Metallica had the runs on the board by this time, but this is the last critically acclaimed Metallica album to date that isn’t ordinary or downright bad. Still, Metallica are just as exciting live as on their recordings. This should be a clear case for that, so let’s jump into this and listen to what we have here. Bear in mind that this is a minimal edition of some live recordings from the original 8 hour plus box set, but still, Metallica is Metallica, so let’s observe this.
We begin with the live version of Enter Sandman which begins with The Ecstasy Of Gold and the audience cheering. This continues for a minute or two, before this song begins. It sounds notably more heavy and in your face than the album version does. A supercharged and wonderful listening experience. Metallica give us their all. There are some slightly different melodies on this one. A tremendous effort, and guitarist Kirk Hammett’s solo sounds really amazing. The audience claps along in the midsection as well, a great moment. A classic song done in a rawer and more powerful way. Wonderful. Singer James Hetfield laughs for a bit, before the band kick in and finish off the rest of the song. Excellent music.
Next is Creeping Death which sounds phenomenal. A great Thrash Metal piece that is given life with a better focus on melody and sonic treatment than the original. At various points, James Hetfield gets the crowd to sing the chorus. All in all, this is really great to hear. This sort of music is really awesome and phenomenally good. Kirk Hammett earns his respect for an amazing rendition of the guitar solo, sounding truly amazing. The midsection is super awesome. There is a moment of interaction with a call-and-response from the band to the crowd, and this sounds pretty biblical. It is difficult to know what their first bassist Cliff Burton would have thought of this live performance. James puts on a superb metal screaming style voice towards the end, all in all, fantastic. A top listen. The guitar solo led outro is really insane, great job.
Harvester Of Sorrow comes next, and starts off with James Hetfield talking to the crowd in an encouraging way, before launching into a brilliant rendition of the original tune from …And Justice For All. Loud, powerful and energetic, this is a brilliant listening experience. Very catchy, and proof that the song is a great one, despite it never being a hit single or anything like that. Really brilliant, this is an awesome listen. The guitar solo by Kirk Hammett here is beautifully played by Kirk Hammett. There is some silence, in which James spits, before the band kicks in to finish the rest of the song. Great stuff. At the end are some unusual riffs that were not on the original track, which is very neat.
Welcome Home (Sanitarium) follows with its eerie introduction and sounds very well played. The guitars here really do sound menacing. A wonderful rendition of the original, this sounds so good. The chorus in particular is very uplifting. Kirk Hammett’s guitar playing in particular here is awesome, and James’s singing here is excellent. The dual guitars here are amazing. The sped-up bridge is awesome, and the guitar solo is blisteringly good. Even at a fast tempo, Metallica do very well here. Awesome and amazing. Terrific.
Following is Sad But True which has James doing his crowd enthusiast speaking first, before the tune starts. The tune itself is a great amazing rendition of a classic Metallica song. It sounds particularly heavy here, and all the members of Metallica put in a superb effort here. This is really awesome to hear. The whole song sounds wonderfully played and performed by all members of Metallica. Nice effort.
Next is Of Wolf And Man which has James Hetfield speaking in his own inimitable way to the crowd, before the song begins. The song itself is wonderfully played and delivered by Metallica. It is a loud, heavy and top tune to hear. These songs are rather lengthy, but is made up for it by stellar musicianship. Kirk Hammett’s guitar solo once again, is really awesome. James Hetfield’s vocal growl is unique here, and there is a super long wah-wah Jimi Hendrix sort of guitar outro here. Nice.
The Unforgiven comes next which has a classical acoustic intro, before kicking into the song itself. It is a great piece of music, and this is a decent rendition. This is a great representation of Metallica at their live best: loud; heavy and powerful. A great piece of music, and a top listen. There are some beautiful arrangements here. Kirk’s guitar solo is excellent here, and this is a really great audio experience. Well done. James’s singing towards the end has a sense of urgency about it. Awesome stuff.
Justice Medley comes next. James introduces the piece as what it is, and we hear this medley, which is brilliant for Metallica as they had difficulty performing the album live. This has different sections of the …And Justice For All mixed together into one song. It is a nice twist of events here, and the different parts of the album do, justice, indeed. James’s singing seems better than the original singing he did on the album itself. A great piece of music. At one point, James instructs the crowd to sing along, which they do. Towards the end, it finishes very quickly and this is one superb piece of combined music.
Next is Solos which is 18 minutes long. James preaches to the crowd first, whilst the crowd chants “Metallica!”. Shortly after, Jason Newsted gets some bass playing going which is quite funky. James does some more talking here, which is rather extended. The bass guitar part then finally begins. Jason Newsted reveals himself to be a decent bassist here. Some frenetic playing ensues and incorporates the U.S.A. national anthem. The crowd eventually begins clapping along, which is awesome. Led Zeppelin’s Dazed And Confused is placed into this piece next, which is really different, and Kirk enters the scene at this point. Some other songs here are played as well, which sound almost like Metallica originals. Before long, some amazing guitar playing by Kirk Hammett emerges, which is very Jimi Hendrix sounding. The instrumentals are good, if not rather lengthy. Towards the end, James’s rhythm guitar kicks in to follow along nicely. It finishes with some awesome whammy style dive bombs. Not bad, but pretty long.
Up next is Through The Never which begins as the second half of this recording. It sounds very awesome from the start, with loud and heavy guitars. A top rendition of an underrated Metallica piece, this sounds really top. A great listen, even as a live piece. It is a wonderful sounding piece that is borderline Thrash Metal, especially on this live take. A powerful and great statement by Metallica, this is an unique listening experience. Thoroughly enjoyable.
For Whom The Bell Tolls begins with James Hetfield encouraging the crowd to chant, and drummer Lars Ulrich doing a 4/4 kick drum beat. The song quickly enters, and we have a masterful work. The playing by Metallica sounds really spot on here. When the main riff enters, you’ll be banging your head as well. This is a very good, and rather fast, piece of music to hear. The early Metallica pieces are, in particular, done extremely well here. James sings with a lot of soul on these live performances, and this is quite clearly heard on this live album in that respect. The outro is different, with Kirk Hammett doing some lead whammy stuff, a solo piece in itself. Amazing guitarist, and good tune.
Fade To Black begins with the immortal acoustic part being played as a clean electric guitar part, before Kirk Hammett does his thing on lead guitar. The song eventually kicks in, and this wonderful piece of music is given the live treatment. A very nice way of expressing a very depressed emotional state, a beautiful piece of music. James Hetfield sings in a very menacing way here, and sounds like a Metal God. An extraordinary rendition of a classic piece that sounds really great here. The outro is very deep and emotional sounding, and double bass kick drumming part, along with the guitar solo, sound top. Great music, although rather lengthy towards the end.
Next is Master Of Puppets, with James Hetfield doing some great call and response speech with the audience, before the song kicks in. This is a glorious piece of music, somewhat destroyed by James’s ego. But hey, it is still a top listen. It is seemingly cut down in length as well. In short, this is not the highlight of the album, but is an interesting listen regardless. Good tune.
Following is the feedback laden intro to Seek & Destroy. It eventually enters after that feedback, and yes, this is 18 minutes long. The whole song is wonderfully played and performed by the band, and James Hetfield in particular comes alive here. The riffs are really fantastic here. Before long, it changes tempo and goes into ultra-Thrash Metal mode, more so than the original recording did. It goes back into the main song section, and this whole thing sounds really awesome. After the main song, Kirk Hammett does an extended solo piece with the rest of the band following him. He is truly an amazing guitarist, and this live piece shows it as so. The guitars then cut out, leaving just the bass guitar and drums going. James does some talking to the crowd, whilst Jason Newsted and Lars Ulrich do a great instrumental part. Some call-and-response talk with James and the crowd goes on. A terrific live piece, great to hear. A very Metal sounding piece, this is an interesting listen for the length. Interestingly, James gets individual members of the crowd to sing part of the chorus. Probably a should-have-been-there moment, but good regardless.
Whiplash comes next, and this is a much shorter piece of music. It begins with an array of guitar riffs, James interacting with the crowd and super fast drumming from Lars. It is a wonderful listen, and sounds really top. This is pure Thrash Metal and is a good delivery of the song. Alternating vocals between James and Jason are here, and there is a crazy guitar solo section that really does sound insane. The whole group puts in 100% and the end is lengthy, but good. Metallica then say farewell?
Nothing Else Matters proves that they came back for an encore. It has some electric/acoustic guitar playing for the intro, and the band gradually kick into one of the greatest love songs of all time. It is an excellent live piece that really sounds great here. A song that pulls at heartstrings, this is a great song about love and missing someone, it is not hard to feel emotionally swayed by this. Kirk’s guitar solo is monstrous, and this great song goes well live too. The outro is sublime, too.
Next is Wherever I May Roam which begins with the iconic intro, before the band kick in. We have here a great song done extremely well by Metallica, as much as the original. This is a really great listen, and we have a great example of musicianship. The only thing about this song is that it could have been cut down somewhat in this format, but still sounds really excellent listen. The guitar solos here by Kirk Hammett are blisteringly good, sounding like the Thrash Metal Jimi Hendrix. Another good effort.
Following is Am I Evil? which has a load of feedback at the start of the song, before launching into the guitar version of Gustav Holst’s Mars section from the famous classical piece The Planets. Before long, some soloing occurs, before the band stops completely. The Smoke On The Water and Enter Sandman riffs plays, and the band seemingly messes around for a bit. Before long, the band eventually kicks into a solid rendition of this song. A good piece, even if rather unnecessary here with the interruptions in the middle of the song.
Last Caress is a very short piece (a minute and a half long). It is sounding a lot like Blink-182. Still, a great listen from Metallica. Interesting.
One launches with a load of military sounds and gunfire, just like the album version from …And Justice For All has. It goes on for quite some time, and is not really needed so much on this album. Soon enough, the riff kicks in and we hear some beautiful riffage from the guitars here. James eventually begins singing, and he sings in a wonderful way. It is rather gory subject matter, and is a great piece of music. Very suspenseful throughout, the band give their all. The machine gun sounding midsection is marvelous. The second half is blisteringly fast, and Kirk Hammett’s solo is once again, awesome. Sounding loud and powerful, this is really awesome. The outro is really long, and has the group doing a soloist type thing. James then says thank you to the audience and the band leaves, or do they?
Next is Battery which begins with some funky Blues jamming, obviously being a joke. Shortly after that, Metallica launches into a good cover of So What? which is excellent to hear. Metallica make this song come alive nicely. It gradually goes into the main song, and sounds really awesome. It is so fast that it sounds like these guys were going well over the speed limit of accepted music listening. Great stuff though. The solos and playing in the midsection are really great too. This is definitely a highlight from this album, and sounds powerful in all areas. Excellent stuff. The usual lengthy outros occur, before the band crashes back down to earth. Terrific.
After that is The Four Horsemen which begins with James being obnoxious and talking to the crowd. Before long, Metallica kick in with this superb rendition of the classic tune from Kill ‘Em All. It is a wonderful listen, and although Metallica clearly follow a musical template, they do extremely well here. James Hetfield’s down stroke only palm muted riffing clearly does quite well here. A very good quality rendition, once again. Metallica are well and truly alive here. Kirk’s guitar solo here is miraculously amazing.
Motorbreath kicks off, and is much shorter than most of the other songs on this album. It is amazingly fast, and is a great approach to the original song. The crowd gets involved and sings in various parts as well. The solo sections in particular are really great. A great way to hear the original song, updated for this time period. There is a lengthy outro before going into the next song.
Stone Cold Crazy is the very last song here. Another cover, but done very well by Metallica here. The instrumentation and playing here are really top. This shows that Metallica could deliver both on record, and in a live setting as well. A great listening experience, and a nice way to finish off this live album. Upon the end of this song, the band do some talking upon leaving for good this time and the crowd cheer and chant. Excellent.
Okay, this is a really superb live album. Everything is wonderfully played and performed here. The only real downside to this album is that it is extremely long, both in song length and album length. It is nearly three hours long to listen to. Many of the songs run over their welcome. Still, an excellent quality live show and something very memorable.