The Angry Scotsman
Well, this is it. One of the most important metal albums ever. While thrash metal may have its roots in British speed metal, (Judas Priest, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Venom) this is the first bonafide thrash metal album. This album is thus the foundation off which thrash metal was built. With its impact now understood, let's get to the actual music.
Much of this album was written when Dave Mustaine was still in the band. He quickly got the boot thanks to his drug use and partying a little too hard for the rest. However, the influence is distinct. This album has a very Mustaine-esque feel to it, with a section of singing, quick solo, section of singing, quick solo, repeat. Followed of course with the grand solo in the last half. I can also hear Dave's influence in some of the actual solo's themselves, (Kirk himself admitted to using them as a guideline). While he is not as good as Dave in my opinion, Kirk Hammett is a good guitarist. James plays rhythm and does vocals, which are in a "scruffy" type high pitched shouting. Of course Lars does drumming duty. He is a mediocre drummer. Not bad, but not great. I guess that's the LEAST you could ask though, is get the job done. Cliff is a great bassist, but you can not hear his work on this album really.
Hit the Lights. Starts with a nice metal intro. Soon it is into a riff that any Metallica fan will recognize. This goes for a while, backed up by some James yelling vocals, and simple thrash beats. Oh and lots of solos! The last 2 minutes feature some wild soloing.
The Four Horsemen. A bit slower and with an awesome riff. This continues for a bit until you get to a cool sounding part in the middle. Then there is one of the better solos on the album, and some really great complementary rhythm guitar work. Then its back to the main riff and goes with a nice solo, (and one where I can hear Mustaine's influence).
Motorbreath. Begins with a fun little drum intro, I can again hear alot of Mustaine influence. Fun, thrashy song.
Jump in the Fire. A cool sounding riff, and quick 5 second solo burst before the song kicks in, (again Dave Mustaine anyone?). Again, this song is good but nothing really seems to jump out. Overall, it is a bit slower then the rest, except at the end.
(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth. Ah, yes. The bass solo. While you can not hear Cliff on the album, I guess this makes up for it. Here he showcases his style: his crazy playing and use of effects. The first half is ALL him and has some interesting melodies, and cool sounds. Then it picks up and we get a nice drum beat to accompany him. The second half is faster, dirtier and actually not quite as good. Overall, a unique and great song, a true display of his talents and a rare bass feature!
Whiplash. My favorite song from the album. After the bass solo this takes by surprise! After the loud intro is some Lars...and guitar holds. Then the riff comes in, one of the better ones of the album. This goes for a while, with a few changes and James' distinct rough voice. Also, his famous music pause followed by a yell. ........WHIPLASH! The first half is like this, but the last minute is truly gold! The solo's kick in and boy are they wild. I especially enjoy the second one.
Phantom Lord. A pretty nice intro actually, and then the thrash! This song may has the most chord progression and some great solos! There is a cool dual solo in the middle and a crazy tapping one. Then things get crazy! Crazy as in slow, and melodic. Not for too long though, soon it is back to metal and ends with the most stereotypical rock ending there is.
No Remorse. Another Mustaine influenced song, it can be heard in the first 40 some seconds. There are some really great sounding riffs in this song and there is a blistering thrash finale.
Seek and Destroy. The best riff on the album. Oh and you can hear some bass! It is actually a fairly slow paced song and has some good chord progression. At 3:35 more Mustaine influence is heard with several short, quick paced solos being swapped between Kirk and James. My second favorite from the album.
Metal Militia. That pretty much sums it up. Maybe the fastest song on the album it is, well very fast. Through and through it is speed and great for rockin out. You can also hear a bit of bass as well!
This album is an absolute metal classic. Lots of open E string tremolo picking, thrash beats, wild solo's and speed. There is no bad song, but there are also few standouts. They are all good, but more or less the same. The simple, long bits of open string picking can get a bit dull. My favorites are Whiplash, Metal Militia, and Phantom Lord. While this album may not be as fast, technical, or brutal as later thrash metal albums, this is where it all began.
Three and a Half Stars