Review: No Life ‘Till Leather by Metallica
25th of August, 2009
No Life ‘Till Leather Demo
James Hetfield • Lars Ulrich • Dave Mustaine • Ron McGovney
This demo is terrible. The quality is demo quality, so I’m not giving it a hard time on that account, but there’s a lot wrong with this band, and unless all the other metal bands back in 1982 were even worse and I just don’t know about them, I can’t understand how Metallica got anybody to believe in them enough to sign them or give them studio time or anything like that.
First, I haven’t listened to Metallica in years, with the occasional exception of radio or friends cars or similar. They were the third metal band I got into as a 14-year-old, after Alice Cooper and Megadeth. Nowdays I’m into so much different rock music, I simply don’t have time to listen to second-rate crap like Metallica.
For reasons I haven’t reflected upon yet, I assigned myself the, um… assignment of listening to a Metallica record a day until current with the goal of having heightened appreciation for other better music like Dream Theater and Slayer and Amorphis, among others.
The primary problem with this demo is that on most of the songs, you can hear the band counting: “one and two and three and four and one…” Especially true on Motorbreath and Seek & Destroy.
Next problem is James’ voice. He sounds like high-pitched, squeeky, 80′s butt-rock guy. Back in ’81 and ’82, James gave up guitar to focus on vocals, which makes no sense, because he sounded like 80′s butt-rock guy, and quitting guitar to focus on being butt-rock guy makes no sense.
Lastly, there’s this song called Mechanix on this little demo. The song is full of double meanings about a car mechanic working on a car and/or being intimate. It should be a fun, testosterone-soaked metal coolness, but other than Mustaine’s extremely solid and flamboyant guitar solo, the song lacks any kind of confidence. It sounds like the band is actually kind of embarassed by the song, as if they’re afraid their moms will hear it. They later recorded So What and Last Caress, two of the raunchiest songs of all time, so I don’t know what this wimpy sounding recording is all about.
So, on the one hand, a garbage record: drap demo quality, the band obviously has their music teacher standing up in front of them counting off the beats, the singer sucks like crazy, and they’re embarassed of their songs.
On the other hand, when I was fourteen, I loved this band, and it’s sort of fun to go back and listen to all this garbage again. It’s already given me a deeper appreciation for Opeth and Bad Religion and Nick Cave, and I’m only one day in to this project.
★★☆☆☆ – Two stars: One for nostalgia, one the rarity of the demo. Zero stars for excellence.