VARIOUS ARTISTS - "A TRIBUTE TO METALLICA - METALLIC ASSAULT" (TRIAGE)
Triage seems to be doing quite a few tribute albums, and they're all pretty cool (Dwell, take heed!). For starters, they always have a star-studded cast. A sticker on the front mentions "Members and ex-members of Megadeth, Kiss, Anthrax, Wasp, Motorhead, Fear Factory and Many More", but you could easily add Flotsam and Jetsam, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, Ugly Kid Joe, Metal Church, King Diamond, Bon Jovi, King's X, Living Colour, Bonham, MOD, Savatage, Testament, Ozzy Osbourne, Rainbow, SOD, Free, Asia, Dokken, Wasp, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Blue Murder and Blue Oyster Cult to the list. It is, in one word, impressive! Second, these guys in general know how to play their instruments a lot better than the tribute victims (then again, the members of Metallica were never really known for their technical instrumental prowess).
"Battery": Good version, though with too much distortion on the guitars. Dave Lombardo on drums, Erik A.K. on vocals.
"Sad But True": Your chance to hear Joey Belladonna sing a non-party song. Sounds very heavy, especially bass-wise (Marco "Twisted Sister" Mendoza).
"Welcome Home (Sanitarium)": Quite good with a prominent place for the bass (Tony Levin, though I don't know if this is he of Bon Jovi or he of King Crimson/Liquid Tension Experiment). The vocals are not too excellent (Whitfield Crane of Ugly Kid Joe).
"The Unforgiven": Doug Pinnick does things with his voice he'd better not do. Sounds horrible. Freaky guitar work by Vernon Reid (Living Colour).
"The Thing that Should Not be": Very heavy, very good, one of the best tracks. Drums by Jason Bonham, guitar by Kurdt Vanderhoof (hence perhaps the heavy sound not dissimilar to Metal Church).
"Enter Sandman": A weak track, musically in no way a match for the original. Burton C. Bell (who?!) delivers bad vocals, too.
"Whiplash": Vocalist Billy Milano and guitarist Scott Ian cause this to have become sortof a hardcore version of the original. OK, really, but not too brilliant. Phil Soussan (Motley Crue, Ozzy) on bass.
"Nothing Else Matters": I've heard this too often. I can't stand the track anymore. Lemmy plays bass, but I wish he'd done the vocals so they'd have been unconventional at the least (here John "Savatage" Oliva taken care of the honours, not too bad). In total not exactly one of the best tracks.
"Seek and Destroy": A very good version of a fine original tune, with sharp guitar work by Jake E. Lee, energetic drumming by Aynsley Dunbar (Whitesnake, Journey), bass by Jimmy Bain (he of the legendary best Rainbow line-up).
"For Whom the Bell Tolls": Good version, would have been one of the finest track if not Eric "Blue Oyster Cult" Bloom had found it necessary to do the vocals. Al "Asia" Pitrelli on guitar and Dunbar on drums again.
I've heard that people generally think the Triage tribute albums are just "dutifully played versions of well-known originals", but I'd rather have these any day above the "dutifully death-metallized/sodomized decayed versions" you get on tribute albums a lot. Good stuff.
Written December 2000
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