Today in Metal: ‘Kill ‘Em All’ by Metallica turns 31 years old

Posted by on July 25, 2014


Metal Insider contributor Anthony Maisano is listening to a different metal album that was released on that day every day this year. 31 years ago today, Metallica changed the face of metal with the release of Kill ‘Em All.

This is just another one of those albums. What can I say about Metallica’s debut album that hasn’t been said? Originally the album was supposed to be called Metal Up Your Ass, but the record company turned the band down, and Cliff Burton ended up saying “fuckin’ kill ’em all” in response, which they named the album after. The original cover art they wanted to use for Metal Up Your Ass can still be found too! This is the album that gave birth to thrash. The band’s energy is seriously impressive on this album. They recorded it shortly after booting Dave Mustaine out of the band, and some riffs (such as on “The Four Horsemen”) were originally Mustaine parts. The solos are great, Cliff Burton’s bass work is thick and prominent. His bass instrumental “(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth” is awesome, and as I said above, the energy is truly the best part for me. Hetfield’s vocals, while very raw, are crazier than ever.

While I enjoyed the song, I always thought “Hit the Lights” was almost a bit too poppy to be the opener of the album. Although, I might very well be the only one who thinks that. Other than that, my only real complaint with the album is the track “Motorbreath.” That particular track, in my opinion, pales SO much in comparison to the rest of the album, and almost seemed like a bit of a filler track, albeit with some cool lead work.

Favorite Tracks: “The Four Horsemen,” “Jump in the Fire,” “Phantom Lord,” “Whiplash.”

This is an absolutely essential album if you like metal, and its reputation is well deserved. If you haven’t heard this album yet, and you consider yourself a metal fan, what have you been doing? Go pick this up. For everyone else, pick your favorite track from this album and pay tribute to a band that helped pave the way for so much in metal.

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