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Metallica - Live Sh*t: Binge and Purge CD (album) cover




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3.82 | 74 ratings

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4 stars Metallica's career can be divided into two parts: Before the Black Album and after the Black Album. Before 1991 they were a band known by many, loved by many, expanding their fan base to the point where they would pack arenas around the world despite their very uncommercial music. After the release of their self titled album they became the band known by everyone everywhere, loved by even more people but also hated by many. Old fans who thought they had sold out and new people from the MTV and radio audience who couldn't tolerate their heavy sounds unknown in their mediums up to that point. Metallica moved towards the mainstream with their streamlined sound and songs, and mainstream moved towards Metallica, with another noisy phenomenon called Grunge appearing from the underground at the same time.

This massive package of live material documents the both sides of that transition, moments before and moments after. Originally packed into a colossal box containing three VHS cassettes, three CD's and a mass of miscellaneous crap for fans, it is now available in a much smaller form of two DVD's and three CD's ready to slip into your DVD shelf. The first of the three shows is compiled from two filmed concerts at the Seattle Coliseum on AUgust 29th and 30th 1989. The band was promoting their most complex work yet, the ...And Justice for All album and on the top of their game. They had already gathered a huge following among the metalheads of the world but despite the big surroundings they hadn't yet fallen to the traps of arena rock extravaganzas. They were tight, hungry and aggressive. They play like they're still in the small clubs of their early days, only with the charisma to fill an arena. Before the Justice album the band had lost an important member, the respected bass monster Cliff Burton in a car accident, and subsequently hired Jason Newkid Newsted to try and fill the gap. Newkid was a tag he could never shake, being a victim of different sorts of hazing and disrespect from his bandmembers, but what the band lost in team spirit and Burton's powerful live sound, they gained in fierce stage presence and backing vocals. Jason Newsted brought a huge new kick to their live show. They perform a devastating string of classics from their first four albums with a couple of cover songs thrown in. Every single song they play here are still staples of their ever-changing setlist now twenty years later, except for the Budgie cover Breadfan which is a rare treat nowadays. Lars plays as tight as he ever would, Kirk nails every solo, Jason is the crazy headbanger he always would be and James's voice is powerful, menacing and plain ruthless. Absolutely fantastic performances by the entire band.

The next show we get is from San Diego Sports Arena, filmed during the supporting tour for the Black Album on January 13th and 14th 1992. The album had been released a few months before this date, so they had had time to adapt to their newfound mass popularity and even bigger venues. Bigger venues mean more people and more people mean more noise, and attraction to crowd noise leads to crowd-pleasing showmanship. That's why Seek & Destroy lasts ten minutes longer than three years previously and that's why there's the seemingly endless drum solo / duet that just makes me yawn. But there's some drama in trying to figure out who is the best drummer of the band, James or Lars. I'll call it undecided. These things aside, the set list is a very good combination of the more thrashy pieces of the earlier years and their lighter new stuff.

The three cd's from the Mexico City concerts from the early 1993 are essentially the same show as San Diego, with slight changes in setlist. Black Album material combined with earlier more fierce stuff. There's a particularly explosive version of Creeping Death and especially the best Whiplash recording ever is a total killer, but there's also the god-awful 20 minute bass and guitar solo show, the worst waste of space ever to appear on any Metallica record, the rare occasion when I press the skip button. Apart from this sad example of stadium show-offiness and the same singalong version of Seek & Destroy than in San Diego, the band is in fine form. They deliver the goods in a tight package to a rapturous audience and just have a lot of fun.

This is an important document of a band at the turning point of their career, and mostly a very very enjoyable one. Recommended for every lover of their early output because of the Seattle show alone, and on top of that you get two other very fine performances.

Seattle '89 ***** San Diego '92 **** Mexico City '93 ***

Pekka | 4/5 |


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