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But why? - 58%

EzraBlumenfeld, February 11th, 2018

Making a 27-song cover album is a bad idea for any bad; but it was an especially poor choice for Metallica, who were already at the low point of their career. Having just released the perpetually disappointing Load and Reload just a couple short years earlier, and half a decade before releasing their nadir album St. Anger, Metallica was like "hey, all our fans hate us so let's do some covers!" While maybe it could have been pulled off successfully, the result was extremely disappointing.

While most of this album has Metallica's classic Justice-era sound (plus bass) throughout, it's really not that big of a deal considering that they wrote 0% of the material on it. To cover classic metal and punk songs in the grungy alt-rock style of their preceding albums would have been to prove themselves as sellouts. So instead, they took a collection of covers they had already released, recorded a handful more, and then bundled it all up and disguised it as an album. Some of the covers, of course, are classics, such as "Blitzkrieg" and "Am I Evil?" and the whole Garage Days Re-Revisited EP, all of which is inserted in the dead center of the album. But much of it, such as their cover of Blue Öyster Cult's "Astronomy," Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Tuesday's Gone," and Black Sabbath's "Sabbra Cadabra" fail to inspire. The rare standout is a slightly touching version of Bob Seger's "Turn the Page," but replacing the emotional horns section of the original with Kirk Hammett's repetitive lead guitar nonsense didn't really help the song much.

As I sort of mentioned before, a lot of the covers on here were originally non-metal, meaning this album could be partly responsible for the modern craze of turning every song imaginable into a metal song. Besides the oddball classic rock covers on here, there's plenty of punk, including bands like The Misfits and Discharge. However, all these songs are ruined by James Hetfield, who seems incapable of doing any style of vocals besides his usually high-pitched yelling.

Meh. This album is barely decent at best. Providing the listener with mediocre covers, this could only be enjoyed by someone who had never heard any of the originals or who is a complete metal novice and just wants to buy every Metallica album (so my 11-year old self). Most of the songs on here are a poor imitation of the original. This album is probably not worth a listen all the way through, since it's over two hours long. It's probably best summed up in Hetfield's failure to properly express emotion in their cover of Thin Lizzy's "Whiskey in the Jar." But it sure as hell is better than St. Anger.