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Unearthing these old Metallica singles of mine is always a real trip down memory lane; when I was a poor young lad in year 7 with not enough money to buy full lengths, buying whatever single I could and just playing the absolute crap out of them, taping them for friends and swapping them round. A great time that I will fully admit gives me a very rose tinted look at this single.
A lot of people really hate this Turn the Page cover; I don't think it's that bad. It's an enjoyable enough hard rock song that's catchy and has a pretty decent vocal performance, it's all fairly drawn out and compared to what Metallica had done in the past it's not that great, sure, but whatever. Memories of skating and bodyboarding and underage drinking (back when you only needed two beers to get smashed!) all the time mean that I will always really enjoy this song, far, far more then I should.
The live tracks are really good, though. Bleeding Me's always been a favourite of mine; a long, relaxed intro giving way to the most metal part of Load and a rather sweet solo. I've always been a fan of Hetfield's live vocals from the Load era, and that combined with the solid riffing and huge chorus means this is a pretty satisfying song.
There's two covers here that I also have a real boner for; for one thing both "Stone Cold Crazy" and "The Wait" were just incredibly heavy for my young and innocent mind back in the day. Stone's a real fast tune and it's always surprised me that it's a Queen cover, lyrically it's kinda badass and the riffs are fast and furious. A great tune, no doubt. "The Wait" has a great intro; real doomy and heavy (and something that always made my mum go "this is noise, turn it off!", good times). Otherwise it's just a simple freight train of a song with a massive chorus and huge mid tempo riffs, though James overdoes his "-na" stylings a bit too much in this. As with most live Metallica the production is pretty good, a bit bass heavy but raw and clear.
Sure it's not the best thing ever but, y'know, nostalgia and stuff. The live stuff is pretty cool and as far as hard rock goes the cover of Turn the Page could certainly be a fair bit worse. I'll be keeping my copy and giving it a spin while sighing and feeling all wistful for a while, methinks.