Top 100

#94 Kill ‘Em All – Metallica (1983)


Track Listing:-

  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

When looking at this list, this album definitely stood out. I am a Metallica fan purely for the music as the band members themselves don’t come across as particularly lovely people for reasons I won’t go into here.

This is Metallica’s debut record, setting out their stall as pioneers of Thrash Metal.  On listening to this album again I can hear the very strong Iron Maiden and Motorhead influence, albeit at a much faster pace.  It is really a taster of what is to come as they really find their sound on ‘Ride the Lightning’, and create the iconic ‘Master of Puppets’ followed by the epic ‘…And Justice For All’

The album thunders along at a terrific fast pace, with buzzy lightly produced guitars, bass (you can actually hear it!) and the drums reassuringly a lot lower in the mix than on later recordings (that bloomin’ Lars!).  Hetfield’s vocals are more of a bark which suits the record sound nicely.

It is amazing when you consider that this album came out in 1983.  The speed and aggression of the record was fairly unprecedented back in the day in heavy metal circles, and you still get thousands and thousands of people shouting ‘Seek and Destroy!’ from their hoarse throats at gigs today so it has clearly stood the test of time.

Highlights on this album include Cliff Burton’s brilliant bass solo on ‘(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth’, which brings to mind a spaceship taking off with about twenty green aliens poking their heads out of the windows nodding along.

The best track without a doubt though is ‘The Four Horsemen’ which was probably the first track they wrote for this album.  It is by far the best song and should be a staple in all of their shows.  I know that I was very disappointed when they didn’t play it in their Sonisphere show, which was part of their ‘By Request’ tour.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, the By Request format invited concert goers to vote for the songs they wanted to hear, which ended up with all the well known staples of their usual sets (‘Enter Sandman’ won by a landslide), but also threw up a few surprises to keep things interesting.  I think this is something that all bands should do.  It would be particularly interesting for a band like Manic Street Preachers, who often don’t play their best songs in their shows, instead seeming drawn towards their more mediocre hits, such as ‘You Stole the Sun from My Heart’, which seem to be enjoyed only by pogoing pillocks with beers in their hands who would really rather be at an Oasis gig.

Anyway, back to the album. If you want to listen to where Thrash Metal started it’s long journey, this is raw Metallica at it’s best. Get this album, wave those horns and bang your heads. Come on, you know you want to.