Metallica's "Enter Sandman" is, without question, the biggest heavy metal song the world will ever know. So, reasonably, why would any band want to take on such an imposing song and cover it? We don't have that answer, but we did round up the 12 best covers of that all-time 'Tallica hit.
First, let it be known that there is not an overabundance of "Enter Sandman" covers to choose from, but what we're left to work with is a varied assortment that ranges from faithful recreations of the original to wholly unique versions that find the song repurposed as a lounge track. Somehow, it all works.
Leave both ears open, grip your pillow tight and indulge in the 12 Best Covers of Metallica's "Enter Sandman."
It’s always a bit strange when a band covers a band they directly had a major influence on. Or maybe that’s just us… Whatever the case may be, Motorhead’s version of “Enter Sandman” is, of course, bloody brilliant. Was there ever any doubt? Lemmy had the Midas Touch of rock ‘n’ roll and, while everything he touched turned to figurative gold, Metallica managed to turn everything platinum — at least by RIAA standards.
Foo Fighters (With 10-Year-Old Kid)
Hey, no pressure kid — it’s not like Dave Grohl plucked you from the audience to stand onstage in front of nearly 20,000 people in Kansas City. 10-year-old Collier didn’t sweat it and confidently played through the first chorus of “Enter Sandman” before Dave Grohl cut it short. The kid played in time with the band and then mentioned he knows “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” too… YEAH!!
Volbeat (With Lars Ulrich)
Metallica have taken Denmark’s Volbeat out on the road numerous times in their career and really helped the band break through in America in particular. The level of respect between the two groups is clearly mutual, perhaps in part because of Lars Ulrich’s Danish heritage. The drummer joined Volbeat at a sold out home country show to perform a Volbeat original followed by “Enter Sandman.” It was all captured on the Let’s Boogie! (Live From Telia Parken).
Jonh 5 can play quite literally anything on guitar. So why not tackle one of Metallica’s most complex tracks — perhaps one of the daring arrangements off ...And Justice for All? Well, this is no ordinary cover, which should’ve been the prevailing presumption from the jump. There’s no singing here, just sizzling lead guitar playing that mimics James Hetfield’s vocal cadence. The spoken word prayer, however, remains intact and breaks things up perfectly.
Burton C. Bell / Tommy Aldridge / Robert Trujillo / John Christ
In 2001, two years before Rob Trujillo joined Metallica, he was featured on an all-star cover of “Enter Sandman.” Joining him was Fear Factory singer Burton C. Bell, the criminally underrated John Christ of the Danzig band on guitar and drummer Tommy Aldridge, who had notably performed with Whitesnake and Ozzy to name a couple. The push and pull dynamic to the riffing is a natural fit for Christ, and now we’re curious how this would sound like as a classic Danzig track.
Apocalyptica, the world’s premiere “cello metal” band, one-upped Metallica at their own game. ‘Tallica’s merging of symphony orchestra and heavy metal on the groundbreaking S & M live album obviously left a lasting impact on the Finnish group. Consider this cover a black tie affair for headbangers.
Formed in 2000 in Los Angeles, Richard Cheese and the Lounge Against the Machine make their intent quite obvious: flip classic rock, metal and alternative songs into big band-styled lounge jams. This is an ideal compromise between the “what’s that noise?” and the “if it’s too loud, you’re too old” crowds.
Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star
The Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star collections are band-specific compilations that transform hits and hidden gems alike into lullaby songs for what parents are hoping will result in soon-to-be metalheads. We can’t think of a more perfect song than “Enter Sandman” for this purpose — after all, it is about tucking children into bed and whisking them off to dreamland.
The Melodicka Bros. YouTube channel is always cooking up some interesting covers, oftentimes picking a certain mood as the sticking point for the direction. This “way too sleepy” version of “Enter Sandman” couples quite well with the lullaby version we just mentioned. Ironically, it has a nice sunrise vibe to it!
The state of heavy metal in 1997 was a curious one. It was made all the more perplexing when reigning ‘50s singer-songwriter Pat Boone put out the In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy covers album. Listen, it’s great that a legend such as Boone was even cognizant of metal, but we can’t help but wonder what type of fan this was aimed at. Regardless, this is a big band cover that’s far more earnest than the over-the-top flair of Richard Cheese.
In 1993, German industrial pioneers Die Krupps issued a nine-song EP of Metallica covers. Opening the release was a cover of the shit-hot “Enter Sandman,” which had positively overtaken the world at that point in time. Kirk Hammett’s iconic riff gets a mechanized makeover and, what’s most surprising, is that Die Krupps didn’t utilize the original version’s rigid downbeat for a typical industrial stomp.
Featuring the vocal talent of Austin Dickinson, son of legendary Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson, Rise to Remain laid it on thick with a faithful recreation of metal’s biggest song. When Bruce rejoined Maiden, he took aim at Metallica (more so out of drumming up publicity as the lovably egotistical frontman we know him to be rather than any sort of personal vendetta), so we can’t help but wonder what the walls within the Dickinson home heard when the topic of this cover came up.