Various Artists – Metallic Assault (Tribute to Metallica)

“Cannot kill the family, Battery is found in me.” – Metallica, “Battery”.

Every musician, from small time to big time, has their own heros. Every guy in every garage band has had someone inspire them enough to make them pick up an instrument and learn how to play. For me, and probably hundreds of thousands of musicians around the world, that inspiration was Metallica. Sure, now they’re short-haired, radio friendly, Napster sueing weenies, but back in the day, they rocked. Back in the day, they ruled. There was a time when James and the crew owned the scene. This CD is a celebration and tribute to times of past. A time when four hungry, angry, passionate youths had taken over the metal world, and wouldn’t release the reigns for many years to come.

I’ve heard several other Metallica tributes. For the most part, they’re compilations from no-name thrash/death/punk/industrial artists, trying to make a buck off of some Metallica fans. No so here. Classic bands and musicians, who either influenced or were influenced by the big M, are here covering 10 of Metallica’s hits. For those statistic freaks, 4 came from The Black Album, 3 from Master of Puppets, 2 from Kill ‘Em All, and 1 from Ride the Lightning. Zero from Load and Reload (take the hint, fellows).

Suicidal Tendencies. Anthrax. Kiss. Thin Lizzy. Slayer. Metal Church. Ugly Kid Joe. Life of Agony. King’s X. Living Colour. All of these bands and many more are represented on the album. One annoying thing is the liner notes don’t tell what bands the artists are associated with.

The music on the album is basically dead on. A few of the musical performers really shine through the songs. For example, Mike Clark and R. Trujillo (Suicidal Tendencies) really come out on the intro with a Suicidal type sound. The majority of the album stays true to the Metallica versions, however. In fact, most of the songs could easily pass for Metallica outtakes or alternate versions. One exception is on “The Thing that Should Not Be” – they changed the main riff! It’s just off one beat too, which makes it really annoying to listen to.

While the musicians on the album spent most of their energy trying to sound like Metallica, the vocalists seem to have spent extra time to make sure they didn’t imitate Hetfield, and kept their own traditional sound. In that respect, the album almost seems like Metallica karaoke — without the free beer. “Whiplash” could have been written for (or about) Billy Milano (MOD/SOD). Milano pairs up nicely with the frenzied Scott Ian (Anthrax/SOD) on guitar to make for one hell of a tight track. Chuck Billy (Testament) belts out a terrific version of “Seek and Destroy”, which comes off slightly heavier than the original. Burton C. Bell (Fear Factory), one of my favorite vocalists, butchers “Enter Sandman”, and you have to think his voice would better fit something off of Kill ‘Em All. Doug Pinnick (King’s X) does an interesting version of “The Unforgiven” (for the record, Doug isn’t anywhere near James’ range – and probably vice versa). Joey Belladonna (ex-Anthrax) does a surprisingly good job covering “Sad But True”, as does Whitflied Crane (ex-Ugly Kid Joe and ex-Life of Agony) performing “Sanitarium”. Of course, Crane is overshadowed by John Marshall (Metal Church) and Scott Ian’s dueling guitars on the track.

There have been several “industrial” Metallica tribues. There was a cello tribute album. There have been punk-influenced Metallica tributes. There is more than one death metal Metallica tribute. Now, finally, there is one from true Metallica fans, people who have shared the stage with them and are truely trying to pay tribute to a classic band they love and respect(ed).

That being said, I’m not in love with the album. The versions are close enough to remind me of the originals, and after I was done listening to this CD, that’s exactly what I did — I pulled out the original albums. Metallic Assault isn’t in my CD Changer out in the car, but Kill ‘Em All and Master of Puppets went back in this week. The disc is definately worth a listen (at domestic prices, not crazy import prices!), but I think it’s fair to say that while all the songs pay tribute to these 10 classic tunes, none of them surpass the originals.


01. Battery
Eric A.K. – Vocals
Mike Clark – Guitar
Robert Trujillo – Bass
Dave Lombardo – Drums

02. Sad But True
Joey Belladonna – Vocals
Bruce Kulick – Guitar
Marco Mendoza – Bass
Eric Singer – Drums

03. Sanitarium
Whitfield Crane – Vocals
John Marshall – Guitar
Scott Ian – Guitar
Tony Levin – Bass
Mickey Dee – Drums

04. The Unforgiven
Doug Pinnick – Vocals
Vernon Reid – Guitar
Tony Franklin – Bass
Frankie Banali – Drums

05. The Thing That Should Not Be
John Garcia – Vocals
Kurdt Vanderhoof – Guitar
Jeff Pilson – Bass
Jason Bonham – Drums

06. Enter Sandman
Burton C. Bell – Vocals
John Christ – Guitar
Robert Trujillo – Bass
Tommy Aldridge – Drums

07. Whiplash
Billy Milano – Vocals
Scott Ian – Guitar
Phil Soussan – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums

08. Nothing Else Matters
Jon Oliva – Vocals
Bob Balch – Guitar
Lemmy Kilmister – Bass
Gregg Bissonette – Drums

09. Seek And Destroy
Chuck Billy – Vocals
Jake E Lee – Guitar
Jimmy Bain – Bass
Aynsley Dunbar – Drums

10. For Whom The Bell Tolls
Eric Bloom – Vocals
Al Pitrelli – Guitar
Tony Franklin – Bass
Aynsley Dunbar – Drums

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