Since their formation in 1981, Metallica have served as heavy metal trailblazers and continue to push themselves as artists. The band quickly rose to fame and became of the pioneers of thrash with their first four iconic albums; ‘Kill ‘Em All,’ ‘Ride The Lightning,’ ‘Master of Puppets’ and ‘…And Justice for All.’ These albums found the band at their most aggressive, won them legions of devoted fans around the globe and established the as an unstoppable force in rock. Their creative path would lead them to creating what would become their career defining album, ‘Metallica,’ aka ‘The Black Album;’ in 1991; which would be followed by to poppier metal albums, ‘Load’ and ‘Reload.’ Although these three lack the epic range and explosiveness of their albums from the 80s, they launched Metallica to even greater superstardom in the ever-changing music industry.
In addition to fueling their creative fire as a band creating this new material, the boys in Metallica also created some amazing music in the form of covers along the way. ‘Garage, Inc.’ features a few songs released by the band in 1984, 1987’s heavily bootlegged and long-out-of-print ‘Garage Days Re-Revisited’ EP, coupled with scattered B sides and eleven covers created solely for this release. The result is (literally) rock ‘n’ roll history — ‘Garage, Inc.’ This album was a labor of love and takes the listener down a winding path of bands that had an undeniable impact on the band. One of the obvious influences are bands such as the legendary Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy but this release also explores other artists not necessarily rooted in heavy metal like Nick Cave and Bob Seger, along with many others.
This collection of cover songs are all song in their own right and Metallica’s take on then never feels forced. You can feel the love of these selections throughout the duration of the album as they put their own spin on the classics and inject them with new life. Although many of the songs were recorded at different points in their career, it captures the individual members at the top of their games. Hetfield’s vocals are as a huge part of Metallica’s sound and appeal. On this release, they are strong and showcase the dimensionality that he brings to the table. Legendary drummer Lars Ulrich shines behind the drums, as always, in the era before he became the poster boy for the war on illegal file sharing. Guitarist Kirk Hammett showcases his legendary guitar skills with some captivating solos, while Jason Newsted’s brings some of his most memorable work to the project.
It was great to go back and revisit this album and soak in the band before the infighting became the subject of rock tabloid journalism and grounds for a documentary feature. Metallica clearly enjoyed bringing this material to the table and the vibe are tangible. Experiencing an album I first encountered on CD for the first time on vinyl was an amazing experience. ‘Garage, Inc.’ had an unbelievable new depth in this format, one I feel could have been overlooked by fans on it’s initial release.
Standout tracks include “Last Caress,” “Am I Evil,” Whiskey In The Jar,” Die, Die, My Darling,” “Turn The Page” and “‘Sabbra Cadabra.” With that said, all of the songs on the album are fully fleshed out and do not disappoint.
1. Free Speech For The Dumb
2. It’s Electric
3. Sabra Cadabra
4. Turn The Page
5. Die, Die My Darling
7. Mercyful Fate
2 Whiskey In The Jar
3 Tuesday’s Gone
4 The More I See
6 The Small Hours
7 The Wait
8 Crash Course In Brain Surgery
9 Last Caress/Green Hell
1. Am I Evil?
4. The Prince
5. Stone Cold Crazy
6. So What
7. Killing Time
9. Damage Case
10. Stone Dead Forever
11. Too Late Too Late
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