Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

“For Whom The Bell Tolls” on tiny little toy bells still shreds

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Generally, toy-instrument covers somehow manage to make a song sound cute and approachable. This is not the case for Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls,” which, even when performed via a bunch of brightly colored toy bells and a xylophone, sounds like a sweeping battalion of skeleton horses raining death upon the countryside. James Hetfield’s vocal parts are recreated via tiny smiling toy bears, which seem here to be grinning in mockery of man’s hubris, of his lustful destruction of himself. The whole track features an ungodly hum that eventually overtakes it, toppling the bells, as death eventually does to us all. You cannot render “For Whom The Bell Tolls” cute; like death, it is undefeated.

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