Sunday Sesh: Let’s Just Listen to Metallica’s Power Metal Demo

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In this, the year of our lord 2017, you’ve likely heard just about every version of every single Metallica song. You’ve heard the original No Life ’til Leather demo. You’ve heard that Beyond Magnetic EP. You’ve heard those live versions of “One” with the dueling solos. Hell, you’ve even heard the recording of that time Metallica played “Turn the Page” with Kid Rock (and probably even cringed when Kid Rock greasily bellowed “Smoke a fat ass joint!” So why should you care about one more Metallica recording? Because, friend, it’s quite possible you’ve never heard early 80s speed metal Metallica. Well, thanks to the magic of youtube, you no longer have to pay some shady dealer on Discogs for a bootleg of the unreleased Power Metal demo. Get in here and stab play to hear Metallica pretending to be Diamond Head.

No seriously, this four-track demo, named after the tagline then bassist Ron McGovney had printed on the young band’s business cards, sounds just like Diamond Head and other groups from the NWOBHM and speed metal era. Hetfield sings in a much higher register on several portions of these tracks, and when he isn’t pressing his range, he’s adding that sleazy 80s speed metal swagger to his vocal delivery. Power Metal was recorded in McGovney’s garage and sounds appropriately rough; Lars’s drums are muddy, the production could have been muffled under a blanket, and there’s quite a bit of racket to the guitars, but those riffs that would eventually propel Metallica to the throne of biggest metal band in the world are definitely present. The chemistry between Hetfield and a young Mustaine is undeniable on this demo.

Speaking of Mustaine, two of the four tracks on this demo were written by him. We’re all familiar with the sordid history of “The Mechanix,” but this demo features an extremely early version of “Jump in the Fire” with slightly different lyrics. It’s pretty interesting hearing one of Metallica’s most boogieing tracks in such a primal, rudimentary form. The other two songs are instantly recognizable, but both “Hit the Lights” and “Motorbreath” have just a little special pizzazz to them thanks to Hetfield’s Sean Harris-aping vocal delivery.

This demo is sloppy and boozey, the perfect little nostalgic chase of the hair of the dog to help you through your Sunday. So how do you feel about these tracks? Do you wish Metallica would have maintained this speed metal style? Sound off in the comments below.

(Photo VIA)

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  • Lacertilian

    This Randall Thor Presents: Metallica ain’t too shabby!

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    The best Metallica obvs. Hell, last good demo even. McGovney>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    • Butts4Gutts

      I only liked Metallica before their first demo.

      • GoatForest

        Heh.

        • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

          Welcome to the internet, where “Ride the Lightning sucks” opinions DO exist.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            So very weary of it.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Weary of Metallica?

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            Yeah. I like ’em, used to like ’em and probably will like ’em in the future. But I could go on without hearing their (old) songs for the next 10-20 years.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Understandable. Personally I don’t jam them every week either, but every once in a while I put on one of their old records and I’m almost instantly reminded of why I liked those albums in their first place.
            When I first started to more explore metal on the internet, it almost came as a shock to me. Whenever I got into contact with your average metalhead in real life or even on the internet when I went to those popular review sites, there’s one big circle jerk going on concerning the classic metal albums. Then I got to the metal boards and I saw that there really were metalheads who considered for instance Master of Puppets pure garbage – plus they’re a lot more vocal about their dislike about something as well.

          • Igor Javutich

            I love the 1st 4 albums and hardly ever listen to them, much like Number Of The Beast, Master Of Reality, Physical Graffiti, and Animals.

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        You don’t like metal though. Utmu v2.0

        • Butts4Gutts

          Hence my comment.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            Oh I get it. Joke. I get jokes, haha

  • IronLawnmower

    Speed metal thrashin’ oh yeah.

  • Butts4Gutts

    Ban Randall Thor.

  • GoatForest

    Yeaaah! This is seriously nice. I love the NWOBHM influenced Metallica.

  • i know several dads who are going to see Metallica when they come to my town

    • Igor Javutich
    • Dumpster Lung

      I’d absolutely see them if they came through Nashville, but closest is Atlanta. I go down there for shows often enough, but that drive on top of the already real expensive tickets? Idk, I think that’s too much.

      • Igor Javutich

        The set list on this tour is crap and they have boring opening acts. Hard pass.

        • Dumpster Lung

          Oh yeah, I forgot about that, too.

        • …boring acts and Local H, don’t forget them!

          • Igor Javutich

            Redundant statement iz redundant

      • I’d go too 🙂 I just wouldn’t pay money. A good live show is a good live show, even if the artist isn’t one’s favorite.

    • Sir Ukkometso The Based

      Metallica is coming to Funland and guess who’s going. Not me, but I guess someone with a worse taste in music will.

    • Señor Jefe El Rossover

      I’d go if the support bands were worth a dman.

  • Igor Javutich

    ‘Puppets’ Metallica = best Metallica

    • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

      Always been a toss-up between Lightning and Puppets for me. Though I think Kill and Justice are fantastic as well; both in their own way.

      • Igor Javutich

        1st 4 albums. After that, meh.

        • Óðinn

          ^This.

        • Dumpster Lung

          I’d include the self-titled as one of the good ones too, just on its own merit alone, but contextually it sucks because it followed AJFA.

          I like some of the newer ones too (particularly the newest one), but it’s a little harder to enjoy right after hearing some super vintage stuff like this demo lol

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            For me, a change of style in itself is never really a problem – not even if the band goes into a more commercial direction.
            Being creatively bankrupt on the other hand, is a problem.

          • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

            I’ll always have a soft spot for the Black Album because “The Unforgiven” was one of the first metal songs I really loved.

          • GoatForest

            I like disc two of the covers album.

          • Dumpster Lung

            If the 2nd disc has the Mercyful Fate medley, then that’s the best.

          • GoatForest

            That was a killer medley. That was disc one, though.

          • Dumpster Lung

            Ah, that’s why your last comment felt so WRONG, then 😉

        • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

          Agreed. Though I used to hate Black Album, but after revisiting it some time ago, I’d say that for what it is, it’s a solid album.

    • ME GORAK™✓ᶜᵃᵛᵉᵐᵃⁿ

      LIGHTNING>JUSTICE>PUPPETS>KILL
      ALL ARE NO SMASH THOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Sid Vicious Promos

      The Todd Rundgren concert last night was so good. I would post video of it but it’s over a gigabyte per video because I filmed it in 4K.

      • Óðinn

        You can easily downrez those videos with QuickTime.

  • Hans

    This is kinda fun. Recently came across a record vendor with all sorts of metal rarities, including the Jump In The Fire and Creeping Death singles and even the Metal Massacre Vol. I comp. Some expensive ass records there, ranging from 50 to 100€.

    In utterly unrelated news, The Impossible Kid has joined the list of Shit I Missed Out On Last Year, so I say let’s just watch one of the best cat videos on the internet.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7T_KKiQiolk

  • pïgchop™

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBotKJTwMV4
    Metallica – No Life ‘Til Leather, Power Metal & Megaforce Demos

    RAGE n’ THRASH!

  • I love when Randall Thor mess with the robit circuits.

    Thanks for this post, W.

    Have a great Sunday, everyone!

  • GrungierNine0

    Speaking of Metallica, “Master of Puppets” makes a damn good Mother’s Day gift.

    • Igor Javutich

      As far as 1980s Rock/Metal goes, Mom’s more of a GN’R gal.

    • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

      About 10-12 years ago, I bought my Mom a CD for Mother’s Day, but instead of wrapping it, I wrapped my copy of Emperor’s “Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk” and gave it to her while keeping the CD I had bought for her in my pocket. When she opened, I told her “it looks weird, but it’s a classical music album, you can play it in your office and chill”. She played it and actually dug the first few seconds of the opening song, but then she skipped to “Ye Entrancemperium” she realized I was playing a joke on her. Then I gave her the CD in my pocket

  • Óðinn

    So Metallica aped that ‘Mechanix’ song from Megadeth now? 😉

  • Igor Javutich

    GNU MUSIK: something fun and spacey
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwJF3RHI8jk

  • tigeraid

    Holy shit, how have I never heard of this?I must hang my mighty head in shame before the True Gods.

  • Sid Vicious Promos

    Anything after And Justice For All isn’t my thing, especially the Black Album.

    • Wet W’s Whistle

      You must be a pretty nice guy.

      • Sid Vicious Promos

        I’m not going to dignify that question.

        • gacharicmeatspin

          Because it’s a known fact that being a nice guy doesn’t get you women. In fact, not getting women is the thing that MAKES you a nice guy.

    • Megadead™

      What a unique thing to say!

    • Riboflavin dreams

      Well of course. That would violate your principal of only enjoying music made before 1990.

      • Sid Vicious Promos

        Exactly.

  • Elegant Gazing Globe

    Yes

  • Óðinn
  • Igor Javutich

    I still have to put my Justice tour shirt on ebay and see if anyone bites.

  • Óðinn
  • atchdav

    I saw Psycroptic with Archspire, Visceral Disgorge and Seeker at my local pub last night. It was a great show. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f15ba702127f39edc02ddcb6d434019d3d1670de659fcd177848d0cc9010896b.jpg

  • Max

    Was this the actual cover art? Because if so it’s the best cover art Metallica have ever had. Boris Vallejo was absolutely invigorating back then.

    • Wet W’s Whistle

      I think it’s just the cover commonly associated with the bootleg.