METALLICA — No Life 'Til Leather (review)

METALLICA — No Life 'Til Leather album cover Demo · 1982 · Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
"No Life 'til Leather" is the first demo recording by US, California based thrash metal act Metallica. The demo was independently released in July 1982. It´s not actually the first demo recording by Metallica, but it´s the first demo by the band which was recorded at a professional recording studio and which was widely distributed. At this point the band consisted of James Hetfield (lead vocals, guitars), Lars Ulrich (drums), Dave Mustaine (guitars), and Ron McGovney (bass). Some of the latter cassette tape copies credit Cliff Burton for recording the bass, but Burton didn´t replace McGovney until after the recording sessions for "No Life 'til Leather".

"No Life 'til Leather" features seven tracks and a total playing time of 29:41 minutes. All tracks would be re-recorded and included on Metallica´s July 1983 debut full-length studio album "Kill 'Em All", although the Dave Mustaine penned "The Mechanix" was re-arranged and re-titled "The Four Horsemen". Some of the tracks appear in early and quite rough versions and especially James Hetfield´s vocals changed significantly between this demo and "Kill 'Em All". On "No Life 'til Leather" he audibly lacks confidence in his voice and he´s also obviously very young and not a natural singer, which makes for a few odd strained vocal moments. It´s a minor issue though as the raw energy and fiercely aggressive playing make up for that.

The demo features a well sounding production job, considering that it´s a demo release, and it´s no wonder that labels began to show interest in signing Metallica when they heard "No Life 'til Leather". Metallica can rightly be proud of what they produced here and upon conclusion "No Life 'til Leather" is a good quality demo from Metallica and a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.
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