosen by the artists who appear on the record.

Sam Roche

Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.