The 50 best albums of 2023
The Kerrang! verdict on the 50 albums that shaped 2023.
Metallica’s Blackened American Whiskey isn’t made like other whiskeys. As well as tasting really, really good, there’s a big part of The Four Horsemen in every batch that makes it very Metallica, and very, very metal. Using their own patented BLACK NOISE™ technique, the master distiller at Sweet Amber Distilling Co. literally blast the barrels with the band’s tunes in order to vibrate the wood and literally shake out more flavour into the drink. Delightfully devilish, Metallica. And delicious.
To, ahem, distill the spirit of one of the most thrilling and groundbreaking live performances of the band’s career, for Batch 106 the barrels were treated to the recordings from last year’s stunning S&M2 shows, recorded in the band’s San Francisco hometown with the local symphony orchestra, laid on to mark the opening of the new Chase Center, as well as salute 20 years since the original S&M shows.
“The S&M2 performances were a challenge for us,” says guitarist Kirk Hammett. “The first S&M shows in 1999 were such a pivotal part of Metallica’s evolution. We knew we had to mark their 20th anniversary on an even bigger scale, but without sacrificing any of the intimacy of those shows. The reaction has been incredible, to the shows and the album, and we’re thrilled to be able to bring those same S&M2 vibes to Blackened.”
“I was actually at the arena for both nights of the S&M2 concert,” adds Rob Dietrich, Master Distiller/Blender for BLACKENED. “The insane energy that exuded from both the fans and performers is unforgettable. It’s amazing to bring that spirit and passion to Blackened.”
As well you would. This special Batch 106 playlist with cuts from the two nights is infused with the same energy and ingenuity that made the project such a triumph. Like reimagining their songs with an orchestra – or indeed, removing themselves completely, as on the brilliant, double-bass solo interpretation of (Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth – the process fully celebrates Metallica’s pioneering way of thinking and doing things their own way.
Even the packaging is metal, with Batch 106 coming in a special commemorative presentation box, featuring artwork designed by S&M2 cover artist and longtime Metallica visual collaborator Squindo. And if you’re into that, there’s a chance to win a limited-edition T-shirt featuring the artwork. The contest begins October 14, 2020 and runs through November 14, 2020 with multiple winners selected daily.
Batch 106 is available to order now. And if you want to know how the whiskey felt as it sat in the barrel getting buzzed by the vibrations of S&M2, the full playlist used in the process is…
Just over one month on from announcing Foo Fighters as 2024 headliners, Hellfest have added a ton more bands – including Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Machine Head, The Prodigy, Enter Shikari, Bruce Dickinson and Corey Taylor…
Ithaca singer Djamila Azzouz talks us through the soundtrack to her life. Spoiler alert: she likes Slipknot. Double-spoiler alert: “F*ck Toploader…”
Check out Ashley Maile’s incredible, iconic work – featuring everyone from My Chemical Romance to blink-182 to Linkin Park to Pearl Jam to Metallica – at the newly-relaunched website, and see how you can be in with a chance of winning his photo book.
After going viral for watching Judas Priest front-row at Power Trip, Metallica’s James Hetfield reflects on the experience: “There’s fans behind us, looking at us. They’re watching us enjoy that. How cool!”
The Four Horsemen will be dropping each album between November and March next year.
Decorated swimmer and cyclist Jody Cundy pulled out AC/DC’s Thunderstruck in week two of the dancing contest…