Kill 'em All
METALLICA

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METALLICA - Kill 'em All cover
3.79 | 131 ratings | 14 reviews
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Album · 1983

Filed under Thrash Metal

Tracklist

1. Hit the Lights (4:17)
2. The Four Horsemen (7:13)
3. Motorbreath (3:08)
4. Jump in the Fire (4:41)
5. (Anesthesia)-Pulling Teeth (4:14)
6. Whiplash (4:09)
7. Phantom Lord (5:01)
8. No Remorse (6:26)
9. Seek & Destroy (6:55)
10. Metal Militia (5:11)

Total Time: 51:19

Line-up/Musicians

- James Hetfield / Rhythm Guitar & Vocals
- Kirk Hammett / Lead Guitar
- Cliff Burton / Bass
- Lars Ulrich / Drums

About this release

Full-length, Megaforce Records, July 13th, 1983

Bonus tracks on the first Elektra pressing are:
"Am I Evil" (07:52) and "Blitzkrieg" (03:36),
from the 1984 "Creeping Death" single.

Thanks to metalbaswee, UMUR, Pekka for the updates

METALLICA MP3, Free Download/Stream

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METALLICA KILL 'EM ALL reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Warthur
The most interesting thing about Kill 'Em All is the one contributing musician who doesn't appear on it: Dave Mustaine, who had left Metallica by this point to form Megadeth, but whose compositions stand out as particular highlights of the album. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in The Four Horsemen, most of which was composed by Mustaine but had a post-Mustaine interlude inserted into the middle; the difference in songwriting ability between Mustaine's sections and the rest of the band's is notable. Metallica would catch up on their subsequent albums and this one is delivered in an engagingly aggressive and thrashy fashion which makes up for its shortcomings, but this isn't the most auspicious debut the band could have had.
Sheavy
(original review from ProgArchives.com)

The debut that set the world on fire, and ushered in a whole new style of metal. It is a very rough around the edges, but in the same that blues has a very raw feel which helps the album instead of hinder it. This album is mostly just good thrash-y songs with fast riffs and searing guitar solos, pounding drums, and big bass lines. There are a handful of almost prog like elments like the beginning of Phantom Lord with its very nice opening synth. Other good tracks are Cliff Burtons amazing bass solo that rivals a lot of lead guitarists out there, and it certaintly is a one of a kind thing that only Cliff, could really pull, as far as i am concerned. The rest of the tracks are jst good thrash metal.

A hugely influencial album for almost every Prog metal band. Good, but not something I can like as much as some later albums.
UMUR
"Kill ´em All" is the debut full-length studio album by US thrash metal act Metallica. The album was released in July 1983 by Megaforce Records. After releasing a couple of succesful demos a very young Metallica were picked up by Megaforce Records in 1983. The band originally consisted of James Hetfield (Vocals, guitar), Lars Ulrich (drums), Ron McGovney (bass) and Dave Mustaine (lead guitar and later of Megadeth fame). However There were too many tensions between the two latter and Ron McGovney was replaced by new bassist Cliff Burton. Metallica´s lineup troubles were not over though as James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich had to fire Dave Mustaine. Partially due to his drug and alcohol abuse, but also because of his abuse behaviour. The last drop was alledgedly when he kicked James Hetfield´s dog. Dave Mustaine was replaced by Kirk Hammett who had been a member of Exodus which was another legendary Bay Area thrash metal band. The new lineup recorded "Kill ´em All" in two weeks on a very small budget with producers Paul Curcio and Johny Zazula at Music America Studios, Rochester, New York. Johny Zazula was actually a very influential figure in the early eighties American metal scene also holding producer credits with bands such as Testament and Overkill as well as being the owner of Megaforce Records. The record label was founded after he heard Metallica´s "No Life 'Til Leather (1982)" demo tape. A true visionary who was willing and able to take a chance.

The music on the album is a mix of NWoBHM influenced heavy metal and punk but played with a lot more aggression (well... some punk are pretty aggressive. But still) and speed than usual for those genres and "Kill ´em All" is rightly so called one of the first thrash metal albums in history. The influence from bands like Diamond Head, Motörhead, Iron Maiden and Venom is very obvious in the music. The production is very unpolished and raw which helps give the music and even meaner sound than it already has. it´s definitely one of the most raw, fast and aggressive albums released in those days. Songs like "Hit the Lights", "Moterbreath" and "Whiplash" are absolutely crushing with their "pedal down" simple and powerful delivery. But there are more to the album than songs like that and I count "The Four Horsemen", "Phantom Lord" and "Seek & Destroy" as more sophisticated songs even though they are still pretty direct. "(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth" has to be mentioned too. It´s a distorted bass solo by Cliff Burton which he often played live in the early years. Most songs are credited to James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich but it´s noteworthy that Dave Mustaine is also credited on "Jump in the Fire", "Phantom Lord", "Metal Militia" and "The Four Horsemen". The latter is a song which in it´s original and shorter form was named "The Mechanix". Dave Mustaine would take this version of the song with him to his new band Megadeth and it is featured on the "Killing Is My Business...and Business Is Good! (1985)" debut album by that band.

The musicianship is solid (but not outstanding). Raw and unpolished. You can feel the hunger in the way these guys play their music. It´s like nothing else matters (pun intended).

"Kill ´em All" is a seminal thrash metal album and in retrospect it´s almost hilarious that the original vinyl pressing was limited to 1500 copies (which of course sold out in no time). Today the album has sold around 3 million copies in the US alone. For all it´s groundbreaking qualities it´s not an album I put on very often anymore and when I do it almost always comes off before it´s finished and therefore my personal rating will be 3.5 stars. If I rated albums from the perspective of historical importance "Kill ´em All" would probably receive a 4 rating. So add that half stars to my rating if you think that´s more fair.
Stephen
If Mustaine didn't fight his way with Hetfield, there's a big chance that "Kill Em All" will featured him and Megadeth won't even exist, but fate has sealed that both needs to be rival for the next twenty years until they share the stage together again as The Big Four. Metallica's debut is an important piece of Bay Area thrash movement where musically, this is the typical American early speed metal which was formed under the influence of NWoBHM and punk.

"Hit The Lights", "Motorbreath", and "Metal Militia" are similar tracks in terms of furious speed and lightning-paced solos, you have to check your pulse to make sure you're alive if these tracks can't move you at all. "The Four Horsemen", the longest track of the album, blasted with a stampeding rhythm, like riding on the devil's beast, and top off with slaughtering solos at the end, Hammett really shines here.

"Jump In The Fire" and "Seek And Destroy" slow down the tempo and started focusing on the riffs play, those memorable licks will make you hum for days. The charming commanding voice of Hetfield led the songs as they march forward with the sweeping rhythm from Burton's bass and Ulrich's drums. "Phantom Lord" is clearly inspired by Saxon and Motorhead while "No Remorse" is like a prototype to Metallica's complex arrangement approach that's later found in "And Justice For All".

This album is mostly overlooked by their other releases especially "Puppets" or "Justice" but honestly, this album contained many high quality tracks, though judging from the maturity and complexity level, "Kill Em All" is slightly below standard, but tracks like "The Four Horsemen", "Seek And Destroy", and "Metal Militia" alone are worth the whole bucks. A brilliant start to Metallica's world conquest !
bonnek
If the 70's were the golden era for prog, then the 80's were the dark battleground for post-punk and metal. It makes both decades equally interesting to me. If I remember well, you had the choice to be totally un-cool or you could join either the Goth or the Metalhead legions in the 80's. A dissection that seems awkwardly irrelevant these days.

Things evolved rapidly in the 80's. Iron Maiden, leading force of British new wave of heavy metal, had started their career by injecting 70's hard-rock with a shot of punk-adrenaline. Three years later in their career, that punk spirit had faded and they had already started to embrace anthemic pop metal idioms by then. But already a new generation was eager to take over and prove that not only Motörhead had the right to stay true to the rebellious spirit of metal. In the California Bay area a new scene evolved, thrash metal: louder, more aggressive, faster, more vicious, darker and more uncompromising then music ever was before.

Iron Maiden remained an icon for Metallica but on this debut, it’s mainly Motörhead's speed and roughness, Black Sabbath's evil tritone and Judas Priest's twin guitar attack that are stretched to their ultimate possibilities. The great improvement that the thrashers did on the NWOBHM was to make the punk aggression more prominent and to eschew entirely from commercialism and metal sing-alongs. At least, in the beginning they did.

Metallica's debut is a rollercoaster of raw and unpolished energy, it's an album that I love a lot but within Metallica's entire discography, 3.5 stars is a fitting rating. I rarely play this album in its entity but it’s the kind of album I put on if I need a 10 minute shot of energy.
poslednijat_colobar
Passable teenage debut album

At last it's time for me to review Metallica. In front of me is their debut album - Kill 'Em All. This album is legendary for the fans of Metallica, but for me it's not! I think that the band shows some potential with Kill 'Em All, but this album doesn't contains nothing significant, except Seek & Destroy , which is one of their all time best songs. Everything else doesn't contain enough ideas or the ideas are developed too amateurish. The songwriting is poor. The musicianship is good and reveals the big potential of the band. The vocals by James Hetfield are ridiculous - like a screaming little boy. His voice is still not broken. Production is mediocre and unpolished. Not more than 2,25 stars rounded down to 2 stars!
Metalbaswee
Kill 'Em All is the legendary first album by thrash metal giant Metallica. Production of this record is not al that good, but the songwriting makes up for that. This album has a lot of the metallica classics on it, with the whole album only having a few weak moments, for example Jump In The Fire and Pulling Theeth, are some of the weaker songs. On the other side we have great song like Hit the Lights and Metal Militia which are true classics, with some speedy riffing, incredible solos, and some great lyrics.

1. Hit the Lights (5) 2. The Four Horsemen (4.5) 3. Motorbreath (4) 4. Jump in the Fire (3.5) 5. (Anesthesia)-Pulling Teeth (3.5) 6. Whiplash (4.5) 7. Phantom Lord (4.5) 8. No Remorse (5) 9. Seek & Destroy (5) 10. Metal Militia (5)

4.5 Stars overall, a must have for every thrash fan.
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
AtomicCrimsonRush
Welcome to Metallica. A debut to savour.

Metallica unleashed their brand of speed thrash metal to the world with one of the best metal debuts in history. Every track features brutal bass heavy riffing and crunches from beginning to end. This is a relentless 'metal militia'. The young band showed 'no remorse', no repent. They didn't care what it meant. Another day, another death, another sorrow, another death. The lyrics spelled it out in case we didn't get it. Raw, in your face stone cold thrash. Metallica focused on death, victories and losses, fiery hell, the apocalypse with the four horsemen, revelation, valiant struggles, motorbike speed runs, banging heads, lords of death, bloody destroyers and er.... death. These themes would become a blueprint for every budding metal band who were inspired by Metallica's no nonsense approach to the underground metal scene. It was not for the squeamish and still packs a whallop. Even the vocal style would drive and instigate the style of many bands such as Megadeth, Pantera and Testament, who cite Metallica as key influences. Highlights include 'The Four Horsemen', 'Whiplash', and 'Seek & Destroy'. All quite simple in structure, very straight forward - bang your head and get out of there. The simplistic style was easy to play for the budding guitarist and of course the tracks on this debut have been covered by zillions of cover bands worldwide. Heck, even I know most of the riffs and i am know lead guitar extraodinaire. The point was it ws not the complexity of the riffs but how they were pieced together. Take the best track on the album 'No Remorse', for example. Clocking in at over 6 minutes, it features complex arrangements of simple but brutal riffs to die for. It is perhaps my favourite track in the early phase of the band's meteoric rise to power.

In conclusion, a great start for the legends of power metal; the band were still wet behind the ears of course, and the best was yet to come, but this debut is marginally flawed brilliance. Deserving of at least a 4 star rating for its sheer importance in the history of metal.
Negoba
Metallica Version I

Kill 'Em All is the closest thing we have to a recording of Metallica with Dave Mustaine. Though Hammett is already on board for solos, Mustaine's stamp is all over this record. He wrote many of the songs, the style and delivery resemble Megadeth as much as the definitive Metallica of Puppets and Justice, and Hammett's style is clearly derivative of Mustaine's at this point anyway.

Mustaine aside, the real importance of Kill Em' All is that quite a few of these songs are simply classics of the genre. "Seek and Destroy," "The Four Horseman," and to a lesser extent "Jump in the Fire" are simply classics of metal. And the other songs are still strong. Cliff Burton's showpiece "Anesthesia" is one of the classiest solos on a metal album. "Hit the Lights" has a great syncopated riff.

The album does get a little same-y by the end. But it was really fresh when it came out and still no one can deny the raw energy these kids had. For many of us, these songs hold such an attachment to our teen years. For some, playing these songs in dirty garages and basements while we destroyed our eardrums was just part of growing up.

The next 3 (1/2) albums are better, but this is #4 in the discography of the most important metal band ever.

Members reviews

kluseba
Many people say that thrash metal was born with this album. Many people claim that this album has an important role for the history of metal music. Many people argue that this album was the first step of a famous legend. All of those things are true but when it comes to review Metallica's debut album, I would like to leave the nostalgic feelings away and concentrate on the music. That's where I must admit that this album is rather one dimensional and has a few fillers in here. Don't get me wrong, I like this record that is full of energy and emotions and I don't question its status at all. Many people may now contradict me by saying that thrash metal must sound exactly like this. But the debut albums of "Overkill" or "Voivod" prove that bands can already innovate within their first albums and sound rather diversified. The only time Metallica try out something else is during the memorable bass solo "(Anasthesia) Pulling Teeth" which may be one of the greatest bass guitar solos ever recorded in the metal genre. It's simply experimental, diversified and technically of a pretty high standard and one of my favourite tracks in here. This courage, this open minded creativity, this last little kick of genius is what is a little bit missing in here.

The other nine songs are mostly straight forward thrash metal tracks with sharp riffs, aggressive but melodic vocal lines, fast guitar solos, a pumping bass guitar and a tight drumming. The sound is raw and aggressive and fits perfectly to the songs and the album title itself. The band employs the technical qualities of the heavy metal genre and mixes them with the fast paced energy of the punk wave and unites two genres that were very distinguished at the time and didn't seem to match together. The birth of thrash metal was a first step of the approach of the two genres and their fans. The great opener "Hit The Lights" hits right my nerve and is a perfect definition of the Bay Area thrash metal genre. A little bit more elaborated tracks like the great grower "No remorse" or the catchy band hymn "Seek And Destroy" work even better and are still a great definition of its genre almost thirty years after the initial release. The killer track "Whiplash" is also one of my favourite tracks on the record and varies a little bit more than some too generic songs its riffs, drum loops and melody lines. The song gives you no time to breathe and delivers everything the band stood for back in time. The guitar solo is simply outstanding and proves us that Kirk Hammett was the ideal choice for Metallica and delivers already here a better job than the overrated and arrogant egoist and former guitar player of Metallica Dave Mustaine would ever do. Sorry for the attitude and I apologize to all the "Megadeth" maniacs, but that's something where I just felt the need to write it down. Anyway, all those songs can without a doubt be called some classics.

But next to many catchy and great songs, there are also a few fillers on here that can't hold the high level. "Motorbreath" is a short and sweet track but has nothing outstanding to survive. The single "Jump Into The Fire" was not the best choice to spread the name about this young band and the new genre and is a rather overrated track. It's difficult to criticize this bunch of motivated and energized teenagers for some repetition but that might be the only weak point of this album and where there is a thin line between a very good album and an outstanding or even perfect record. That's in the end why my rating is really just slightly below the highest degrees of amazing and absolutely outstanding metal music.

Nevertheless, any metal fan should have this great thrash metal record in its collection even if Metallica created even better albums in the next few years in my opinion. This album is a raw definition of the birth of thrash metal with some great and unforgettable classics. But only a few years after, the concurrency and Metallica itself showed us that the summit of thrash metal has not yet been reached yet. They showed us that there was far more to discover than just this respectable beginning of an era. By the way, this album is a grower and gets really addicting and catchy with its simplistic but effective attitude. Anyway, anybody that would like to metal up its ass in an old school way has the perfect record for this right here. Any progressive fan has the occasion here to metal up his ass but it's surely not a complex and thought out masterpiece.
criticdrummer94
The debut of probably the most famous Metal band ever. They really invented Thrash Metal with this one and blew me away when I first heard the opening of Hit the Lights. This album is like a ghetto roller coaster that not only goes very fast but kicks your ass at the same time so you never forget it. The almost progish track The Four Horsemen is a highlight as well as the amazing bass solo of Cliff Burton(best metal bassist ever). Overall, this is one of the best debuts by anyone and is a great way to start the Metallica but the best was obviously to come. 4 and a half stars. Highlights: Hit the Lights, The Four Horsemen, Motorbreath, (Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth, Whiplash, Phantom Lord, Seek and Destroy and Metal Militia
friso
Metallica - Kill 'Em All (1983)

The new wave of British Heavy Metal had almost reached it's highlight in '83, whilst America's heavy metal was about to get a great boost. Metallica became known as the band that introduced the thrash metal genre to public. When I was sixteen I used to like their up-tempo relentless metal very much and I still think it is quality music within it's genre.

The sound of metal changed. First the heaviness of the guitars was used to make the melodic/chord structures more bombastic, but within the borders of thrash the often non- melodic heavy riffs became the main ingredient of the music. The vocals on this record are very tough!

Metallica proved to be the king of these very heavy riffs with extreme guitar amplification. The songwriting was strong with still some punk and rock'n roll influences from bands like Moterhead and Diamond Head. Metallica developed the genre by changing the rules of songwriting from time to time. The Four Horseman had an extended form with song-within-a- song structures, Jump into the Fire has a Deep Purple influenced sound, Pulling Teeth is the best metal-bass solo ever recorded with it's melodic but distorted bass and great drums in the ending section. Opening and ending tracks Hit the Lights and Metal Militia are both up-tempo trash songs with an catchy sound (who would have though such a thing?).

Conclusion. A nice debut of Metallica and still one of their better albums. A very influential and good metal record with little progressive moments. Only the sound of the album can be put forward as a very innovative development. Three and a halve stars. Must-have for metal-fans.
Valarius
Full of energy and pulse-pounding riffs, this is Metallica's debut album with which they changed the Heavy Metal world back in 1983. Although the songs are a lot more immature than Metallica's later material, both lyrical and musical, the songs are still great if you're after a straight forward headbanging album from start to finish, with many of these songs still being a major spotlight of any Metallica live set.

Although some songs are weaker than others, the album as a whole runs smoothly without giving the listener a chance to catch their breath. And Metallica classics such as ‘Seek and Destroy’, ‘The Four Horsemen’, ‘Hit the Lights’ and ‘Whiplash’ makes this essential for all Metal fans.

It won’t be your favourite Metallica album, but your collection won’t be complete without it.

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