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Metallica - Garage Days - Clawing their way back to the top.
Published by kinzz
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Replay value
Average 20%

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Metallica - Garage Days - Clawing their way back to the top.

Garage Days Re-revisited - The $9.98 C.D. (EP) is an important milestone in Metallica history. Yes, its all cover tunes. Yes, it'll knock you on the floor with its power. But more than that, it's therapy. I'll explain.

In the midst of Metallica's first serious world tour of their newly released Master of Puppets (1986) (they were the opening act for the Godfather of metal, Ozzy Osbourne), tragedy struck. Their original bassist, Cliff Burton, with them for their first 3 studio releases, was killed when their tour bus slid out of control and Cliff was ejected from his window.

Their tour manager quickly gathered the surviving members together and said "Let's get the band back to the hotel." All James could think at the time was "What 'band'? There's no 'band' right now, it's just three guys."

After receiving hundreds of fan letters, and thinking that Cliff would have wanted them to go on, Metallica found a new bassist in Jason Newsted. Since they had taken so much time off, they weren't really ready to do a full-blown studio album. They went back to the basics, building a studio in their garage and just wailing on some old cover tunes by the likes of Diamond Head, Budgie, and The Misfits.

Metallica are:

James Hetfield - Vocals, Rhythm guitar
Kirk Hammett - Lead guitar
Jason Newsted - Bass
Lars Ulrich - Drums

With that out of the way, onto the songs:

Helpless (Diamond Head): This opening track of the EP begins with James humming, and you can hear Lars in the background saying, "Ready? And..."

Then all hell breaks loose, as the drumming comes up to speed, and the crisp crunch of James' ESP Explorer chugs in with a great riff that continues through much of the song.

This being Jason's first recorded performance with Metallica, they gave him a bit of space, and he gets a few bars to solo some thick, nasty, sludge-like bass, before James comes back in to double over him. Only in this case, you can still hear (and feel) the bass pounding down below.

(In ...And Justice For All, their next studio CD, Jason doubled James most of the time, and his bass sound was nearly wiped out completely.)

The song starts wrapping up with a fiery lead break by Kirk, working his way up the fretboard, and ending in a crescendo-vibrato. Sweet. The song slows, and crawls its way into fade-out with the bass and rhythm crunch pounding away.

Metallica's version of Helpless absolutely destroys Diamond Head's original, but their version is well worth a listen as well. You can find it on Diamond Head's greatest hits CD - Behold The Beginning.

The Small Hours (Holocaust): A wavering, jittery guitar riff is the lead-off into a solid wall of crunch and bass. This continues through till about the halfway point of the song.

Suddenly James starts a super fast interlude riff, which Jason then makes 10 times heavier with punchy bass. This is the lead-in to an extremely jumpy lead break from Kirk - one of his best, in my opinion.

It settles back down into the crunchy riffs and Jason adds some nice bass embellishments. This leads back to the initial jittery riff as The Small Hours comes to a close.

The Wait (Killing Joke): This up-tempo track begins and continues through most of the song with a fast rhythm and laid-back bass punching "holes" through James' wall of sound.

Notable about this track, James sings through some kind of distortion box, which seems to work rather well for this song. Unfortunately, when he's singing the title, "The Waiiiiit", it sounds a bit distant.

Crash Course In Brain Surgery (Budgie): After Helpless, this is definitely my favorite track on this EP. It leads off with a quick bass run, doubled shortly on guitar.

The song then settles into a real riff groove, again with both guitar and bass playing the same thing. The bass is incredibly punchy in this one, and could easily injure you if you get too close

There's a bit of an interlude where you hear them all screaming nonsense, then Kirk leads into a short but effective lead break, followed almost immediately by a bass solo, which just plows you over with its heaviness.

The song finally settles back down toward the last stanza with the main riff still going strong until the end.

Last Caress/Green Hell (Misfits): To close out this excellent EP, we have...I don't really know how to describe this one.

Last Caress is about the first half of the track, and is sparing power chords, not a whole lot of bass, and rather uncaring lyrics (not profane, but still not exactly nice thoughts.)

Green Hell is the exact opposite - racing riffs (still not much bass in this one either), and James sings and plays at breakneck speed. If you don't have the lyrics in front of you, you definitely won't catch all of what he's saying.

This track ends with some drumbeats and they switch over to play a bit of Iron Maiden's Run To The Hills to fade out.

Pros: Very raw, yet with a good mix of crunching riffs, loads of bass, and the usual excellent drumming from Lars. James sings, almost chants, and screams, depending on the track (and his style is appropriate for each song.)

Cons: Hard to find this original. It appeared as both a cassette (The $5.98 EP) and CD (The $9.98 C.D.). I found my copy at a music show, and paid $20 for the privilege. It was absolutely worth having though.

Overall:If you like your music raw and full of energy (not the fake 'raw sound' found on their recent effort, St. Anger), pick up this CD, if you can find it. I'm sure it sells on eBay and at rare music shows.
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metal album review, metallica

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