Iron Horse

Fade to Bluegrass: The Bluegrass Tribute to Metallica (CMH Records)

Heavy metal and bluegrass go together like angry steelworkers and precious little cucumber finger sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Nonetheless, the acoustic pluckers in Alabama's Iron Horse take on the music of Metallica, to middling results. No doubt this horse knows its way around a dobro, a mando, a banjo, but who cares? This is Metallica we're talking about, an ass-whuppin' band that's more apt to make you want to bomb Fallujah than contemplate a mountain stream or a sweetly rendered G-run. The bulk of the tunes on this yo-yo sound like something better suited to an outdoor stage at a strawberry festival -- "Unforgiven," "Nothing Else Matters," Enter Sandman," "Hero of the Day" and even the title cut "Fade to Black" are all reduced to sappy dreck in the hands of these well-intentioned chicken-lickers. An attempt to "Ride the Lightning" results in similar disappointment. Before the disc fades to black, however, the final two cuts, "Fuel" and "The Four Horsemen," serve up some actual chicken-lickin' and strawberry-pickin' that even the staunchest metallurgist can appreciate.
 
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