On July 25, 1983, Metallica’s debut album, Kill’ Em All, came to life. One monstrous and relentless record filled with raw energy and power, which remains timeless to this day, is now celebrating its fortieth anniversary. A prominent and dominant record in thrash metal history, it went into uncharted territories—the seed that now, four decades later, has made Metallica one of the biggest metal bands. While many have experienced the struggle within to rank their favorite Metallica albums from favorite to the least favorable effort, or collaboration (cough cough, Lulu, cough cough), it’s no question that there must have been more than one Metallica “superfan” who has battled with not having Kill ‘Em All at number one.
The album kicks off with “Hit The Lights,” a heavy and suspenseful intro. Not knowing what’s to come, it’s one blast of a track and the overall introduction to the one and only Metallica. The ferocity continues, highlighting each member’s excellence, and one that will leave an eternal flame with the late Cliff Burton, proving his memory remains throughout this record and later influences other classic and iconic albums like 1984’s Ride The Lightning and 1986’s Master of Puppets. “The Four Horsemen,” a song these legends will hopefully perform on the North American portion of their 72 Seasons world tour, sets the landscape for remnants of songs like the title tracks of the records mentioned above. Regardless of where anyone spins or takes from it, this album holds some life-long lessons, especially heard in “Motorbreath,” a reminder to “Don’t stop for nothing, it’s full speed or nothing,” which eventually comes back into full circle, if you listen to the song “Lux Aeterna.” Tracks from this classic record were celebrated in the 2011 Spencer Susser-directed film, Hesher, leading at least one massive Metallica fan to headbang in the movie theater to songs like “Jump In The Fire.” The legacy of this album doesn’t end there, with songs like “Whiplash” and “Seek and Destroy,” arguably fan favorites, serving as a reminder of the 2009 Worldmagnetic tour when Metallica would close out each night with the house lights on, blasting “Seek and Destroy.”
One of the prominent bass solos from the late Burton is eternally highlighted in “Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth),” where the group later paid a heartfelt tribute during S&M2 in 2019. And man, let’s return to those classic tracks “No Remorse” and “Phantom Lord.” Did we miss a song? Doubtful. Each track remains iconic—one of the many things that make Metallica stand out: they never forget their roots. Who knows where they would be today if it weren’t for Megaforce Records signing Metallica. In November 2022, Metallica honored the life and legacy of Megaforce co-founder Jon Zazula who passed away in February 2022, just over a year after his wife, Marsha, died in 2021. The group held a historic performance on November 6, 2022, in Hollywood, Florida at the Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, performing a once-in-a-lifetime dream event with mainly tracks from this iconic record as well as songs from their sophomore effort, Ride The Lightning. The spirit of the Zazulas was felt live, and this event stands as a big thank you to them for signing these legends and contributing to forty years of history with Kill ‘Em All.
Now blast this record today \m/