Various Artists

A Punk Tribute to Metallica

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Cleopatra's A Punk Tribute to Metallica is already the label's third return to that well, following metal and industrial-themed projects. There's obviously a greater musical affinity here than in the latter case -- for example, Metallica's Misfits covers were instrumental in renewing interest in that band when most of their catalog was out of print. But truth be told, the musical match was never an ideal one -- Metallica was always a little too tight and technical to infuse simple punk songs with the loose energy that generally brings them across best. Conversely, as this album demonstrates, Metallica's music doesn't always work incredibly well in the hands of punk artists who routinely play less technically demanding fare. There are exceptions, of course. Bad Brains guitarist Dr. Know ("Master of Puppets") and '80s hardcore vets like Flipper ("Sad But True"), D.O.A. ("Motorbreath"), and Agent Orange ("Seek and Destroy") are all pretty good matches for their chosen material. But the album also has its share of awkward misfires, and a few tracks that, while not embarrassing, just don't really click. It's a mixed bag, but it may be worth sorting through for Metallica fanatics.

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