Metallica – Garage Inc. (1998)

So the Garage Days Re-Revisited EP is long out of print, and is going for a bajillion dollars a bootlegged copy on eBay ten years later. The band decided it would be a good idea to re-issue the record, but add some new stuff to force both new and old fans to buy the album and finance Lars Ulrich’s Picasso fetish. So they made this a two-CD set, consisting of all the old and unreleased b-sides and other rarities, along with a CD’s worth of new studio renditions of covers of old favorites from the band’s influences.

If you’re a fan of the Load-era Metallica, this is a win-win; you get all of the really old b-side stuff you never bought because you were either seven years old when it came out or because you were a Vanilla Ice fan back then and didn’t like metal until it became popular. As far as the new stuff, the song that got video rotation (yes, they made videos for covers on a b-side wrapup compilation) was the Bob Seger classic “Turn the Page.” As much as I loathe James Hetfield’s new “yeaahh yeahhh!” singing style, it works well on this, and provides us with one of those “the road is rough” moments like Poison and Motley Crue belted out consistently, except it feels much more genuine. If Lars Ulrich were killed in Cliff Burton’s bus accident and the band eventually slowed down to just doing songs like this, I’d probably still like it. I couldn’t get through the first side of the disc more than once or twice though, and admittedly, I only cared about having all of the rarities in one place.

The collection of b-sides is great, but it also shows you how far Metallica has fallen. It starts with Garage Days in its full glory, followed with “Am I Evil” and “Blitzkrieg,” before going into the …Justice singles, “Breadfan” and “The Prince.” That’s where I stopped collecting as a kid. Then you get the “new” sounding covers, which are so-so, and the four Motorhead covers from Lemmy’s birthday where Metallica dressed up as Lemmy, which are pretty sad.

If you need the old covers, grab a copy (read my separate review for Garage Days…) That’s the only reason to spend money on any post-black album Metallica, and it’s a bad trap to get you to buy a CD of crappy stuff along with it.

Review: 6