If you follow the site, you may already know that part of the anniversary re-release of METALLICA‘s “Metallica” (aka “The Black Album”) was a collection of covers by various artists entitled “The Metallica Blacklist.” Hopefully by now, we’ve all had a good chuckle at the trainwreck of a “Nothing Else Matters” cover by Miley Cyrus et al., so today we’re going to flip that around and look at one of the best covers: “Enter Sandman” as done by Swedish GHOST.
To really understand how great this cover is, we need to take a moment to talk about what makes a great cover. Ultimately, the two main things to look out for are: a clear and concise representation of the original song; and a sound is distinctly representative of the band doing the cover. With this in mind, GHOST‘s version of “Enter Sandman” is essentially the perfect example of a great cover.
The song is not immediately recognizable as the big radio hit, thanks to the moody slow piano that starts the track, at least until Papa Emeritus IV (aka Tobias Forge) begins singing. The doomy, moody style perfectly suits the lyrics, especially when he drones “exit light” the first time. The band doesn’t join in until “we’re off to never-neverland” and then we get a taste of the original band’s rocking sound. However, it’s Papa‘s voice and the stylish addition of piano that help keep the sound so distinctly GHOST. One of the Faceless Ghouls does a very strong solo, which has a kick of groovy piano backing towards the end for some GHOST flavor, which returns again as we reach the returning riff and “now I lay me down to sleep.” Papa‘s voice is eerie yet catchy at “hush little baby, don’t say a word,” building the hype up for a bombastic chorus that plays out until the end, with a little riff-jam to wrap it up.
What can I say? GHOST nailed it! Not only does the song sound like it’d be at home on any of their albums as an original, it completely maintains the METALLICA spirit of strong riffing with a history of thrash in the overall execution. I tip my hat to you, Papa & co.