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Metallica - Kill 'Em All CD (album) cover

KILL 'EM ALL

Metallica

 

Prog Related

3.38 | 313 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Kill 'Em All' - Metallica (7/10)

While 'Master Of Puppets' may be the album that Bay Area thrashers (and now legendary act) Metallica is best known for, it's their debut 'Kill 'Em All' that may have made the greatest resounding impact on music. The year was 1983, and at the time, the genre of metal was very different than the diverse expanse it is today. With bands like Black Sabbath and Mountain defining what heavy metal was considered to be, one can imagine things getting shaken up when a group of rebellious teens decided to come out with this album; heavy metal had never sounded so fast, and well, thrashy before. The end result left alot of metalheads of the period scratching their heads, and a foundation for the new genre that would come to be known as thrash metal.

Outside of it's undeniably remarkable historical context however, 'Kill 'Em All' is a good record, and succeeds on many points, especially considering the relative youth of the band at this point. Unrelentingly fast and riff-oriented, 'Kill 'Em All' is a no-frills approach to metal; everything from the rapidfire pace of the music to the machismo lyrical content brings forth the sense that Metallica were trying to contrast the increasingly overproduced sound of the genre, by defying convention.

While certainly unique for it's time, most of the songs here are quite similar in nature and structure, generally revolving on one central, memorable riff, with the adolescent bark of James Hetfield yowling out lyrics that any young metalhead can relate to. The only two songs that really break out of the typical song convention are 'The Four Horsemen', which draws itself out over seven minutes, and 'Anesthesia', a very lo-fi bass solo recorded by the late Cliff Burton after a single take, which while enjoyable enough, has a very muddy, 'demo' production to it that doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the album's comparatively clear sound. Of the conventional songs here, standouts include the opener 'Hit The Lights', 'Jump In The Fire' and 'Seek & Destroy', which has since become a classic song for the band to play live. While the songs are generally quite good, the fact that each is so similar does tend to wear a bit thin by the end of the record.

While 'Kill 'Em All' may not be on the same musical level as 'Master Of Puppets' or '...And Justice For All', Metallica's debut stands out as being one of the most relevant metal albums to be released, as well as a good thrash metal album on it's own. It's simplicity aside, Metallica really rebelled against the heavy metal scene here, and in doing so, inspired a generation of kids to pick up their guitars and start making heavy music of their own.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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