Back in ’94, there were two types of people: those who thought Metallica rocked and all the other lame asses of the world. Luckily, I happened to be in the former group and still am.Now, Metallica just came out with the “Hey, sorry we fucked up,” pander-to-the-original-fans album “Death Megnetic,” and it did exactly what it was supposed to do. Hooray! People love Metallica once again. That’s great, but I am here to tell you about a rare Metallica gem called “Cap’ns of Krunch,” and if you get your hands on it, then you are one of the true elite fans because this thing is legendary. “Cap’ns of Krunch” is a mysterious live album put out by Totonka Records. Totonka is notorious for their bootlegs, and any real shop will probably have a few floating around. You’ll see on the back of the album that the date recorded is 12/5/84 in Koln, Germany. I did some digging and found out that the album art was actually from a shirt put out by the band in 1989. So I am estimating this album was put out around the same time. On the back cover you’ll read “This product was conceived in the heartland of Punjonia under the watchful eye of Carl Punjonian. Got Milk?”
Who the hell is Carl Punjonian?
We’ll never know. Whoever he is, he picked a good show to bootleg. At this time, Metallica had only really been playing out about two years as a band, and don’t forget, Cliff Burton was still in the band at this time, too. If you look at their early set lists, the show didn’t vary much. This disc opens with “Fight Fire with Fire” and Ride the Lightning, both great tunes, especially live. Around the gooey middle, we get a kick ass bass solo, which runs for four minutes. James Hetfield screams out “[Cliff] is going to show you how to play that four-string motherfucker,” and that is exactly what he does. This eases right into “For Whom the Bells Tolls,” and, dude, by this time you’ll be on your computer looking for Metallica’s next live show because you want to see Metallica with your own two eyes. A little bit down the road they break into one of my favorites, “Call of Ktulu.” I always wondered what the hell Ktulu is anyway. Turns out Ktulu is a mythical creature from an H.P. Lovecraft book. And, oh, thank God, they bust out of the instrumental “Seek and Destroy” which needs no introduction. This was the thrash hit of the mid ‘80s, and, dammit, this song rules. The rest of the album is full of Metallica moshing goodness. We get “Whiplash,” “Creeping Death” then Kirk Hammett, who had only been in the band for around a year, gets to show exactly why he was the chosen one. The guy shreds a face-melting solo that will leave your mouth hanging open. “Metal Militia” finishes us off with a happy ending in this Metallica-gasm, and then you hear the crowd go nuts.
So, there you have it. “Cap’ns of Krunch” is a rare find that pops up as frequently as the Lock Ness Monster. It’ll take you back to those stonewashed days when heavy metal wasn’t pretty — it was pretty ugly, drunk and debaucherous, and Metallica led the pack as one of the ugliest and drunkest bands around.