Metallica
Kill 'Em All


3.5
great

Review

by Alec Martin USER (16 Reviews)
March 9th, 2011 | 31 replies | 4,535 views


Release Date: 1983 | Tracklist

Review Summary: While showing some really high points, Kill 'Em All isn't exactly "Ride the Lightning".

0 of 1 thought this review was well written

#35 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest 80's albums
#1 Underground Album by Hit Parader

NOTE: Most of the review is edited!

Let's get one thing across: unless you've lived in a cave your whole life, you've pretty much heard of Metallica by now. They're arguably one of the biggest metal bands of all time. Their later albums like Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, and ...And Justice For All have become cult classic, outright definitions of the metal genre. And yet, before all their Grammys, before they became one of the best-selling music groups of all time, before the multi-platinum selling albums, there was Kill 'Em All.

Kill 'Em All feels more like a scientific experiment in the genre than an actual album. I mean, every popular band and musician nowadays always had to suffer through the infamous first release. Kill 'Em All feels very professional for the quick, rather rushed nature of the album, being only recorded in two weeks in mid-May to late May. The album definitely made an impact, though. However, I will let this out: Kill 'Em All is both the most important album Metallica has ever done, and also their weakest, in a number of ways.

There's also a lot of history beyond the album. The previous lead guitarist, Dave Mustaine, who would go on to form Megadeth, was kicked out because of being an alcohol abuser and usual tensions between the band. In fact, the bassist, Ron McGovney, left due to Mustaine always getting in the face. (Not intending to be an accusation). Respectively, Kirk Hammet and Cliff Burton (rest in peace, Cliff, we miss you), had to replace them before their first album even came out. So the original members only stayed for a couple of extended plays and demos before being kicked out before the big first LP.

As I recounted in my previous review for the album, I noted that the production was actually quite good for something only made in 2 weeks.

Kill 'Em All, though, is actually repetitive at times. Let's be honest: the band does have some REALLY good potential. The guitar tempo, the bass melody, the definitely thrashing vocalist, and the crashing of the drums, Kill 'Em All does show the band's potential much better than it would it albums like St. Anger and Load. It does feel rushed, though, as I said before. I'm not going to BS and said "well, Master of Puppets was the greatest god damn album ever made, so this sucks!", but it feels on later albums that their work is more expressed. But you can't blame them! In every band's timeline, there's the infamous first album.

That's not to say this album isn't terrible. Kirk Hammet and Cliff Burton are just as good as you'd expect. Burton does show some great talent in songs like the single Anethesia (Pulling Teeth) with great bass chords. The songs do feel different, like the heavy riffing in "Whiplash", and the slightly less slower "Seek and Destroy". There's also usually a good change of notes, tuning, and the album rarely does feel dry.

Take the 7-minute mini-epic "The Four Horsemen", for example. It sings about (obliviously) The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (If I'm correct, it's Death, War, Famine, and Conquest), and "Whiplash" sings about intense headbanging. "Jump Into The Fire" sings about the devil and hell, whilst "No Remorse" sings about war and not feeling any relent or repent. (Not trying to ryhme, folks!) So, the songs do vary, both lyrically and tonally.

There's still a few problems present in the album. For example, the mixing and mastering of some of the songs isn't too hot. "Phantom Lord" sounds a little too loud than what I expected. The band itself can also suffer. This album may be awesome at times, and it left a massive impact, they weren't EXACTLY at their highest at the time. (Although I do think that Master of Puppets is highly overrated)

And some of the tracks on here I'd rather listen to than "Damage, Inc." anyday. The bass instrumental, Anethesia (Pulling Teeth) features some good whammy and wah-wah pedal use, with awesome chord rhythm. "Am I Evil" could go down as one of the greatest covers of all time. It helped earn Diamond Head (the original artist of Am I Evil?) some more popularity. "The Four Horsemen" features some really good moments, including the guitar solo. "Motorbreath" and "Seek and Destroy", in my opinions, are in my Top 10 favorites list. The intro to the latter is one of the best I've ever heard, with some good downpicking and riffs in "Motorbreath".

Overall, Kill 'Em All is a really good album, and it helped set up the future that Metallica would soon get. There's just a couple of problems present with the album that make it a little far away from near-perfection.

Digital Downloads

Seek and Destroy
Motorbreath
The Four Horsemen

Historical Note: Dave Mustaine was kicked out from the band, but the faster, more speedy version of "Four Horsemen" would turn out to be the Megadeth single "The Mechanix". Am I Evil? and Blitzkrieg would soon show up on the cover compliation "Garage, Inc."



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user ratings (4382)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
theacademy
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2011



28466 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

their best album

Digging: Kimbra - The Golden Echo

TF141Soldier
March 9th 2011



125 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

To me, the albums where they just gave it their all were really good, like Ride the Lightning and The Black Album.

They were pretty good here, but, overall, they tried just a little too hard.

WashboardSuds
March 9th 2011



4993 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

album was good but you're right it has its low points.
nice review, Justice is my favorite 'tallica album

Digging: Gas - Nah und Fern

WashboardSuds
March 9th 2011



4993 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Motorbreath is great

scissorlocked
March 9th 2011



3509 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First off, the most obvious problem with the album is that it's not the later albums.

this can never stand as an argument for an album.Basically the whole paragraph isn't telling anything apart from Metallica's later albums being better.This doesn't mean anything for the album itself. An analogy like this is inappropriate for telling anything about the quality of the album.

You also keep doing these comparisons in other parts,comparing Hammet and Cliff with other musicians.

You generally have weak arguments for a 3 rating. You should describe the low points better to justify your rating.

In my opinion this is a great album, a huge achievement for the band, and one of the best trash records ever.


theacademy
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2011



28466 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i like how you start your 4th paragraph off with "First off..."

Erratic
March 9th 2011



1120 Comments


"First off, the most obvious problem with the album is that it's not the later albums."

wat

scissorlocked
March 9th 2011



3509 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the most obvious problem of St Anger is that it's not Master of Puppets

WashboardSuds
March 9th 2011



4993 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lol

scissorlocked
March 9th 2011



3509 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i was wondering if anyone has listened to the early version of Hit the lights

the one with the very strange vocals.It's like a 20 year old junkie Mustaine singing

GhettoIndieshit
March 9th 2011



507 Comments


RTL/AJFA>Everything else

Darkvoid67
March 10th 2011



383 Comments


...And Justice for all is one of THE most overated albums of all time. This is easily their best. Review wasn't that bad, but yeah it needs work

james420
March 10th 2011



200 Comments


worst review ever

WHIPLASH

Tyrael
March 10th 2011



20828 Comments


Sadly, Kirk Hammet doesn't even possess half of Dave Mustaine's skill but this is still an awesome
album.

frogenhauser
March 10th 2011



35 Comments


There really needs to be some mention of the thrash metal landscape of the time, and just what
impact this album (and band) had with their entrance on the scene.

Way too much stuff is rated 4 and 4.5 these days that gets discarded/forgotten the week after next.
Shit that has all the relevance of three day old roadkill.

This is an essential album. Yes it's simplistic, yet it's thrash metal at it's purest and finest.
If you're rating it down on the basis that it's no Black album, then your understanding of the genre
is lacking somewhat.

Aside from that, great review.

Beauville88
March 10th 2011



221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think you have to give more merit to this album in terms of originality at the time of release.

Very few can say this is anywhere near their best effort (Ride, Puppets and Justice shadow this considerably), but for 1983, this was a pretty big deal and very influential.

Just for future reference, if you're going to cover a "classic" album, I would take the historical context into consideration. If this was released in 2011, sure, I could see a "3" rating. But it was released over 25 years ago. That's a pretty huge accomplishment.

Ovrot
March 10th 2011



10490 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Motorbreath is the best metallica song ever.

TF141Soldier
March 10th 2011



125 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

To Frogenhauser:

I like any kind of music. I'm also planning to edit this review later.

Many thanks to everyone for the criticism.

To Beauville88:

I do reviews on anything that's on my mind.

To anyone who's comment includes my infamous line "First off, it's not the later albums", my point is that the work in the album feels a little rushed and other albums like Ride the Lightning and their self-titled Album (Metallica) feels a little better.

But I do think Master of Puppets is heavily overrated.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
March 10th 2011



20450 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I prefer this to ...Justice

LepreCon
March 10th 2011



3954 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't, but it's close

Digging: Overkill - White Devil Armory



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