Fit to Be Tied

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Aversion represent an alternate universe where Metallica never made it big, never left southern California, and where they had a singer named Christian Fuhrer. Fuhrer's vocal similarity to James Hetfield is jaw-dropping -- dig how he elongates his "yeahs" in "Down This Way." The band reasonably replicates early Metallica; the intro to "Dry Up-Blow Away" bears more than a passing resemblance to the outro of "For Whom the Bell Tolls," which Aversion quotes at the end of this album. Of course, Metallica would never have had a song called "Vodka Frenzy" -- not the classic incarnation, anyway -- and the overall tone here is much lighter. File this under "crossover," in which thrash riffing is leavened by punky economy and a general, um, aversion, to solos. Occasionally, the band ventures into more melodic territory à la early Annihilator, but minus the guitar pyrotechnics. Songwriting separates Metallica from these adherents; these tracks are short blasts of energy that rarely stray from basic riffs (though "Criminal" breaks up the album with surprisingly proggy bass work). Still, the performances are tight, the production is heavy, and Fuhrer's vocals are catchy. A video for "Let It Go" even made it onto MTV for a moment. This record is for thrash completists only, but it's enjoyable.

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