In terms of classic metal songs, there are few with as much crossover appeal as Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” The song’s driving guitar riff is all but guaranteed to make an audience bang their heads, whether they’re metal fans or not. But what would it sound like if this Black Album hit were reinterpreted to appeal to fans of other genres? Would it sound like hot garbage or would it the strength of the song writing prevail?
The answer, as it turns out, is a bit of both. In a new video from Music Is Win, a YouTube channel dedicated to analyzing and having fun with different styles of guitar playing, we get a chance to hear what “Enter Sandman” would sound like as a triumphant pop punk song, a whammy-laden funk tune, a smooth jazz ballad, and more. For the most part, these interpretations work surprisingly well. The harmonic foundation that Metallica laid down is enough to carry even the most tenuously defined genres like “indie” and “instrumental rock.” When it comes to genres like “techno” and “hip-hop,” we start to lose the thread of what actually makes this song enjoyable. But those failings might have less to do with the versatility of “Enter Sandman” and more to do with the video maker’s lack of knowledge of those musical genres in the first place (something that’s clarified by his choice of costumes).
As a special treat, after surviving this musical onslaught, the video rewards viewers with an appropriately metal rendition of the song as it is meant to be played. This segment also seems to double as an advertisement for Kirk Hammett’s Cry Baby Wah pedal, which you can presumably purchase and use to transpose Metallica’s entire discography into ska.