Metallica - Garage Inc. 
Music Disc Reviews Audio CD
Written by Jerry Del Colliano   
Tuesday, 24 November 1998

Garage Inc.,
Elektra Records
Performance: Disc One 5 | Performance: Disc Two 7
| Sound 5 to 6 |

The cover song has long been a tradition throughout the history of rock and roll. Artists from Jimi Hendrix to Van Halen to Marilyn Manson have paid their respects to influential performers and songwriters. Covers have a way of bringing a level of familiarity to the deep cuts of a record that may not get the same kind of attention from the listener as the radio single. Metallica has long been an advocate of the cover song and has released a number of records and singles featuring covers. 'Garage Inc.' is a two CD set that collects nearly all of the Metallica covers from days and albums past as well as a full CD of new cover songs.

Disc Two features the collection of Metallica's best cover songs. It is a valuable acquisition for the big time Metallica collector in that it is the only place, other than a bootleg or a custom CDR, where you can find all of these songs together. From Garage Days Re-Revisited '87 there are a number of kickin' cuts namely "Helpless," "The Small Hours," and "The Wait." From Garage Days '84, two killer tracks appear in the militant "Am I Evil," and "Blitzkrieg." The single "Bredfan" is my personal favorite cut on the entire record and has, until now, been very hard to find on CD. The Queen cover "Stone Cold Crazy" is also legendary. The pace of Disc Two isn't too strong and the recording--production quality ranges from average to garage band.

Disc One isn't so good. The new covers lack the inventive sprit that is needed to take someone else's hit song to another creative level. The radio single is a rendition of Bob Seger's 1973 "Turn The Page." Much like many of the more recent Metallica records, this cut is a little too touchy-feely. I understand that these songs have the best chance to get radio crossover to the classic rock, AOR listener, but is isn't real Metallica. The best cut on Disc One is "It's Electric" originally performed by Diamond Head. The cut is up tempo and melodic. "Free Speech For The Dumb" is an abortion of a song and proves the "somewhat produced" claim made on the back cover of the CD. Who would put this cut on the record, let alone the first cut?

As a long time Metallica fan I'll file Garage Inc. away for archive purposes. I may never breakout Disc Two, yet there are cuts on Disc One that will get play in future rockin' listening sessions. Unlike many re-issues we cover here on, this one is not an essential buy.

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