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“(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth” is to Metallica what “Eruption” is to Van Halen: an instrumental introduction to a colossal talent.
- Both songs are on side A of a debut album. “Eruption”’s placement is more audacious – what major label band now would present a guitar solo as its second song to the world? Still, imagine yourself as a new band. You are unveiling yourself to the world for the first time. You have 10 songs to do it. You’re going to hand one of them over to your bassist? You do, if he’s Cliff Burton.
- Both songs mix classical-influenced three-note arpeggios with bluesy bits, hopscotching among keys with little regard for structure. (But some of Burton’s figures, particularly starting around 1:10, hint at the melodic majesty of Ride the Lightning.)
- Both songs have brief accompaniment from drummers. That’s rare now with solo instrumentals. It always surprises me when Lars Ulrich enters in “Anesthesia”. The track is half-jam, half-song, and all pasted together – which sort of makes sense given the overall songwriting on Kill ‘Em All.
- Both songs are as much sound as song. “Anesthesia”’s peaks are Burton’s lashings with wah pedal; “Eruption” takes big gulps of Eddie Van Halen’s “brown sound” with whammy bar divebombs.
They don’t make musicians like this anymore. With this instrumental, Cliff Burton propelled himself onto the metal dais alongside Geezer Butler and Steve Harris. To this day, those Olympic metallists remain unchallenged. Will metal ever have another great bassist?
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Metallica – “(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth”
Van Halen – “Eruption”
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METALLICA: THE FIRST FOUR ALBUMS
Metallica: The First Four Albums – “Jump in the Fire”
Metallica: The First Four Albums – “Motorbreath”
Metallica: The First Four Albums – “The Four Horsemen”
Metallica: The First Four Albums – “Hit the Lights”
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