I'm not usually one to pick up Metal Hammer's special editions. As an expensive import title, the regular magazine alone is a budget buster but I felt compelled to grab their Metallica 30th Anniversary Event special when Barnes & Noble had it on the shelf for $14.99, easily ten dollars less than I have seen the same issue for sale in independent record stores. Like many ages-old Metallica fans, I have mixed feelings about the current band and their recent output but I cannot deny that the four-night series of 30th Anniversary concerts from late in 2011 at the Fillmore Theatre in San Francisco is something I would have given about anything to attend. Until their marketing machine releases the inevitable DVD/CD collection of the whole affair, this package, complete with a massive Metallica-drenched magazine and an exclusive 45, is a pretty neat set.
The wax itself is a nice enough 7". "So What," from the December 9 show, features progenitor Animal from the Anti-Nowhere League and flipside "Through the Never," originally on Metallica, is culled from the December 10 set. The sleeve itself is heavy cardstock similar to that that envelops the entire package. The vinyl has a UK-style breakout center and song titles etched into the run-off matrices.
The record is supposed to be the extra here, second to the magazine, and feels as such. The magazine itself, a collaboration between Metal Hammer and Metallica's So What! fan club publication, is magnificent, weighing in at 130 largely fluff-free pages. This publication rivals many tour programmes and is packed with photos, interviews, timelines and set lists from the entire week of the concerts. It's literally several hours' worth of reading, cover to cover, and, even for the Metalli-jaded such as myself, compelling stuff.
All in all, a really nice package, no piece alone necessarily worth the inflated prices I've seen; but as a set - especially at fifteen bucks - one of the neatest souvenirs you can find from an event most of us never got to experience.