‘Metallica Through The Never’ – Album Review
The year 2013 has proven to be a very, very busy one for Metallica. From playing sold-out shows all across the globe to just a few nights ago rocking a packed house at the intimate and legendary Apollo Theater in New York City, the legendary metal band is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. This is most obvious in the simple fact that within the same week, they are celebrating the release of their first ever full-length feature film and its official soundtrack. 'Metallica Through The Never' is a live disc fans need to add to their 'Tallica collection as soon as possible.
Recorded over the course of five nights in 2012 - two in Edmonton, Alberta and three in Vancouver, British Columbia - 'Metallica Through The Never' features the best of the best from those performances, while packing a few punches fans won't be expecting. Diving into the soundtrack, it's easy to think that you're just listening to a standard recording of Metallica, but don't be fooled: this is a movie soundtrack and it has several surprises scattered throughout the 16 tracks.
Taking a look at the track listing, the first surprise that will jump out to hardcore fans is the fact that the band played '...And Justice For All.' For the uninitiated, this is one of the most complex songs written by Metallica, and because of that they rarely play it live. In fact, it's only been played a little more than 230 times since it first debuted on-stage in Budapest, Hungary on Sept. 11, 1988.
Other surprises on the album come in the form of technical glitches. While it might sound strange, the surprises are actually very cool and add to the experience of 'Metallica Through The Never' being a movie soundtrack, rather than just a live album. The technical mishaps you hear on 'Ride the Lightning' and 'Enter Sandman' play significant roles in the plot of the film. During the latter song, frontman James Hetfield talks to the crowd and explains what is going on. "Two people got hurt up here but they will be OK," he tells the crowd. "Can we get some lights up here to assess the damage, please? Should we keep playing?" And with that, the crowd goes nuts as Metallica tear into 'Hit the Lights.'
The last song on the two-disc soundtrack is the instrumental, 'Orion.' Played in an empty arena with no crowd cheering the band along, the song has a powerful, yet haunting feel to it. It's the perfect performance to wrap up the soundtrack as it's the same song that the band plays during the closing credits of the movie.
Full of classic tracks like 'Creeping Death' and 'Master of Puppets,' with a few more recent tunes like 'Fuel,' 'The Memory Remains' and 'Cyanide,' the 'Metallica Through The Never' soundtrack is one of the best sounding live albums released in a long time, and might be the best ever released by Metallica. The only thing that might have taken this album to a new level is the inclusion of a new song; something to get fans ready for the next Metallica album, whenever that might be.
Lars Ulrich's drums have never sounded better on a live recording, Kirk Hammett's solos pierce through your speakers and Robert Trujillo's thunderous bass hits you in your chest. All of that is complimented by Hetfield's signature vocals and heavy guitar riffs. It's mixed perfectly by Metallica soundman Greg Fidelman and is the essential companion to the movie.
'Metallica Through The Never' is a fiery compilation that is full of heavy metal and a few surprises (don't worry - we didn't spoil all of them for you). Fans shouldn't expect anything less from one of metal's greatest bands.