Dig if you will, the picture of a sold-out Metallica show where thousands of fans are held captive to one of the worst covers ever performed. Dream if you can, a stadium where a two-person rendition of Prince classic “When Doves Cry” fills the air like a toxic cloud. Watch a clip for yourself to hear what it sounds like when taste dies.
After performing last Tuesday night, on a September 4th that will live forever more in infamy, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo have made an indelible mark on music history. Forget the parts they’ve played in the band itself. None of it matters anymore. Forevermore, the two will—must—be associated with a cover so heinous that it’d be sort of funny if it wasn’t fundamentally evil in nature.
Uploaded to the official MetallicaTV YouTube channel with the misplaced pride of a puppy dropping a mutilated kitten on your front porch, “Rob & Kirk’s Doodle: When Doves Cry” sees the bassist and guitarist employ seemingly the worst possible choices in every aspect of the cover. Trujillo’s bass crunches out a limp foundation atop which a sneering, growling, wholly joyless recitation of Prince’s lyrics compete with the trebly distortion of Hammett’s “12 year-old jamming in their bedroom” guitar part.
Amidst this sea of misery, specific moments stand out. Note Trujillo double-stopping an atonal chord just before the chorus and yelling, “Come on!” to incite an unenthusiastic audience singalong; hold your breath as Hammett noodles a seemingly time-killing, single-note solo over the second verse; take a swig of Pepto before the woefully Revolution-inspired outro euthanizes the sad experiment with the same fumbling timing as the rest of the song.
Following decades of familiarity—including a very good documentary showing that the band is composed of giant bearded babies—it seemed impossible that Metallica could ever seem scary again. Now, though, within the space of just a few horrifying minutes, they’ve managed to regain the aura of danger surrounding their early years. At only half strength, Metallica has shown they’re still capable of shocking audiences with their music. It’s just too bad they had to commit Prince-inspired sacrilege to do so.
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