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Metallica - Garage Inc. CD (album) cover

GARAGE INC.

Metallica

 

Prog Related

3.39 | 120 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Garage Inc." is a compilation cover tunes album (yes I do not regard this as a regular full-length studio album) by US heavy metal/ thrash metal act Metallica. The album was released in 1998 by Vertigo Records between the studio album releases of "Reload (1997)" and "St. Anger (2003)". "Garage Inc." is a double CD release compiled from various recording sessions between 1984 and 1998. The eleven tracks on Disc 1 are all exclusively recorded for and released on "Garage Inc." while most songs on Disc 2 (excluding the Mötorhead songs which I don´t believe have been released elsewhere) have been released before. Disc 2 features all songs from the out of print "The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited (1987)" EP, the B-side songs from the "Creeping Death (1984)" EP and some B-sides from the years 1988 - 1991.

This is Metallica letting it all hang out just having fun with songs they really enjoy playing by artists that have inspired them to make their own music the way they do. The thick booklet is actually quite informative and filled with funny anekdotes about the songs and the artists that Metallica have chosen to cover. I especially enjoy the anekdote where bassist Jason Newsted talks about Lemmy from Motörhead rubbing his warts against his cheek during a Metallica live performance at Lemmy´s 50 years birthday. That story is just great fun. When the king of bastardized rock´n´roll decides to rub his warts against your cheek you better be prepared to take it. Metallica´s regular studio albums usually takes years to prepare and record but many of these songs are rehearsed and recorded within a very short time span mostly to have fun and not neccessarily to make great everlasting art.

Disc 1 contains some really great material recorded in September to Oktober 1998. It´s not very long ago that I reviewed "Reload" which was Metallica´s latest studio album at the time and that album sounds pretty tired and uninspired to my ears and therefore it´s such a great pleasure to lay ears to the songs on Disc 1 which are so full of energy and the joy of playing. Metallica may have had their most uninspired period of their career in those years but they sure do play with lots of energy and conviction on these cover tunes. Along with the usual Diamond Head cover ("It's Electric") we´re also treated to songs such as "Free Speech for the Dumb" and "The More I See" by hardcore/punk act Discharge, "Sabbra Cadabra" by UK heavy metal/ doom metal legends Black Sabbath, "Die, Die My Darling" by Amercian punk act Misfits, an 11 minute long Mercyful Fate medley, "Tuesday's Gone" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Loverman" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and "Whiskey in the Jar" by Thin Lizzy. The Bob Seger song "Turn the Page" which has appeared many times on the set list at Metallica concerts is also worth a mention. "Astronomy" by Blue Öyster Cult also gets the Metallica treatment. All songs are enjoyable and played with conviction. Being a great Mercyful Fate fan the medley is a favorite on Disc 1 but I also greatly enjoy "Loverman" and "Turn the Page" which both shows a different side of Metallica than we´re used to.

As mentioned above Disc 2 features all songs from the out of print "The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited (1987)" EP, the B-side songs from the "Creeping Death (1984)" EP, some B-sides from the years 1988 - 1991 and a Motörhead jam session called "Motörheadache" which includes the songs "Overkill", "Damage Case", "Stone Dead Forever" and "Too Late Too Late". All songs appear in their original form on some of the early Motörhead releases like "Bomber (1979)" and "Overkill (1979)". "The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited (1987)" EP is of course a classic Metallica release from the eighties. It´s the first release by the band to feature the then new bassist Jason Newsted after the death of original bassist Cliff Burton in a tragic tour bus accident on the 27th of September 1986 near Dörarp, Sweden. The five (well actually six) songs from that EP brings back so many memories for me. Pure nostalgia. Metallica was such a powerful force back then and the covers of "Helpless"/i> by Diamond Head, "The Small Hours" by Holocaust, "The Wait" by Killing Joke, "Crash Course in Brain Surgery" by Budgie and "Last Caress / Green Hell" by Misfits are all given just the right treatment to come off convincing and powerful. Metallica made these songs their own. The next two songs on Disc 2 are the two B-side tracks from the "Creeping Death" EP. "Am I Evil?" by Diamond Head and "Blitzkrieg" by Blitzkrieg. The first has been played at numerous occasions at Metallica live shows. A real crowd pleaser and one of the most famous Metallica cover songs. The two tracs were recorded in 1984 which of course means that it´s Cliff Burton playing the bass. The next five tracks are B-sides to single and EP releases from the years 1988 - 1991. The first two, "Breadfan" by Budgie and "The Prince" by Diamond Head, were recorded during the "...And Justice for All" sessions and feature about the same production as the rest of that album. Both songs were initially featured on the B-side to the "Harvester of Sorrow (1998)" single/ EP release. "Breadfan" is also featured as the B-side to the "Eye of the Beholder (1988)" single/ EP release. Both songs are fast-paced an aggressive. Some of the highlights on "Garage Inc.", "Stone Cold Crazy" by Queen, "So What?" by Anti-Nowhere League and "Killing Time" by Sweet Savage were all recorded during the sessions for "Metallica (1991)". "Stone Cold Crazy" appeared as the B-side to the "Enter Sandman (1991)" single, "So What?" and "Killing Time" both appeared on the B-side to the "Unforgiven (1991)" single. "So What?" also appeared on the B-side to the "Sad but True (1992)" single. I like the punk attiude, the explicit lyrics and the wild energy of "So What?". "Stone Cold Crazy" is also a powerful and enjoyable song and "Killing Time" is a great retro heavy metal track. The "Motörheadache" jam session comes off as some of the weakest material on "Garage Inc." IMO. The songs are raw one-takes as far as I can hear and they simply lack some polish. That´s an aquired taste though and some will probably enjoy the Motörhead covers a bit more than I do. To be honest they left me a bit indifferent.

The idea to release "Garage Inc." is an excellent one. This is your chance to get a lot of rare tracks and B-sides in addition to the new cover songs on Disc 1 which was recorded with this release in mind. Maybe it´s wrong to call the tracks rare when the EPs and singles they are taken from have probably sold thousands of copies but "Garage Inc." is a great way to get those non-album tracks in a compiled package. The quality varies slightly but there are nothing below average (well... maybe those Motörhead covers are a bit below average) on this compilation and a 3.5 - 4 star rating is deserved. I´m ready to call it extremely entertaining and a great purchase.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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