Review: A Punk Tribute to Metallica

Various Artists
“A Punk Tribute to Metallica”
(Cleopatra Records)

Ok, for this I will put aside my personal ban on all things Metallica.  The band went from a place so holy in my heart, I’’ve got pictures of myself in my first metal band with a big ol’ Metallica patch running down my guitar strap.  I spent hours upon hours honing my chops on Kill Them All, Ride the Lightening and Master of Puppets riffs.  Then Cliff died and it ended the Metallica I loved.  I watched the band water down their sound and their wallets swell.  And don’t even get me started on that weasel Ulrich (who came from a wealthy family even before the Metallica millions) blew any credibility the band had left by whining like a bitch about Napster.  That said, this is a fucking cool disk.  Even with more songs from the post-Burton Metallica then I care for.  Sloppy Seconds opens with “Hit The Lights” (which being the opening track off Kill Them All, did give me that tinge of excitement when that was the newest, baddest thing in metal).  Agent Orange has the standout, souped up and surfed out Seek and Destroy (truly accomplishes the difficult task of re-interpreting a song through ones own definitive style).  D.O.A. tackle “Motorbreath” with a punk flair.  Flipper (best known for having Kurt Cobain scribble their name on homemade t-shirts) offer a sloppy and best in heard from the garage rendition of “Sad But True” and make a noisy spectacle of the metal slop.  Cool.  And Dee Dee Ramone puts a stripped down greasy punk take on “Jump in the Fire” (lyrics:  “…and death in my veins” croaks so believably from Dee Dee).  Dr. Know stumbles hard on “Master of Puppets” and they should’ve practiced more before trying to hang with the rest of the bands on this disc (truly weak).  Vice Squad tuck a crisp electronic sound into “Enter Sandman” and push the tempo a bit.  The female vocals are a new texture as well and gives a Genitorturers feel to this breakout song from Metallica.  Total Chaos take some liberties with “One” (cutting down the overblown intro and cuts right into the song).  The problem with this track is Rob Chaos just can’t sing.  And he’s trying real hard here, and it makes the listener have to try just as hard not to skip on to the next song.  Even the ending heavy stutters were rather weak and sloppy.  I know this is a punk tribute, but that doesn’’t give you the right to do it half assed and go, “its’ cool because we’re a punk band”.  Maybe I just hate that song.  The Vibrators try to give “Nothing Else Matters” a rocking makeover, and succeed, but the song sux to begin with, so they are working with crap and managing to make the crap cooler.  Points to the Vibrators.  “I Disappear” is a song I barely recognize because by the time the radio was sapping the life out of that song, I was changing the channels when I heard chord one of any Metallica song.  But I can hear that “Hey Hey Hey” of Hetfield’’s oh-so-genius-of-late lyrical prowess.  (Noticing a theme of personal bias here yet?  Good.)  Sour resuscitates a fast dying disc with a chick fueled and sampled scratched “Am I Evil”.  The title being whined from a seductive female voice is a plus.  Shotgun Remedy rework “For Whom the Bell Tolls” into a stripped down rocker, and also do a good job of changing it up enough here and there to keep it fresh instead of the paint by numbers approach.  “Until It Sleeps” was chosen to end the disk.  Nothing against S.B.I. who did guitar players magazine tablature recreation of the song, but again, weak material to work with.  This is still a cool album.  If you are one of the sheep that got sold into that who “Reload” crap, go buy the back catalog, learn it, then get this album.  Old schoolers will remember that there was a time when Metallica were truly innovating and influencing.  Now they specialize in regurgitating and prosecuting.