Various Artists “The Metallica Blacklist” (Rhino/Blackened Recordings)
Imagine a giant all-you-can-eat buffet, row after row of hot, steaming offerings. The thing is, there are only 12 items on the menu, like seven trays of meatballs each cooked by a different chef.
That's what you get with “The Metallica Blacklist,” a 53-song orgy of covers of Metallica's self-titled 1991 album better known as “The Black Album.” Because there are so many different artists contributing, there's a ton of repetition here; no fewer than 12 different artists cover “Nothing Else Matters.” The most attention-grabbing collaboration is by Miley Cyrus with instrumentation from Elton John and Yo-Yo Ma.
Ghost drenches “Enter Sandman” with as much piano as guitar, while Weezer offers a nearly note-for-note replication of the original.
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit take the pounding “Sad But True” and turn it into a country fried romp that could be the backing track for a hundred movie pickup truck chase scenes.
There is punk, pop, classical, jazz, rap, electronica, a Mongolian folk-metal band (yes, that's a thing) and more here. But here's something else that's sad but true: If you're old enough to have bought this album and gotten into it when it first came out, you'll probably have no idea who more than half these artists are.
In the end, this box set is a lot like a musical buffet: It has some real gems; some reassuring comfort food; some unexpectedly tasty items, and some you spit right back out into your napkin.