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Metallica: Garage Inc.

03/09/10  ||  Smalley

Though I must admit that most of the hate post-“Black Album”-Metallica’s received is deserved, this covers compilation really should get more appreciation; you see, after fucking around with southern rock influences on the “load“s (along with other shit that nobody asked for/wanted), the four horsemen decided to pay tribute to their musical forefathers by recording new covers (which make up disc one here), as well as cobbling together all the covers off “The $5.98 E.P.: garage days re-revisited” with all the b-side covers they had released over the years (which make up disc two). The resulting grab-bag of Metallicovers proved that even though they really couldn’t write great music anymore, at least the band could still make other people’s material sound good, and in the process, showed those n00bs in Slayer what a real cover album sounds like.

But all joking aside (about Slayer, that is, not their cover album) Discharge cover “Free speech for the dumb” makes for a lackluster way to open up disc one, as it’s really repetitive and uninteresting, and with shittier production than it should’ve had. Then again, the production’s to make it sound closer to the original, I’m sure, but whatever; Diamond Head cover “It’s electric” is up next, with better production, and that good-natured, classic rock drive that just makes you wanna start partying, or maybe drive around too fast with the song blaring from your speakers. A very welcome improvement.

On the rest of disc one, we get an excellently metal-fied Bob Seger cover with “Turn the page”, where ‘tallica pulls off some southern-y influences better than they did on either “load”, the spookilly-atmospheric Nick Cave cover “Loverman”, and a nice collaboration with just about every musician in the world for Lynyrd Skynyrd cover “Tuesday’s gone”, including a member OF Skynyrd, even. Very cool. Anyway, “Astronomy”, top metal cover “Whiskey in the jar”, “The more I see”, and others, are also highlights off disc one, which manages to close out as a pretty enjoyable listen, with “Free speech” as its only non-good cover.

Disc two starts with the five tracks off 1987’s “Garage days re-revisited”, which was ‘tallica’s first recording with bassist Jason Newkid. It has a much more interesting, catchier, and better-sounding opener than disc one did with the rowdy “Helpless”, another Diamond Head cover, but unfortunately, Hetfield’s vocals are weaker here; say what you will about his voice on the last two albums, but there was time when this guy could fucken SING. Unfortunately, that time hadn’t been reached yet back in ’87, but besides that, “Helpless” is still a good cover song overall, and a nice way to start the new disc.

The intense Holocaust cover “The small hours” continues the high quality on disc two, with some surprisingly good drumming from Lars to boot, and besides that, “Am I evil?” (another Diamond Head cover, but they influenced ‘tallica, so what’re you gonna do?), “Blitzkrieg”, and almost every remaining cover on disc two are also enjoyable, though they lack the variety that the covers selection on disc one had… maybe putting FOUR Motörhead covers in a row was a bit “overkill”? Granted, Hetfield doesn’t do a bad Lemmy impersonation, but still, there is such a thing as too much Motörhead (sorry OT!!!).

Anyway, if you can’t stand the mere thought of Metallica anymore, then you probably won’t like “Garage, Inc.”, but if you can (like me), then you might enjoy it. It does feel a bit scatter-shot, but that’s what you get when you cobble together covers from across fourteen years of eighteen different bands from almost as many sub-genres. This isn’t a great covers collection, but then again, I’ve haven’t come across one that was (I have come across some good ones , as well as some shit ones , but that’s neither here nor there now). Considering how weak their last four albums were, and how much better “Garage, Inc.” is, maybe Metallica should just cover other people’s stuff full-time…? Or maybe they should break up. Either way, it merits some thought.


  • Information
  • Released: 1998
  • Label: Elektra/Asylum
  • Website: Metallica MySpace
  • Band
  • James Hetfield: lead vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Kirk Hammett: lead guitar
  • Jason Newsted: bass, backing vocals
  • Cliff Burton: bass
  • Lars Ulrich: drums
  • Tracklist
  • Disc One
  • 01. Free Speech For The Dumb (Discharge cover)
  • 02. It’s Electric (Diamond Head cover)
  • 03. Sabbra Cadabra (Black Sabbath cover)
  • 04. Turn The Page (Bob Seger cover)
  • 05. Die, Die My Darling (Misfits cover)
  • 06. Loverman (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds cover)
  • 07. Mercyful Fate (Mercyful Fate cover)
  • 08. Astronomy (Blue Öyster Cult cover)
  • 09. Whiskey In The Jar (Thin Lizzy cover)
  • 10. Tuesday’s Gone (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover)
  • 11. The More I See (Discharge cover)
  • Disc Two
  • 01. Helpless (Diamond Head cover)
  • 02. The Small Hours (Holocaust cover)
  • 03. The Wait (Killing Joke cover)
  • 04. Crash Course In Brain Surgery (Budgie cover)
  • 05. Last Caress / Green Hell (Misfits cover)
  • 06. Am I Evil (Diamond Head cover)
  • 07. Blitzkrieg (Blitzkrieg cover)
  • 08. Breadfan (Budgie cover)
  • 09. The Prince (Diamond Head cover)
  • 10. Stone Cold Crazy (Queen cover)
  • 11. So What? (Anti-Nowhere League cover)
  • 12. Killing Time (Sweet Savage cover)
  • 13. Overkill (Motörhead cover)
  • 14. Damage Case (Motörhead cover)
  • 15. Stone Dead Forever (Motörhead cover)
  • 16. Too Late Too Late (Motörhead cover)