Metallica are no strangers to the concept of the cover song. In 1987, the San Francisco thrashers released The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited, an extended play of covers that later became part of Garage Inc., a double-album featuring even more covers.
Metallica have long enjoyed paying homage to those rockers who have influenced them, and over the years, many bands have similarly enjoyed paying their respects to ‘Tallica. In celebration of those artists who have taken the responsibility of covering one of the most successful bands ever, we’ve compiled an eclectic list of some of our favorite tributes.
Scroll through the list below to see who ranks among the best at covering Metallica:
Mac DeMarco, “Enter Sandman” (2015)
At times it can be a bit hard to place Mac DeMarco in any one musical genre, but one thing is for sure: His encore performance at Bonnaroo on June 11, 2015, rocks, and it rocks hard.
DeMarco is joined in full force with his bandmates as they tear through a cover of what is arguably Metallica’s most famous song, ���Enter Sandman,” from their 1991 self-titled record. Though the music matches the ferocity of the original, DeMarco’s lyrics lend some comedy, albeit crass, to the song.
There has always been a mutual respect between French rockers Gojira and Mighty Metallica, so it makes sense that the former would offer a cover of the latter. What makes less sense, though, is that they would decide to cover one of Metallica’s least favorite tracks, Ride the Lightning’s “Escape.”
On the Japanese release of From Mars to Sirius, Gojira offer the cover as an exclusive bonus track. Regardless of Metallica’s personal feelings toward the original, there is no denying that Gojira have lent a heavy, crushing and unforgettable retelling of “Escape.”
Post Malone, “Nothing Else Matters” (2017)
No matter what you might think of rapper Post Malone and his music, it’s clear that Metallica are counted among his fans. Following their December 2018 show in Fresno, Calif., Lars Ulrich shared a photo of Posty hanging with him and Robert Trujillo, and the rapper shared a series of photos featuring all the members of Metallica.
This crossover hang session came a little more than a year after Malone decided to share his own take on “Nothing Else Matters” at a gig in Dallas, Texas. Though he admits he’s a little nervous—and a little drunk—about the cover, his fandom is real and shines in his rendition.
Flotsam and Jetsam, “Damage, Inc.” (2004)
Flotsam and Jetsam not only entered the world of metal in 1981, the same year of the advent of Metallica, but they also were the rock family of bassist Jason Newsted prior to him joining Metallica in 1986. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that they were part of Metallic Attack: The Ultimate Tribute in honor of ‘Tallica.
Rather than sharing their take on one of Metallica’s singles, they pulled out all the stops to create a faithfully dark cover of the closing track on Master of Puppets, “Damage, Inc.” Eric A.K.’s distinct vocals ring loud throughout, leaving fans with a memorable imagining of one of the heaviest tracks of 1986.
Warren Haynes and The Dead, “Nothing Else Matters” (2004)
On August 13, 2004, Warren Haynes of The Allman Brothers Band and Gov’t Mule was joined by Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart — yes, of Grateful Dead — for a show at Jones Beach Theater outside of New York City. In the middle of a massive two-set show, Haynes leads the Dead through their performance of “Nothing Else Matters.”
If fans are looking for a precise cover of the track, look to Post Malone; in a way that only they can, Haynes and company elevate “Nothing Else Matters” to legendary status within the jam band world. To this day, this is the only time the Dead covered “Nothing Else Matters.”
Trivium, “Master of Puppets” (2006)
Like Gojira, Trivium’s existence has always seemed to be intertwined with their respect for and admiration of Metallica. In fact, it was frontman Matt Heafy covering Metallica at a middle-school talent show that led to the eventual formation of Trivium in 1999.
With the worldwide re-release of their sophomore LP, Ascendancy, Trivium decided to commemorate their roots with a cover of one of Heafy’s favorites, “Master of Puppets.” The result is a modern, blistering and unerring version of one of the greatest songs in the history of heavy metal.
Rodrigo y Gabriela, “Orion” (2006)
On their self-titled second LP, Mexican acoustic rockers Rodrigo y Gabriela share their love for rock ’n’ roll with two covers: Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and Metallica’s “Orion.” Having long admitted the influence heavy metal has had on their music, it’s no surprise that they decided to pay their respects to Metallica.
Over the years, they’ve gotten to jam with Robert Trujillo live in concert and they’ve even covered “One” from ...And Justice for All. But their stunning take on Cliff Burton’s bass-heavy track from Master of Puppets will forever shine as their crowning nod to ‘Tallica.
Juanes, “Seek and Destroy” (2019)
Colombian rocker Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez has gained notoriety both as a solo artist, Juanes, and as a member of the thrash metal outfit, Ekhymosis. At the 2019 edition of the Rock al Parque festival in Colombia, Juanes added a bit more notoriety to his career as he rocked a ferocious cover of “Seek and Destroy.”
He and his band do their absolute best and most authentic Metallica impression — complete with pyro. Their efforts did not go unnoticed; Metallica took to Twitter to share their respect for Juanes and his cover.
The Dirty Nil, “Hit the Lights” (2018)
On their 2018 album, Master Volume, Canadian alt-rockers The Dirty Nil put their name on the list of artists covering Metallica. To close out the LP, The Dirty Nil cover “Hit the Lights,” one of the thrashiest tracks on Kill ‘Em All.
While the cover maintains the thrashness of the original, frontman Luke Bentham bathes the track in his signature punk howl as he screams, “Hit the lights! Hit the lights!” It’s safe to say this intense cover will remain one of the best Metallica covers ever for a long, long time.
Motörhead, “Whiplash” (2005)
Motörhead earned their first-ever Grammy award for a cover — but not just any cover. The late, great Lemmy Kilmister and his bandmates contributed their take on Kill ‘Em All’s “Whiplash” for Metallic Attack: The Ultimate Tribute. Though Kilmister wasn’t that excited to get a Grammy for someone else’s song — he famously called the recognition a “mercy fuck” — there’s no denying the sheer force that this cover embodies.
Kilmister’s filthy bass is all over the track as his inimitable voice takes over Hetfield’s duties, making this his song now. Rightfully so, Motörhead alter one of the words in the lyrics to truly make it their own, with Kilmister belting out, “We’ll never stop / We’ll never quit / We’re Motörhead.” Motörhead’s tribute to the band and the track, which was the first-ever single released by Metallica, will forever remain one of the greatest covers ever recorded. The reality that Metallica are honored by their hero only makes this cover that much more special.