1987: How the Garage Days EP pulled Metallica back from the brink
At the start of 1987, Metallica were teetering on the edge of a crisis – until they knocked out a cheaply recorded EP of covers
It was, on paper, the simplest, easiest, most fun record Metallica ever made. It was also the most paradoxical. For while the four-track The $5.98 E.P. Garage Days Re-Revisited had taken just six days to make, from conception to final mix, it was the product of one of the bleakest, most lastingly damaging periods in the Metallica story. A time when the band, at last on the threshold of major worldwide success, found themselves staring into the abyss, feeling wronged by the recent accidental death of their bassist Cliff Burton, and doing wrong to others, lashing out blindly at Cliff’s innocent replacement, Jason Newsted, sewing the seeds for both their catapulting success over the next five years, and their ugly near-demise a decade after that.