On August 21, 1987, "Metallica" released "The $ 5.98 E.P .: Garage Days Re-Revisited."
This is an EP that we probably would not review had it not been for its historical importance.
This is the band's first sign of life since the tragic death of legendary bassist Cliff Burton.
Burton was killed in September 1986, during the band's European tour to promote the masterful album "Master Of Puppets" when the band's bus overturned and crushed him to death.
Burton was one of the pillars of the band and after his tragic death, the band's future was not curtained. Eventually "Metallica" members decided that Burton would have liked to see them continue and they auditioned about 50 bassists, including Les Claypool from "Primus". In the end, Jason Newsted, who had been in "Flotsam and Jetsam" until then, was chosen to step into Cliff Burton's big shoes.
In order to alleviate the pain and sorrow created following the death of their friend and in order to test the abilities of the new member, the band members decided to write material for a new album. This was also at the advice of the record company, who thought it would be good for the band to release new material before going on stage for a scheduled performance of the band at the "Monsters of Rock Festival" in the summer of 1987. Despite the good intentions, it did not work so well and the only thing the band managed to produce was a demo of the song "Blackened". James Hetfield later broke his arm in a skateboard accident and the band decided to abandon the idea of writing a new album.
(Photo: Ross Halfin)
The members went into the garage of Lars Ulrich's house and started making cover versions of their favorite bands, by the way... They used Jason's skills as a repairman to upholster the garage and improve its acoustics.
The main material played was by the NWOBHM bands - the new wave of British heavy metal, but also by post-punk bands. After rehearsals, the band moved to Los Angeles to record the EP.
The album was released on vinyl and cassettes on August 21, 1987, and included 5 songs. The name of the album was chosen by the band members to indicate its price and to prevent the record stores from charging a higher price for it. On the original cassettes, there was even a sticker that read: "If they try to charge more, STEAL IT!"
Opens the album "Helpless" originally by "Diamond Head" a band that has already won a cover by "Metallica" with "Am I Evil" released as a b-side to the song "Creeping Death" from the album "Ride The Lightning" about three years earlier.
Other bands that have received cover versions on this EP are the post-punk bands "Killing Joke" and the "Misfits" with Glenn Danzig, the Scottish Heavy Metal band "Holocaust" and the amazing Welsh trio "Budgie".
It is enough to listen to the powerful opening of the album to understand that the band made the right choice with the acceptance of Jason. And for those who weren't sure yet, then the bass line at the opening of the "Budgie" song left no room for doubt. Jason Newsted is the right bass player for "Metallica".
Over the years this EP became a rare product until it was re-released on the band's private label several years ago. All the songs from this album were included on the band's double album "Garage Inc." Which are all cover versions of "Metallica" for bands they grew up on.