WARNING! There are jokes posted throughout this review, if I say a line such as this is the worst album ever created take that with a grain of salt, it's most likely a joke. Do not, DO NOT bitch about anything like that in the review.
I can see it now, I finally get why people give Master of Puppets a 5/5 rating! It's so obvious, they listen to Kill 'Em All then Master of Puppets and it must sound like pure gold. I mean MoP sucked, but KEA is just, well its hard to put into words. Before I come off as to much of an asshole
, I'll try to write a short bio of the band. Up to this point Metallica were a nobody. They weren't very successful; not a whole bunch of people liked them. As VH1 put it they were to metal for the punk clubs, and to punk for the metal clubs. This hybrid of metal and punk created something huge, something revolutionary. Thrash Metal. Some of the biggest names in music today are thrash, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer. Sound familiar? Thought so. Now '83 was an odd year; the days of Flower Power had been long gone, and Glam Metal was all the rage! Metallica hated, HATED Glam. They thought it was horrible. They set out to make something much different from it, they wanted to completely kill Glam. This brings us to the album in question, tentatively named Kill 'Em All. Now I'm no music expert, but I can safely say the Kill 'Em All is the worst piece of music ever created. Just kidding. Or am I?
Metallica's Kill 'Em All is a very rough album. The production is really not very good, and makes the vocals sound like shit
. James' voice sounds really high pitched, like when you suck the helium out of a balloon, only his voice doesn't run out after a few seconds. And, to top it all off, he has this annoying reverb put over it. At points it can have a semi-cool effect like on Jump in the Fire for example, catchy rhythm and the reverb actually makes it work. But besides that the production is mediocre. The mix is ok, the leads are highlighted, and for the most part all of the instruments are heard equally. Especially the bass, Cliff is often heard chugging along (only with fingers).
Now, for the guitars. Reused, recycled, uninspired riffs. All of the songs sound the same, or at least relatively close. Half the time I'm surprised that a new song started, then to my bewilderment it was actually 3 songs :o. Kirk's solos were really nothing to hard, and they mostly consisted of the same 3 things; fast picking, minimal position changes, and slight bends with few exceptions (e.g. The Four Horseman). They lacked pure emotion that metal and music in general is in dire need of. Much of the time his solos sound like just shredding with effects put on, mostly a wah-wah pedal. Now this can fit, but it also tends to make a lot of them indistinguishable from each other. Hetfield is also brutally average. His rhythms leave much to be desired, predictable chord patterns. James fails to distinguish himself as a unique player. His lack of variety really hurts the band negatively, the majority of the rhythms are based around low E chugging with Power chords thrown in on the 3rd or 4th beat. Now this can be good when used sparingly, but when every song consists of it, it starts to loose its appeal. The lack of this also makes certain tracks drag on.
The bass and drums are also not very special either. I know, but yes I insulted the amazing bassist Cliff Burton, who in all honesty was average. Well maybe that's a bit of an understatement but I don't see how he gets al the praise he recieves. Yes, I did listen to Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth) and thought that while it had its moments it wasn't anything more complicated then an average John Myung bassline. Cliff isn't even in the same league as Lars K. Norberg (Spiral Architect), or Steve Harris (Iron Maiden). I will say this however, Burton does have some good moments, a few of his basslines are pretty decent, but I don't think that his style complemented James/Kirk's as much as it would have on say The Black Album. Not to say that they don't fit well in places, but the majority of the time he follows the guitar, and it's really sad because given a better drummer and Cliff playing rhythm he could've been much better. As for Mr. Ulrich, well there isn't much to say about him, simply because he sucks. I'll try not to be to harsh, but I really can't find to much I like about him. If I had to pick one it would be he doesn't over complicate the music :/. He has an incredibly generic style. His fills all sound very samey, and he to often reuses the same beat for most of the song. I can think of many places where not so much a blast beat, as more just a faster beat would work wonders.
I talked a little about the producing before, but I'll go a little more in depth now. The guitar tone is pretty weak, the strings sound incredibly floppy, like if the guitar was downtuned a few steps and Kirk and James were using very thin picks. I know that's really vague, but it's hard to explain. The vocals, like I said have some sort of weird reverb effect on them, causing them to really annoy me at points. It's like when someone says something in a huge room, then it echos everywhere, imagine that only each one is harmonized, and has an extremely annoying tone. The bass' tone and the drums sound fine. The aren't flat or anything. And best of all they don't sound like they've been Pro Tooled to hell (obviously seeing as how it's '83, before Pro Tools was invented).
Lyrics are definitely one of the low points of this album (and considering how bad this album is that's saying something). For example Seek and Destroy's opening lines of "We are scanning the scene in the city tonight/ We are looking for you to start a fight/ There is and evil feeling in our brains/ But it is nothing new you know it drives us insane"
are just utterly pathetic. Or the even worse Whiplash's "Bang you head against the stage/ Like you never did before/ Make it ring, Make it bleed/ Make it really sore/ In a frenzied madness with your leather and your spikes/ Heads are bobbing all around/ It is hot as hell tonight"
are just, simply put terrible. But I'd say Hit The Lights, "Your know our fans are insane/ We are gonna blow this place away with volume higher/ Than anything today the only way/ When we start to rock/ We never want to stop again"
take the cake as worse lyrics by Metallica. Overall if these guys would talk more about different issues, and stop trying to be so Metal and badass,
it would ultimately help. As Tommy Lee Jones once said, "You can't be the metal guy all the time, I mean yeah it's fun to be that guy but if you don't have soft side then you're fake." of something close to that.
Overall my thoughts for this album are, DO NOT BUY THIS ALBUM, EVER DON'T EVEN DOWNLOAD IT! I don't care if the local record shop is giving away free copies of it (though I doubt that'd happen, seeing as how Lars would sue them in an instant) just walk away. Don't look back. Kill 'Em All is filled with really dull riffs, horrible lyrics and drums, and average bass and below average vocals. And yes, that was a joke so don't take it seriously. My honest opinion of this album is that it sucks. It has a few moments, but to me it's just a bad Thrash Album. At least when I look at say Master of Puppets I can say I don't like that but it's a decent Thrash Metal album, but with this I can't even say that. Yes it's Thrash, but for all the praise this gets I really don't see it.
Just for the sake of tradition
- Kinda original
- Slight moments of clarity
- It's Metallica
- Everything else
- It's Metallica