Written by Alex Stojanovic
James Hetfield - Lead vocals & rhythm guitars
Lars Ulrich - Drums
Kirk Hammett - Lead guitars
Rob Trujillo - Bass & backing vocals
Release Date: May 1, 2020
Label: Blackened Recordings
Metallica has gone through a lot in the last year, with the biggest thing being that to postpone their tour of Australia and New Zealand in October 2019, due to the fact that James Hetfield had to return to rehab for the first time since 2002. It came as a shock to all their peers and us fans.
On the musical front, Metallica had a bunch of U.S. festival shows and stadium dates in South America booked for this year, but the COVID-19 crisis caused all those shows to be postponed/cancelled. While in quarantine, James, Lars, Kirk and Rob did something that nobody saw coming, and that was a re-worked acoustic version of "Blackened", aptly titled "Blackened 2020". When I read that it was an acoustic version, I was very curious. Obviously, the new version received mixed responses from fans and critics alike, with people really liking how it came out, and surprised at how good it sounded, and people calling it an abomination, which we all saw coming. The hardcore fans are obviously the ones that are the most cranky. I'm one of the hardcore fans, but I rather enjoyed it. I really liked how in the chorus, they made the 6/4 time signature have more of a 6/8 feel. Being used to the original version, it really threw me for a loop because it was so different.
Every time that Metallica releases a new recording, both sides of the fan base erupt. There's the people that love it, or there's a whole crisis and people get their panties in a bunch. I love how Metallica did this merely as an experiment. They are now going to use the quarantine to work on the Hardwired follow-up.