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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 Oh me oh my, I really like this album. As I'm guessing has been the case with many other Metallica fans, I put off hearing this for a long time due to it being part of a larger, very expensive set; in addition to this 3-CD live album, the set also includes 2 DVD's (originally 3 VHS tapes) featuring two more complete Metallica concerts (one from the Black Album tour, one from the ...And Justice tour). Eventually, though, full-time employment found me in a position to be able to blow gobs of money on sets like this (and not hate myself afterwards), and man am I glad I did.

Now, granted, I tend to look upon metal live albums favorably in general, which might cause some to shrug their shoulders a bit at the notion that I would rate this so highly (this is actually almost a ***** grade). However, there are a lot of things about this set, which captures Metallica at the point in time where they made the leap from Metal Gods to bonafide Rock Stars, and when they were arguably one of the biggest bands in the entire world, that make me want to come back to it again and again, and they're enough to guarantee this a very high grade. The first of these is that, to my ears, there is no difference in the band's intensity between when they're playing material from TBA and from when they're playing in their "classic" style. In the end, faster or slower, it's all just rock music, and the band is in all-out attack mode the whole time.

The second (related to the first) is the way the band just seems so full of glee at the idea of being able to present its back catalogue to a giant audience for the first time. They were now Rock Stars, yes, but this position was still relatively fresh and novel for the band, and the band seems to relish the chance to have huge numbers of people cheering at hearing "Creeping Death." I've read comments by a few people suggesting that the band named the album Metallica in order to try and fool the populace into thinking they were a brand new band and to make a break with its past; it's difficult for me to give this idea much creedence when hearing the band rip through the aforementioned "Creeping Death," or through 18 minutes of "Seek and Destroy" or "For Whom the Bell Tolls" or "Whiplash." This is what the band had waited for its whole professional life, and they do all they can to make the most of the opportunity.

The third is the way the band is so eager to throw in relative rarities and to goof around with the audience. I love the idea that a band as huge as Metallica was in the early 90's would not only include 4 tracks from Kill 'Em All, but also performances of "Am I Evil?," "Last Caress," "So What?" and (as the final encore, no less) "Stone Cold Crazy." I also love how at one point Hammett starts playing "Third Stone from the Sun," how during the lengthy guitar and bass soloing section the band does a minute or so of "Dazed and Confused," and how at another point the band starts into "Smoke on the Water," with Hetfield joking, "I bet you didn't know we wrote that." I love how the band starts playing "Ride the Lightning," and how after they stop Hetfield says, "You don't know this."

Fourth, I love how much Hetfield relishes the chance to be the biggest redneck he can possibly be as the frontman of a mega-popular rock band. All his swearing is kinda pathetic, but it's quite hilarious, and it ends up giving a goofy levity to the whole set. Plus, some of Hetfield's interludes, even when he's not using every version of f**k that he can, are pretty funny; the introduction to the "Justice Medley," where Hetfield states that, "We took all our favorite parts and threw them into one big pile of shit," has to deserve some sort of award for truth in track introductions.

Fifth, it's fun to hear a young, enthusiastic Jason Newsted having so much fun on stage. The treatment of Newsted by the rest of the band during his tenure with them was pretty shameful, and won't be recounted here, but at this point he was still largely in the honeymoon stage with the band, eager to be on stage with his idols. He's all too eager to make his mark by doing whatever's asked of him; playing a bass solo while the rest of the band takes a rest, singing some verses of "Creeping Death," "Seek and Destroy" and "Whiplash" to give James' voice a rest, and just generally being the band's kid brother. Good times for all.

In the end, then, it doesn't matter tremendously to me that the actual performances don't vary a lot from their studio counterparts. They're all done well enough for my liking, and the amount of live energy and other intangibles is through the roof, so I feel totally justified in giving this a very high grade.

By the way, the two DVD's are also extremely enjoyable, and it's very interesting to see the subtle transformations in the band's stage presence between the ...Justice and TBA tours. It's also extremely interesting to me to hear a remark Hetfield makes in introducing the "Justice Medley" on the DVD that really drives home the point to me that the band didn't change approaches to sell out, but rather because they weren't really enjoying themselves as much as they once had in playing this kind of material. "Rhythm guitar solo," indeed.

tarkus1980 | 4/5 |


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