We interrupt your regularly scheduled headbanging to bring you an exciting revelation. This year, on Saturday, April 18--known to the western world as “Record Store Day”--American thrash metal legends Metallica will reissue their demo, No Life 'Til Leather. What’s more, the demo will be reissued on its original format, a limited-edition cassette! Metallica’s own label, Blackened Recordings, will handle the reissue, with extended CD and LP versions to follow later this year. Incidentally, this is the first time the demo will see an official release. Whether Metallica are reissuing their nearly 33-year-old demo on cassette in an attempt at seeming “hip” again, as some cynical metalheads have already suggested, or that the veteran metallers are just going through a midlife crisis and wish to relive their early days of DIY tape production as accurately as possible is ultimately besides the point. No Life 'Til Leather is a piece of metal history, and one of the most highly sought-after cassettes in the world of metal memorabilia. No longer will metalheads have to remain lashed to YouTube or forebear the abnormalities of mp3 rips to jam this illustrious demo.
Back in 1982, Lars was still (sort of) in high school, Mustaine was still in the band, Hetfield was living on original bassist Ron McGovney’s couch and Metallica sounded way more like the NWOBHM scene that influenced them than the Thrash Metal Gods we’ve all come to known them as. Looking back, the No Life 'Til Leather demo is one of the most important releases in not only American metal history, but in metal history the world over.
Through a Speaker Rumbly reached out to Scott Koerber, one of Decibel’s inveterate metalhead correspondents, to see what this reissue meant to him. He had the following to say:
“Metallica could do no wrong in the '1980s. It’s all right there: heaviness, speed, melody, aggression, heaps of atmosphere. Three decades of horsemen, electric chairs, tolling bells, puppet masters and sanitariums, and I still can’t get enough. Metallica was a HUGE part of my junior high school life a million years ago in the '80s, and yet those records still continue to haunt and mystify me today. I cannot wait to see what else they unearth with these special releases and demos!”
By jamming this demo on its original format, reissue or not, even simply holding the cassette in your hands, you are sojourning back through time, or, at the very least, folding time in on itself. These seven songs that comprise the No Life 'Til Leather demo were recorded to tape; they were mailed out--by Lars himself--on tape; and they will be resurrected and jammed once more and forever on tape.
“No life 'til leather!” Record Store Day is gonna kick some ass this year! Long live analog! Long live Metallica!