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Metal - Released September 24, 2013 | Blackened Records

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Metal - Released July 27, 1984 | Blackened Records

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Metal - Released August 21, 1987 | Blackened Records

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Metal - Released February 1, 2019 | Blackened Records

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Metal - Released September 24, 2013 | Blackened Records

After 1988's ...And Justice for All, Metallica pared down its progressive, heavy metal sound. During the '90s, the band's studio releases grew slicker and more produced, resulting in mostly radio-friendly, good ol' boy metal. By the end of the decade, Metallica was established as the pioneer of modern metal, but the band hadn't done anything innovative, arguably, in ten years. In April 1999, the group performed two concerts with the San Francisco Symphony, and the result was S&M, a two-disc collection of the concerts. Overall, the album successfully pairs violin strings with guitar strings, but it's no surprise that the best tracks here are the older songs; their multi-layered, compositional style works well with symphonic arrangements. "Master of Puppets," "Call of the Ktulu," "One," and "For Whom the Bell Tolls" sound richer and fuller with violin, trumpet, clarinet, harp, trombone, and flute accompaniments, but "Sad but True," "Devil's Dance," and especially "Of Wolf and Man" range from haphazard and melodramatic to uninspired. S&M definitely has its moments, and not just with the pre-Black Album material: "Fuel" surpasses the furious pumping energy of the studio version, "Hero of the Day" stays poignant throughout, and "Until It Sleeps" has a wonderfully sinister feel. James Hetfield maintains his madman persona from beginning to end, laughing maniacally and grunting and growling at all the right moments. Overall, the symphony adds a macabre, ghoulish atmosphere -- it all sounds like a Broadway freak show or a revved-up Danny Elfman nightmare. Which is exactly what a Metallica album should sound like, even if every song isn't the best (or most appropriate) in the band's catalog. © Gina Boldman /TiVo
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Metal - Released June 4, 1996 | Blackened Records

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Metal - Released November 18, 1997 | Blackened Records

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Metal - Released May 15, 2020 | Blackened Records

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Metal - Released October 8, 2013 | Blackened Records

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Metal - Released November 24, 1998 | Blackened Records

For many years, Metallica's 1987 EP Garage Days Re-Revisited was the most sought-after item in their catalog; it was constantly bootlegged in the '90s, and often supplemented by a host of covers Metallica had released on singles and compilations throughout the years. By 1998, the band had understandably grown frustrated with this situation and decided to confront the problem head-on by reissuing all these rarities. Savvy businessmen that they are, they also realized they needed to give hardcore fans who already owned all the covers a reason to purchase the new set -- hence, the expansion of the Garage Days EP to the double-disc blowout Garage, Inc. The second disc's rarities are balanced by the first disc's new covers, the bulk of which were recorded following the Reload tour. It shouldn't come as a surprise that these covers recall the blooze 'n' boogie heavy rock of the Loads, but what is a surprise is that Metallica seems to have found their footing in this style through other people's songs. Whether it's Bob Seger, Blue Öyster Cult, Thin Lizzy, Nick Cave, or the all-star jam on Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Tuesday's Gone," the band effortlessly makes the songs seem like their own, through a bizarre mix of respect and ballsy irreverence. Sure, it may not be nearly as raw as early Metallica, but it is a better listen than either of the Load records. And if raw is what you want, the equally diverse disc two provides all the thrills you could hope for. At one time, it might have seemed a little odd that Metallica would cover Budgie, Diamond Head, the Misfits, and Queen, but if Garage, Inc. proves anything, it's that the group's musical instincts, risks, and sense of humor have made them the greatest metal band of the '80s and '90s. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Metal - Released September 24, 2013 | Blackened Records

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Metal - Released October 8, 2013 | Blackened Records

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Metal - Released July 25, 1983 | Blackened Records

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Metal - Released September 24, 2013 | Blackened Records

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Metal - Released August 5, 2020 | Blackened Records

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Metal - Released September 24, 2013 | Blackened Records

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Metal - Released August 21, 1987 | Blackened Records

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Metal - Released October 16, 2020 | Blackened Records

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Metal - Released August 5, 2020 | Blackened Records

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Metal - Released September 24, 2013 | Blackened Records