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As stated in my previous review of the “Whiplash” single/EP, I have been both a bit puzzled and slightly chuckled at the aggravation over the so-called fake crowd noise that was employed on the two songs found on the b-side. From my standpoint, this is little different than simply adding additional instruments beyond what a 4 piece thrash band is capable of pulling off in a live setting. My disapproval of “Jump In The Fire” as a single is not centered on any sort of lack of integrity in the practices of the band, but in its sheer pointlessness as a release. There is literally nothing unique about this release, and as such, it stands as the earliest example of why many accuse this band of being cash grabbers.
The contents of this obviously need no introduction, apart from maybe a mention that Dave Mustaine’s handiwork is where things really shine. “Jump In The Fire” stands as among the more unique Metallica song ever put together, resting comfortably in mid-tempo land and relying on a signature, mostly blues based riff assault. Kirk’s lead work is naturally all over the pentatonic box, shelling out rapid fire drone licks at light speed succession, and giving the song a slight feel of quickness that is otherwise not present. James’ vocal attack is gravely and somewhat garbled, but really on point and perhaps the lone thing that separates this from being a longer version of a NWOBHM song.
The remaining songs on here, though contentious in their presentation here, are excellent demonstrations of how Metallica’s songwriting style was paving the way for future innovation. The usual concept of verse/chorus sections is still present, but is expanded upon in a somewhat similar way to that of the extended jam style of Sabbath, but tempered into a stricter and tighter format with actual new sections rather than wandering solo sections. But once again, I must stress, there is nothing unique to this release. It was a waste of money when it was put out, and would be more of one at an inflated price even for the most rabid Metallica completists.
Okay, I don't know what the hell possessed them to release this, but it does't rock very hard at all. Oh, Jump In The Fire is decent, if not a little commercial, but it has some good riffs and a somewhat memorable chorus. It's no Seek & Destroy, but it's still a nice song. No, there's something else afoot here.
That something comes in the form of "live" Seek & Destroy and Phantom Lord. You see, these songs aren't actually live. They were recorded in a studio with fake crowd noise added to the mix. This normally wouldn't lose the CD so many points, but it's so obvious that it's fake. For one thing, I've ehard Metallica bootlegs from 1983, and they did not sound this refined. They even played sloppily at times, especially during the Ron McGovney days. The sound is also too polished to be live. Also, the crowd noise is too loud. By that I mean there seem to be too many "people" in the "audience", like it was a big festival or something. Why couldn't they just record an actual live version of the songs and save everyone the trouble? It just doesn't make sense! Such obvious falsity and deception costs this single quite a bit.
On a side note, why the hell does the production sound worse than it does on Kill 'Em All? It sounds almost demo-like. Metallica completely lost their heads on this one.
Now why did they choose Jump in the Fire as a single? It sure wasn't because it's the best song on Kill'em All. But I guess the masses needed something not too aggressive to consume. Actually the song is very good, with a couple of damn catchy riffs, and a memorable chorus. "So come on! Jump in the fire!" etc. It's probably the song on Kill'em All that is closest to what had gone before. The b-sides are pretty cool, too. It's two fake live songs, Seek & Destroy and Phantom Lord. I have no clue why they would add crowd noise to the recordings. It's just stupid. They were recorded live in the studio, but noone else was there. Ha. As one-off live in the studio, though, they are actually VERY good. You can hear the bass for once (you just can't with any of the Metallica albums), and the bass lines are damn good. Cliff certainly was a brilliant musician. Too damn bad he's gone.
By the way, these three tracks are also found on the Jump in the Fire/Creeping Death EP, possibly the best EP ever.
A decent single and a classic lp to have, but nothing more. Of course since it is a single it only has three songs. The first one is Jump in the Fire, nothing different about this song. It's the same on the original. Of crouse the riffs and solo are jamming, this was Metallica's glorious days!
Then the next two songs are live......er...fake live songs. One thing that tips it off in the beginning is the way the mucianships sounds. I'll give them credit if they did a live show in a studio album, but how would you really acomplish that. When the crowds do come in it sounds like they are in a big stadium. This can't be!!! The two songs are Seek and Destroy and Phantom Lord, two very thrashy decent Metallica songs. I think they are a little bit better than the original versions, the vocals are more direct and forceful.
So what the hell were they thinking, at this time (of Metallica's greatness) I would have loved to see these guys play. And I think any metal head would, so why did they fake the songs? Who knows, it's Metallica. I would definetly pick this up, because of the awsome cover art, and the songs are great, and maybe to make of Metallica's crappy job of crowd insertion, that's it though.