Harptallica is scheduled to perform on Sunday, May 18.
Hollywood Alley in Mesa
Unlike corn or that long-overdue Scott Baio retrospective on The Biography Channel, the world is not running low on Metallica cover bands. After performing a quick Internet search, we found some with predictable names (Holland-based The Unforgiven, the online-only Sad But True), other generic outfits (The Greedy Bastards are German, The Four Horseman live in Ohio), and one, Beatallica, who claim to mix the Beatles and Metallica "in new and strange ways." (Yuck. We'll pass.) Unlike these bands, the all-harp Metallica tribute band Harptallica takes an original approach to reinterpreting songs made by one of the most influential rock bands of our time. Professional harpists Ashley Lancz Toman and Patricia Kline perform tunes from classic Metallica albums such as Master of Puppets and . . . And Justice for All (basically anything from The Black Album going backwards). At times, we're not sure that the quiet, melodic approach works. Obviously, on songs like the already-euphonic "The Unforgiven," the sweeping string arrangements sound amazing. During other tunes, such as "One," we are waiting for those pulsating bass lines and James Hetfield's guttural growls to punch us upside the head. But in a way, the stripped-down approach is welcome because Harptallica brings out the more subtle depths often hidden in those intense rocking-out moments that all Metallica fans love.