So yeah, Metallica covered a Slayer song once and there’s footage to prove it

Metallica’s James Hetfield and Slayer’s Tom Araya live on stage separately
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Metallica are metal’s reigning kings of the cover version. Diamond Head’s Am I Evil, Misfits’ Last Caress/Green Hell and Die Die My Darling, Bob Seger’s Turn The Page, Anti-Nowhere League’s So What? – you name it, they’ve done it.

Given their fondness for taking on other people’s songs, every Metall-fan has thought at some point: “What would it sound like if Metallica covered Slayer?” It was never going to happen, of course – despite the two bands starting out at roughly the same time and shaping the nascent thrash metal scene, the beams never crossed. Metallica were just too big and Slayer were just too, well, fast.

Except… Metallica have covered a Slayer song. Back in 2009, James, Lars, Kirk and Rob were jamming in their backstage rehearsal room before a show when suddenly they launched into an instrumental version of Raining Blood, the closing song from Slayer’s 1986 masterpiece Reign In Blood.

Luckily someone captured footage of this impromptu jam. Granted it isn’t a full-fledged cover. The whole thing lasts barely a minute, and James Hetfield wisely doesn’t attempt to copy Tom Araya’s malevolent roar,, although he does bring a steel-plated groove to the original’s main riff. 

t”s short and sweet, and they kind of ruin it by breaking off to play St Anger, but it’s tantalising enough to make us wonder what would happen if Metallica did serve up a proper Slayer cover. 

Check out the footage below.

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