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caspian, December 27th, 2010

Not a bad little tour EP here; pretty cheap ($12 at JB- may not sound that cheap but here that's either a very, very cheap full length or a single), and a bunch of songs that will make most Metallica diehards very interested. Frantic? Eye of the Beholder? Low Man's Lyric?? Yeah, not really a casual fan's release, this- but for the Metallica tragic out there the lack of Sandman, NEM, MoP etc. certainly won't be a minus.

Recording quality is a bit over the place; Fight Fire With Fire and Frantic sound great, Through The Never's quiet, full of noise and has a general "dude out in the seats with a little tape & mic" vibe, AJFA even moreso, trebly and tinny to the point that, well, it even makes the original sound good! Still, rough recording was one of the reasons that Cliff 'Em All was so good; and it is nice to hear these tunes done in a live version that's rough and raw, not polished, not overdubbed later on, not auto tuned and quantised.

Songs are similarly inconsistent and a bit rough. Low Man's Lyric has always been a favourite of mine but stripped of the Bob Rock magic sounds fairly flat live- a problem that Unforgiven also suffers with. FFWF is tight and brilliant, short of a few mistakes in the dual lead, although to me the main surprise/highlight is Frantic. Sure, the 'Keep on Searching' and the infamous 'tick tick tick tock' bit will always be pretty lame, but the rest of the song works, and works well, fast, heavy, energetic, surprisingly unshit.

So, to summarise, this is a bit all over the place but has enough strangeness to be well worthwhile for the big Metallica fan, especially if you saw them on their (excellent) recent antipode tour. For fans only, but most people who've read this review will have guessed that by now, I imagine...