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After being a bit dumbfounded at the utterly terrible stylistic diarrhea occupying the second and third tracks on this single’s sister, I was given this one as a gift from the drummer in my band at the time, (I am sorry to say that in High School I played in an all Metallica cover band that was trying to write our own stuff) who assured me that it was the better version. In addition to being right about our band’s imminent demise, he was also correct about the contents of this single.
Unlike the first version of this single, “Until it Sleeps” has a cover of Motorhead’s “Overkill” as the accompanying song. For those whom are casual fans of Metallica and didn’t know that they had covered this song, it can be found on Garage Inc. Although it is a decent cover, it also underscores a radical difference between the direction of metal in the 1990s versus today’s tendencies. While more musically apt Power Metal outfits of today such as Gamma Ray, The Storyteller, Iron Savior, and company record covers of the bands that influenced them with the intent of improving upon the results of the obsolete recording equipment of the time, Metallica elected to try to faithfully recreate the primitive sound that Motorhead had to endure in the late 70s, despite that more recent recordings by the band show an increase in sound quality. A perfect point of comparison would be to compare Metallica’s rendition of Motorhead with The Storytellers much heavier, chunkier, and more aggressive remake of “Ace of Spades”.
To fans of Metallica, if you liked Garage Inc. and also found Load tolerable, and you are a mind numbed collector of Metallica rarities then you may want to track this down. However, those of us who don’t rubber stamp the bands we love and expect quality stuff from them; don’t bother with it unless you can find it cheap and you don’t plan to buy either Load or Garage Inc. Both of those albums are steeped with horrid moments and by comparison this single would be a wiser investment. However if you want some really good advice, just stick to the stuff before the Black Album and let the better days of Metallica rest in peace, you’d be a cut above the band itself in the process.
If I had a dollar for every pointless single I wasted my money on in the mid-1990s while trying to find inspiration for my band-at-the-time’s music, I’d be pretty fucking rich. However, as I wouldn’t punish anyone by selling them inferior music, these singles will simply stay in my collection as a constant reminds of why the 90s sucked and why I thank God everyday that they are over. The twin singles of “Until it Sleeps” are part of that collection, although the older sister which is the topic of this particular review is by far the more offensive of the two.
First to get the obvious part out of the way, “Until it sleeps” is one of the best songs found on the load of crap that was “Load”. It’s a quasi-recycled atmospheric power ballad pulled from the one-dimensional “key of A minor style” that James Hetfield first discovered on “Fade to Black”, and has since been self-plagiarized many times. We’ve got a nice simple bass intro and some rather interesting military snare rolls in the background and James’ vocals are not horrible.
The live version of “2x4” is exactly the same as the studio version, 100% fucking pointless classic rock inspired bullshit. Jimi Hendrix might have conceived of a principle riff similar to this, but even in his more primitive style there would have been other riffs, change-ups and at least a slight attempt at variation. The vocal performance is comical, unlike James’ idiotic attempts beforehand at getting the crowd jazzed up at the thought of hearing this piece of shit.
The 3rd track on here highlights precisely why I grew to loathe Metallica in the later 90s, it’s an even rougher mix of Until it sleeps (amazing that that was possible) with James Hetfield simply humming the melody before coming up with words. I’ve heard of songs that are easy to hum along to, but this is utterly ridiculous. Only a brainless Metallica worshipping punk with no identity of his own (when this was released there were millions of them) would see a point to this.
To all of my fellow Metal fans who pride themselves on liking good music, what we have here is the first glimpse into the actual physical decay of a band that once was held in high esteem. But what it also showcases is the idiocy of a generation of metal fans who most likely rushed to the store to get this album and erase the black half of it with their own semen while believing that they still had metal in the mainstream. In time I began to understand what was going on, but yet I couldn’t bring myself to sell this thing because of the lesson it taught me in how not to evolve. To anyone who actually wants these songs, just buy Load and enjoy the sweet taste of fucking mediocrity.