Kill 'Em All is one of the most famous and most critically acclaimed heavy metal albums of all-time. It brought a new level and intensity and speed to the genre, as it combined aspects of both punk in the vein of Minor Threat and the Misfits and traditional heavy metal in the vein of Venom and Iron Maiden. Despite being the least maligned of the maligned Metallica albums (i.e., all except Ride The Lightning and Master of Puppets) it is still a collector of serious hate, by both anti-Metallicists and Metallica "fans" alike. It is shot down for Hetfield's almost child-like vocals (he really does sound like a high-schooler on this one) and another complaint is the repetition (every song goes DUNDUNDUNCHUGGACHUGGA) and of course, the shoddy production (Garage Days sounds better than this).
However, the hate doesn't come from critics. It comes from the common man, the "average listeners". But why? This album is Metallica at their most relatable, before they were underground metal stars and before they were seemingly inhuman rock stars in general, this is standard thrash affare before there even was such a thing as standard thrash affare. In fact, this album started what would be known as standard thrash affare, and looking back, I think that the first did it the best. Kill 'Em All has its flaws, but the album is exciting enough and ambitious enough to keep one enterlained over its length. The songs are simply pure fun; before they started the trend of writing metal songs that criticized the government, and before they stole the trend of writing songs about books they read, Metallica were just a bunch of ugly guys who liked to party. Nobody in the band could even grow facial hair yet, except the almight Cliff, as you can see by his always weird-looking semi-moustache. Nothing here is pretentious, nothing here has that "made-by-rockstars" touch, and it leaves the question: Was Metallica really made worse by fame? The answer is up to the listener, but to this listener, Kill 'Em All is an album for the working man, not an album for the snootish music critic.
The riffs are hard. The bass is thumping. Hetfield shrieks like a banshee. And Lars sets the standard very low, leaving much room for improvement for all thrash drummers to come after him! How nice of the man to do so. So to all you headbangers and choderats out there, quit being a snob and put in Kill 'Em All. It's not the best Metallica album, but it's straight-up party metal madness. Sure, it's amateur, but...it rules.