James Hetfield makes a rare guest appearance on the title track of Heart’s upcoming album Beautiful Broken. The short, hard-rocking song originally came out as a bonus track on the group’s 2012 LP Fanatic. The new version finds singer Ann Wilson trading verses about a hot mess of a woman amid jagged riffs with the Metallica frontman, who provides harmonies and the occasional breakout.
“The neo-punk ‘Beautiful Broken’ is a raw, muscular look at a ripped and torn beauty; a fabulous insanity,” Wilson tells Rolling Stone. “James Hetfield of Metallica makes a surprise appearance uttering the clarifying message, ‘just like you and me,’ just to make sure this girl doesn’t feel special. It’s a ripper from the folks who brought you ‘Break’ and ‘Barracuda.'”
The track is one of a handful of songs that Heart decided to re-record in a new way for the album. Ann’s sister Nancy has described Beautiful Broken as “classic Heart,” and it contains new versions of 1980’s “Down on Me” and “Sweet Darlin'” and 1982’s “City’s Burning,” among others. “Those songs may have fallen through the cracks, in a way, because of where radio was at the time when they were first released,” Ann has said. “Rediscovering those songs, I found ways they emotionally still speak to me.” The record, which is due out July 8th, also contains three new originals.
Hetfield and Nancy Wilson performed at the same benefit, Acoustic-4-a-Cure, in 2014, though they did not play together.
Hetfield has made appearances on only a handful of non-Metallica releases during his three-decade career, with spots on Danzig’s 1988 self-titled debut, Corrosion of Conformity’s 1996 Wiseblood LP, Jim Martin’s 1997 album Milk and Blood and Primus’ 1999 offering Antipop. He also joined Gov’t Mule on the NASCAR compilation track “Drivin’ Rain” and can be heard singing “Hell Isn’t Good” on the soundtrack to South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut with the TV series’ creators.