Year 3, Day 31: Metallica – Kill ‘Em All

Year 3, Day 31: Metallica – Kill ‘Em All

Track List

  1. Hit the Lights
  2. The Four Horsemen
  3. Motorbreath
  4. Jump in the Fire
  5. (Anesthesia) – Pulling Teeth
  6. Whiplash
  7. Phantom Lord
  8. No Remorse
  9. Seek & Destroy
  10. Metal Militia

About the Album

Kill ‘Em All is the debut studio album from heavy metal band, Metallica. Recorded in May of 1983, the album was released in late July of the same year. The album was released through independent record label, Megaforce. Since the album was released, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has certified this album triple platinum, selling well over three million copies in the United States of America alone.

Thoughts on the Album

If you are searching for the birth of thrash metal, look no further than Metallica‘s 1983 debut release, Kill ‘Em All. What Metallica did on this album was take the new wave of British heavy metal acts such as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and fused it with the velocity of hardcore punk and Motörhead. What drives this is album is James Hetfield’s high technical style of playing rhythm guitar. But if you think about it after listening through, the rest of the band is just as ambidextrous, adapting and playing with a sense of highly controlled righteous fury, even when the tempo kicks it up to breakneck speed.

The album starts off with the track, Hit the Lights. The track begins with the guitars slowing building and fading in before drummer Lars Ulrich starts blasting away on a pattern. Guitarists Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield then begin to figuratively set their guitar’s frets on fire with fiery riffs. The highlight of the track is the careening and crashing and almost screeching guitar solos. The only issue I have with this song is the production quality. In fact there are quite a few songs on this album with terrible production.

The next track, The Four Horsemen, is about just that. Arguably the most complete song on this album (see also, Whiplash and Seek & Destroy), every instrument on this track does it’s own thing; has it’s own part. The chorus is pretty amazing and the highlight has to be the guitar solo towards the end of the song.

Track six, is my personal favorite off this album. Whiplash. It is the probably the fastest paced song on the album that comes at the listener with the velocity of an Aroldis Chapman fastball (est. 103.3 miles per hour). The guitar riffs on this track empower it; the guitar work on this song is what turns it into a complete (and epic) masterpiece. If you want to be a thrash metal guitarist, you need to listen to this song and study it.

Seek & Destroy arguably Metallica’s most successful songs in the history of the band. The production on this song is next to perfect. Every member of the band is in perfect cohesion and harmony on this song. While slightly slower paced when compared to other songs on the album, it was like the band said, “okay, okay, fine. we’ll it slow it down for like 30 seconds”. But that doesn’t mean the face-melting rock music stops. Highlighting the track are awesome riffs, an amazing solo, and of course a huge soaring chorus.


Adrenaline starts to flow, you’re thrashing all around, acting like a maniac… here we go!

That’s right. WHIPLASH! I remember in high school a friend of mine got me listening to Metallica. I was hooked. For a debut album, it’s a hell of one. Face-melting guitar riffs, blistering guitar solos, head banging, etc etc. I understand this album would have turned off some metal purists because interspersed the album is a mixture of metal and hardcore punk. I also understand that some would be turned off from the sheer rawness of the sound; but lets be honest here, you don’t listen to thrash metal for squeaky clean quality. But seriously, this album, along with Ride the LightningMaster of Puppets, and even the controversial Black (self-titled) album have to be owned in any metalhead’s collection. Listen for some of the most awesome guitar work.



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