I was a big fan of Metallica when they released their 1991 self-titled black album. My CD of that album must have worn out very fast because of the gazillion plays it had to endure. Obviously, I was very excited, then, when the band released the successor Load in 1996. But as oh-so-often when expectations are too high, one is disappointed – at least at first.
To cut a long story short, Metallica’s still managed to produce something phenomenal from that record: the limited edition single release of Hero Of The Day, which came out on October 22, 1996, on Elektra. Besides the song being one of my favorites on the album, the single comes with 4 Motörhead covers that were recorded live direct to two-track at the Plant Studios in Sausalito on December 13, 1995, during rehearsal for Lemmy’s 50th Birthday Party at the Whiskey A Go-Go, Los Angeles.
Many bad things have been said and written about Lars Ulrich’s live drumming over the years, but the band’s performance on these four live songs is great and simply rock n’ roll. Even though not all riffs and drum fills are perfect – Stone Dead Forever (track 4) has some rough edges –, the raw, energetic, and pure sound of Metallica blasts through the speakers and makes the listener feel as if he is standing in a venue and the band is rockin’ out on stage. James’s singing on the Motörhead covers is more aggressive than on the album tracks and reminds me of his Metallica beginning, which is a good thing for me.
The four live covers were later released on Garage Inc. with other B-sides. I enjoy listening to this single, because the music and the sings have a unique composition and are a closed entity in itself. If you like the rougher work of Metallica, this is a nice gem you might want to check out.