Metallica's gloomy epic The Unforgiven given a sunny makeover with saxophone and a '60s pop groove is a mind-altering trip

Metallica mash-up, More Forgiven Today Than Yesterday
(Image credit: Bill McClintock YouTube)

The Unforgiven, the gloomy, epic power ballad at the heart of Metallica's 1991 masterpiece 'The Black Album' is no-one's idea of a party anthem. Written, as James Hetfield explained to Maximum Guitar magazine in 1998, "about alienation and, kind of, regret in life", and informed by the singer's upbringing in a Christian Scientist household, it's one of the most bleak and emotionally-heavy songs in the Metallica canon.

"What The Unforgiven really needs is a cheery '60s pop groove, and a perky saxophone intro," thought no-one, ever... no-one, that is, except YouTube mash-up maestro Bill McClintock.

We have made no secret of our love for McClintock's fabulously imaginative, frequently mind-blowing work tinkering with the DNA of classic songs, and sending them back into the world rewired, revitalised and reborn: wanna hear how Black Sabbath might sound collaborating with Wham!? Geezer Butler is into it. Fancy hearing Judas Priest fronted by James Brown? Bill McClintock is your man. Need to check the aural offspring of Prince and Slayer? You know where to come.

Full disclosure: until today, no-one working here was familiar with Spiral Starecase's 1969 Billboard chart hit More Today Than Yesterday, and not just because none of us were alive when the Sacramento, California pop band was enjoying its 15 minutes of fame. But, every day's a school day for the open-minded, so cheers for the education B. Mac, as no-one has ever called him surely.

Anyways, enough talk: featuring Spiral Starecase's More Today Than Yesterday , War's Low Rider and a drum part from For Whom the Bell Tolls, here's The Unforgiven as you've never heard it before: you're welcome. 

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.