This is a double disc set of covers of Metallica’s favorite tunes, performed and recorded by Metallica over a time span of more than a decade. Please be warned, there is no original music by Metallica in this release. The first disc contains eleven songs that were newly recorded in 1998. The second disc has what used to be collector’s items and rarities: Garage Days Revisited (1984), Garage Days Re-Revisited (1987), B-sides from singles (1988 — ’91), and Motorheadache (1995), which is a set of four songs originally by Motorhead. I suppose this is Metallica’s way of paying homage to bands like Diamond Head, Motorhead, the Misfits, and Budgie, whose music had strong influence on the band, especially in the early days.
I am happy about Garage Inc. , because I have been searching high and low for the ever-so-elusive Garage Days recordings without any luck (unless, of course, I was willing to pay an insane amount to a collector for a copy). Now I have Garage Days , as well as the much touted B-side recordings of songs like “So What,” “Breadfan,” and others in one compilation disc! That’s the best part. Besides that, I think, this release has very little to offer. Don’t get me wrong, Metallica kicks the proverbial ass real hard on both the CDs, but I’m starting to fear this is a beginning to the end of this mighty band — do they not have anything new to offer anymore (so they had to resort to releasing cover tunes?). Although I am a huge fan of Metallica, holding all of their music (both old and new) in high esteem, Garage Inc. just doesn’t seem to cut it for me.
Nevertheless, you can’t help but smile from ear to ear as Kirk and James methodically attack Black Sabbath’s “Sabbra Cadabra,” (I was thrilled to find “National Acrobat” smacked right in the middle of Sabbra for a few minutes. Oh, James crooning in “Acrobat” to ape Ozzy is pure killer! You won’t think this is the same guy growling in “Battery”) Blue Oyster Cult’s “Astronomy,” or the Misfits’ “Die, Die My Darling.” Then, of course, you have old favorites like “Am I Evil?,” “Blitzkrieg,” “Helpless,” “Crash Course in Brain Surgery,” “Last Caress,” “Green Hell,” etc. (It’s cute when Kirk plays the main riff to Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills” at the end of “Green Hell”) But my favorite song on the first disc is “Whiskey in the Jar,” a flaming rendition of a Thin Lizzy song — chops heavy and very well performed.
The inside sleeve notes has elaborate stories on early Metallica, their influences, serious/humorous pictures, brief notes on songs, and sorts. On the back cover of the CD case you find several monikers that Metallica possibly (playfully) considered for this album: In Garage We Trust , Delicate Sounds from the Garage , Yellow Brick Garage , In Through the Garage Door , to name a few. Absolute hilarity! Perhaps, Metallica wanted this album to be taken on the lighter side.