‘Kill ‘Em All’(1983) – Metallica

Kill ‘Em All
Kill ‘Em All

Kill ‘Em All (1983) – Metallica.
James Hetfield – Rhythm Guitar and vocals
Kirk Hammett – Lead Guitar
Cliff Burton – Bass
Lars Ulrich – Drums

So, this album will certainly not be for everyone. I was not even for me up until a few months ago when I was really high in Guatemala and hanging out at a rock bar. I was with a Guatemalan, an American and the American’s Guatemalan wife, who co-owned the bar with him, and punched him in the face when he would not turn down the music at night because we were too busy being high, rocking the fuck out, and having fun. I had hardly seen a woman punch a man before, much less a wife punching her husband in the face. I decided right then and there that I was very happy that I was not married to her. It is amazing how memories create music, and then music creates memories in others. That evening was a lesson in life; never marry a woman who you think might potentially punch you in the face one day when you are having too much fun, and listen to Metallica’s ‘Kill ‘Em All’ in its entirety.

Anyhow, up until that night, I had not dabbled so much in Metallic’s ‘Kill ‘Em All’ album, so I am quite thankful for that evening. For me it is great.
This is Metallica’s debut album. What we have today is the remaining rolling hills of the mountain of Metallica sound that Metallica once was. Sure they are bigger stars today, but they have traded in what they were for a mainstream sound that has allowed them to have bigger houses with bigger swimming pools. This album is from before Metallic’s ‘Black’ album, the 1991 cross-over to mainstream, the fence album of what Metallica was and what they are now. ‘Kill ‘Em All’ is the sound that made Metallica Metallica…metal Metallica, not hard rock Metallica.  This is from before they cut their hair off, and this if from long before the days when they decided to sue their fans for downloading their music for free on the internet.
‘Kill ’Em All’ might scare you, and you might think it is just racket, but I think it is genius. This is the birth of thrash-metal and where it all began. ‘Kill ‘Em All’ is the ‘Hard Rock Café’ theme restaurant of thrash-metal.
You want guitars?  This album has them, and plenty of them.
You want a drummer that is quick to change it up? Lars Ulrich will give you that. He was even cool back then.
You want the band to break and have Cliff Burton blast a bass riff right through you from somewhere very high on his bass’ neck. It has that too. It is one of the only Metallica albums to provide you with that regularly.
This album is fast.


Hit the Lights – That guitar intro is fucking fast. Hang on to your hat. This is real Metallica. The tempo of the chorus changes and the two guitars and a bass come at you as one to hammer it at you.
The Four Horsemen – This is hands down my favorite Metallica song ever. This song needs to be played as you walk down the sidewalk at night, turned up nearly as loud as your ears can take it. About two minutes into the song you will need to turn it up some more. Classic, awesome chugging metal guitar. The instrumentals in the song come at you full blast. They seem to hit harder because they hardly change chords through them and just keep on marching at you like an army. This song is evidence of Cliff Burton’s bass prowess. I am sure there is no way that Metallica could play this song today. James Hetfield could never make his voice do this again. I cannot imagine that these guys even jam this song when they practice.  It just seems like too much for Metallica today.
Motorbreath – Super fast guitar riffs. This album was recorded on a small budget, which helps to give it a very raw sound at times, and there are traces of that which can be heard near the beginning of the song.
Jump in the Fire –  I think Kirk Hammett plays a very catchy riff through this song. Great song, though quite devilish.
(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth – R.I.P. Cliff Burton. Known as his signature song, Cliff Burton was killed in Sweden when Metallic’s tour bus hit a patch of ice, and flipped off the road. Ironically, bass player Cliff Burton had won the privilege to have guitar player Kirk Hammet’s bed on the bus that night in a card game and was thrown out of the window of the bus and pinned underneath of it when it flipped.
Whiplash – It is just fun to scream it. The chorus is pretty much that. The song builds up for the chorus, “Whiplash!”, and then snaps back to the song again.  Another song I am sure Hetfield could not sing anymore. I think of the guy on the video at work who says, “Chicago. Metallica loves Chicago…” and I think, there is no way you could tackle ‘Whiplash’ today buddy…
Phantom Lord – More powerhouse guitar/guitar/bass driving it home together as one. The guitar solo in this song must taken the entire guitar neck to play.  Great song break.
No Remorse – I think James Hetfield was a great metal singer at this time. Half way through this track, there is a break and the song almost does a backflip, totally unexpected, and then comes back at you as it was before.  Lyrically, these guys sure were pissed off on this track.  They were only 21 at the time.  How pissed off could they be at 21…  I am positive I was never as pissed off as these guys were when I was 21.  I was probably only pissed off because I was not getting laid as much as I was sure I should have been, but never so pissed off that I ever sat down and penned an angry song. And they were on the verge of becoming rockstars, so I am sure this was never their problem. What else does one think about when they are 21. Heck, what else does anyone think about when they are 41. They sure were mad about something though…  I am just not sure what war they are angry about in 1983.
Seek & Destroy – Part of any housewife’s Metallica’s Greatest Hits collection. Great song. Great song to play. Great song to play in front of friends to show them how cool you are. Impressively easy song great to play on a guitar that will make everyone else think you are a guitar fucking master.
Metal Militia – Well, the title of this closing track pretty much sums up what you have just been handed. This is Metal, hard, fast, and blast of power that will make your ears wonder if what just happened to them was good for them or not. It probably was not because you should have listened to it so loud your ears will still ring in the morning. If you can get into it, this album is great.
Rock on,


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2 Responses

  1. Gazzy Westley says:

    I just listened to this album again today for the 1,111,111,111,111th time. So good.

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