With the coming release of the new Metallica album in November there’s gonna be a whole lotta words dedicated to the San Francisco Metal titans in the next couple of months. As I’m currently researching a mega piece for Already Heard, I’m listening to pretty much everything they’ve ever done and have to say the awesomeness of their back catalogue is really quite something.
I’m finally giving the ‘Load’ and ‘Reload’ albums the chance they always deserved and can now grudgingly admit to their undeniable quality (I prefer Reload) even if they’re not the sound of James and Co in full thrash fury. Anyway, when it comes to Metallica, there’s nothing more divisive than a top ten, and as good as their entire catalogue may be, mine would be firmly rooted in the glory days of the band’s career. Unless, of course, we do an alternative top ten, say of cover versions…. because if there’s one thing the Metallica boys like doing, it’s loosening up on someone else’s songs. Check it out.
10/9 Last Caress and So What
The Misfits’ ‘Last Caress’ originally featured on the $5:98 Garage Days EP and is basically an ode to rape, murder and the longing for death and is enjoyable and disturbing in equal measure (check this explanation! https://medium.com/school-of-pop/the-misfits-last-caress-is-one-of-the-best-punk-songs-ever-here-s-why-db9e67df6b90#.c7n12c8ds). However, with references to cock sucking, goat fucking and piss drinking, ‘So What’ is probably the most politically incorrect song in history and Metallica make it sound as fun as it was always intended to be. British punk band Anti Nowhere League originally wrote the song to poke fun at people telling exaggerated stories, but given the offensive lyrics it tends to stir a little controversy, especially when it’s played with ‘Last Caress’ live on MTV when the band were supposed to be airing a brand new song, oops!
Lars must love Diamond Head because this is not the only song of theirs Metallica have covered. Anyway, this was the first song to feature Jason Newstead on bass on the $5:98 EP and it fucking rocks! In fact the whole EP is great and Newkid played a blinder, quite why they then smothered the bass with layers of guitar on the Justice album is beyond me (now there’s a remastered version waiting to happen).
7 Tuesday’s Gone
James has been out of the country closet for sometime now and there’s no better way to marry that passion to his first love than by covering Lynyrd Skynyrd with a bunch of rock n roll friends. Great song, great version.
6 Remember Tomorrow
This is a great version of the Iron Maiden “ballad” – Metallica being Metallica, there´s a bit more meat on this than the original, but the quality of the song itself cannot be denied and they certainly do it justice – killer!
5 The Wait
Not the most obvious song to include, but personally I love this track and think it’s seriously underrated. Killer riff, killer bass line and a dark pulsating groove, this is a great version of the Killing Joke track – love it.
4 Turn The Page
Like many of their covers, I don’t know the original (by Bob Seger), but that doesn’t really matter. Although it’s obviously a departure from their normal style, it suits Metallica’s penchant for a big rock ballad; tune.
3 Stone Cold Crazy
Such is the lightening fast riffing that this Queen track is now actually considered as a precursor to thrash, making it the perfect song for Metallica to cover. As with most of their covers they stay true to the original, but also add that little dash of metalligrit, making for a super fast barnstormer – what’s not to like?
I first heard this on the b-side of my ‘Harvester of Sorrow’ cassette single (seriously), which I still have somewhere, and immediately fell in love with it. Obviously, I’ve never actually heard the original by British seventies rockers Budgie, and to be frank, why would I, no way can it be better than James and co in full flight. Go.
1 Am I Evil
This has been part of Metallica’s live set for so long that there are probably people that don’t even realise it’s a cover, talk about owning it. This version is mind blowing.