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Up Close and Personal - 65%

InfinityX, July 29th, 2013

This is a little more than an EP, but when you consider the bands true live albums sizes, this is comparatively but an EP. And this one is worth getting for the Metallica fan hungry for more good live material. If you have yet to purchase any Metallica live packages however, the starting point should be the absolutely EPIC Live Shit box set, but this is a solid supplement.

Though that is the weakness here, this is little more then a supplement to the Metallica discography. Of the songs played here, ALL of them, minus the first two are already on the Live Shit collection. Even the hidden Frayed Ends of Sanity jam at the end of For Whom the Bell Tolls is basically played in the Justice Medley from before, though that part is cool, since they start playing the song purely because the crowd wanted it. Though it is interesting to hear these songs with the modern line-up, and post vocal cord troubles Hetfield, the track redundancy is an issue.

Although understandable since this was all in one glorious honest take from one show in a basement, and they weren't going to give the fans a concert without the classic tracks. And the performance is so great, with an abundance of fan interaction that I can easily forget that these are the songs I've heard before. James Hetfield is funny and charming as ever, but the whole band talks and jokes with the crowd the whole way through.

The mix is what you'd expect from a Metallica performance. They have all the resources you could want, and they use them. The recording sounds just perfect, with crisp guitars, meaty drums, and clear vocals. The bass could have been a little louder, but what you can hear sounds fine. The crowd is mixed pretty loud, but in a good way. The venue was a freaking basement, so they were right up close and personal with the band, allowing them to talk to the band as much the band talks to them, which is refreshing to hear.

The band has released a few of these shorter live EP's in the past few years, and this is one is actually very good and holds its own due to the charm and personality of the band. The set list has all good songs, albeit some redundant choices. Though No Remorse is really knocked out of the park here. If you only get one Metallica live album, it should be Live Shit. If you only get one of these EP's, Six Feet Under II has some live versions of songs you only can get on there. Though if you want a nice honest Metallica live CD, this one delivers the band in a humble setting, and it gives you every second of that concert. And to me, that makes it a worthy release.