VARIOUS ARTISTS – None Blacker: A Tribute To Metallica

VARIOUS ARTISTS - None Blacker: A Tribute To Metallica


Perris Records
Release date: November 25, 2003

User Review
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None Blacker. You have to admit; that’s a kick ass name for an album. None Blacker is a Metallica tribute album, and no, St. Anger and other songs from their new release just didn’t make the cut. Instead, you’ll get an amalgam of songs from their entire catalog. Barring St. Anger, of course.

You might ask yourself “Why do we need another Metallica tribute album?” Can any band really add anything new to Metallica’s honed perfection? The answer is obvious: no. But good songs are good songs, period. Hearing a band tackle songs you’ve head banged to since you were a teenager is just fun. Love it or hate it, cover tunes/tribute albums aren’t going away. So just be happy this isn’t a tribute to Gorky Park …

Enertia starts off the blackness with their rendition of “Sad But True.” Enertia is a New York based metal band, who you probably haven’t heard of. This is another reason why cover albums are a good idea — they expose you to things you may never experience. In this case, Enertia gets things moving with a note for note perfect cover. Vocally, Scott Featherstone handles Hetfield well, and doesn’t try too hard to sound like him, which can kill any cover. (Unless you sing for Godsmack, ahem.) Anyhoo, while this cover plays it close to the vest, Enertia covers “Welcome Home (Sanitarium),” as well. While the music stays true to form, the vocals are changed somewhat, with the addition of backing vocals that transform the chorus into something that doesn’t sound exactly like Metallica. And it works.

Lillian Axe’s guitarist Steve Blaze joins the fray with his cover of “Master of Puppets.” If you aren’t a Lillian Axe fan, you should be, because you’d know his playing style is perfect for this kind of music. It’s not clear if he handles the vocals as well, but the voice sounds nothing like Hetfield. Instead, it’s sort of a Germanic, nasal, throaty delivery that hits all the notes. Anyway, the guitar playing here is excellent, bringing back fond memories of the time when Metallica wrote guitar solos in their songs …

Every Mother’s Nightmare try their hand at “Wherever I May Roam.” The riffing here is more precise and clinical than the original version, almost like they are trying not to screw up. The vocals here are a little too airy to cover the anger Hetfield exudes. This kind of music really isn’t Every Mother’s Nightmare’s strength.

It’s hard to believe someone can make “Jump in the Fire” faster and heavier than the original. Brutal Faith does just that, especially with the drumming. This is probably the coolest musical cover and worst vocal cover on the CD. The vocals are sort of barked, and even though we all know the words, it’s hard to make out what he’s saying.

Animal Mother do a good job with “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and Blessed Agony just misses with “Ride the Lightning.” Blessed Agony sounds like they are covering Cradle of Filth covering Metallica here. It’s not always a good idea to make a song “your own,” as they prove.

At the end of the CD, you’ll get a few original samples from bands on the CD. They all run about 1:30 and give you a taste of what the bands sound like playing music they wrote. An interesting concept, to tell the truth …

Basically, None Blacker is exactly what you’d expect from a tribute album. There’s the good, the bad, and the god-awful ugly. But getting introduced to bands like Enertia and Animal Mother makes up for any negatives you might take away from this CD.

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