In a move that will save Metallica fans countless hours of hunting through the bargain bins of record stores while irritating those who already have gone to those lengths, the Bay Area metal quartet announced plans to release a collection of B-sides and out-of-print rarities this fall.
Although not set in stone, tracks such as "Am I Evil?" -- an updated version of a Diamond Head song, from that band's 1984 European EP, Creeping Death -- and "Crash Course In Brain Surgery," from Metallica's 1987 EP, Garage Days Re-Revisited, are being considered for inclusion, according to the foursome's official website. Other possible tunes include covers of Queen's "Stone Cold Crazy" and Motörhead's "Stone Dead Forever."
A spokesperson for the band's label, Elektra Records, who did not want to be named, confirmed the album's Nov. 17 release date. The release will coincide with that of an already-announced Metallica home video, which is set to come out on the same day.
Formed in 1981, Metallica -- who currently comprise singer/guitarist James Hetfield, guitarist Kirk Hammett, drummer Lars Ulrich and bassist Jason Newsted -- began their career with a frantic speed-metal bent on albums such as 1983's Kill 'Em All, but they began heading for more melodic pastures with the 1996 release of Load.
Fans such as 26-year-old Justin Bell of Bloomington, Ind., offered mixed reactions to news of the planned release. Bell acknowledged in an e-mail that the material was "very hard to get hold of," but pointed out that "it makes the stuff I have less special, because I have all these songs already on the assorted singles and EPs."
But Metallica representatives say they are just giving the fans what they want.
"Metallica has always been motivated by a desire to do what the fans want. This album just represents the next step in that process," said a source close to the band, who added that Metallica plan to augment the current selections with a September recording session of new covers.
Going a step further, Bell registered his itemized dissatisfaction with the upcoming release. "OK, Garage Days Revisited cost me 14 bucks, Garage Days Re-Revisited cost me $20, the 'One' single from Japan cost me $25, 'Enter Sandman' cost me $10, 'Unforgiven' cost me $20, the 'Sad But True' single cost me $12, the Motörhead stuff cost me $20 ... and all this is 'special.' "
Chris Hebertson, 25, of Tahlequah, Okla., weighed in with a more optimistic view. "I am more excited about the home video! Particularly because I was at the [May 9, 1997, Ft. Worth, Texas] show that the video was shot at, and it was a good one!
"The new album of B-sides should be all right. I have the Garage Days Re-Revisited CD. It is pretty hard to get a hold of these days, but I have been a fan since '87 and I bought my copy a long time ago -- when it was still available in the record stores ... this album should be good because it will have every cover they have done on one CD."
The current, tentative track-listing, according to the band's website, is:
"Am I Evil?," "Blitzkrieg," "Helpless," "The Small Hours," "The Wait," "Crash Course In Brain Surgery," "Last Caress/Green Hell," "Breadfan," "The Prince," "Stone Cold Crazy," "Killing Time," "So What," "Overkill," "Damage Case," "Stone Dead Forever" and "Too Late Too Late."