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Old 08-15-2010, 11:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Kill Em All (the Classic debut Metallica Thrash Album)

Kill Em All by Metallica.

Kill Em All is the first album by Thrash Metal band Metallica and as such one of the first Thrash Metal Albums in history. However it is noted by the author of this review that bands such as Venom were making Thrash Music before Metallica, but what I mean by that statement that I made was that Kill Em All the first real step in the commercial success of Thrash Metal as a genre.

First off it is important to understand the history of this particular album. When Metallica was originally founded it was not James Hetfeild, Kirk Hammit, Lars Ulrich, and Cliff Burton. Rather it was James Hetfield, Dave Mustaine, Lars Ulrich and Ron McGovney. However Metallica dropped Ron McGovney in favor Cliff Burton who was among one of the greatest Bass Guitar player of all time.

The important part other than the addition of Cliff Burton is Dave Mustaineís roll with Metallica. Dave Mustaine wrote or co wrote five songs on Kill em All, most of which were altered by Metallica after Mustaine was fired (mustaine claims it was to minimize his roll in the band). Anyway the resulting events culminated in a feud the help create and then lead Megadeth to multi million Album selling success in their own right. Iíd go into more but this is a review not a history lesson.

The main disadvantage for me here is that I am looking at this from hindsight and not foresight (kill em all came out officially in 1983 before I was even born) but Iím going to try to as accurate as I can.

Each of these songs are at a blistering pace that helped establish Thrash metal. The Album itself is remarkable well done considering itís budget at the time. With each song you will get fast riffs overlaid with blistering drum action.

Hit the Lights (Dave Mustaine receives song writing credit) is a lightning fast opening to a lightning fast album that takes you and drags you across the ground with itís pulsating guitar work and it only gets better from there.

The Four Horseman which was originally wrote by Dave Mustaine but was rewrote by James Hetfeild after Mustaine was fired. At the time the Four Horseman was an incredibly fast song but itís power has lessoned somewhat do to the Megadeths releasing of the song (mechanix) which did the entire song far faster than Metallica did, which was part of Daveís attempt to try to beat Metallica. The Metallica version is about the apocalypse (the Mechanix is about Dave Mustaines sexual fantasies of the women that would enter the garage he once worked at to get their car worked on.) The best part of the Four Horse Man is the guitar solo near the end. However I prefer the live version on Some Kind of Monster to this version and I prefer the Mechanix (Megadeth) overall.

Motorbreath could almost be an anthem for Metallica in those early days. It shows the overall speed capability of Metallica overlapped extremely well with the guitar playing of Kirk Hammit. (I think Kirk Hammit is extremely talented, I just donít like him all that much. Far as metal goes, when all the other band members say they are metal hardcore, I believe them. I donít believe Kirk Hammit.) Motorbreath is one of the shortest metallica penned songs ever made. A whooping 3:08, but it is a very good 3:08. The live version for this is also better.

Jump in the Fire was originally penned by Dave Mustaine it is a slower paced song then the others which shows a lot more of James Hetfeildís guitar playing ability. It is a very good song but by chance one of my least favorites on the album. The sound of the song itself (not including solos) is not as hard as it could be. The Solos are top notch however (this is one of the points of contention by Dave Mustaine. Dave Mustaine claims that Kirk Hammit copied Dave Mustaines solos almost down to the exact beat)

(Anesthesia) Pulling teeth is the famous bass solo which up to that point was believe to be impossible. The fact is simple, it is one the most amazing things in the history of music, rock, and heavy metal. It shows that Cliff Burton truly was one the greatest bass players of all time. It is not a true song per say but rather an example of what could be done with a Bass Guitar. I would call it extreme Bass Guitar picking 101. Anyone who insults Cliff Burton should be referred to this track, and believe or not those people are out there.

Whiplash is one the most popular songs by Metallica from the Kill Em All Album, it should be noted for music collectors out there that there is a motorhead cover that is extremely good and somewhat hard to find. Course there is always Amazon. You want it there it is.

Whiplash is a fine example of a true guitar riff. Which is playing the same note or the same set of notes over an over in such away they empower the track itself and turn it into and epic masterpiece of guitar laden beauty. This is another one of their faster songs with a blistering high quality solo that helped establish what Thrash Metal really is.

Phantom Lord (Dave Mustaine gets writing credit). I know someone will hurt me for this but even though this is a great song there are sections of this that play like it could have been done by The Offspring. Course that does not take away from the song quality which is exemplary in those early days of Metallica. As usual there is an extremely good guitar solo in this but what really makes this song stand out and is also the point where this song no longer sounds like it could have done by the Offspring is the slow tempo bridge.

The Slow Tempo bridge is a 30 second section of Phantom lord that stands out by itself on the album. It is here where fan would here for the first time the sound the helped create songs such as, ďNothing Else MattersĒ ďWelcome Home (Sanitarium)Ē as well as parts of the song ďOneĒ and the second section of Master of Puppets among many other such songs in Metallicaís catalog. Which makes this song extremely important in the building of what became the best selling heavy metal band. After that is over we return to the typical blistering speed of the guitar riffing and the power solos that is Phantom lord. This is also where some of Lars Ulrichs best drumming efforts on the album are at.

No Remorse starts out with a slow pace guitar riff combined with an epic Solo. However I do have a complaint on this one. Several sections of this I have a hard time hearing the vocalizations. However itís much more clear and hearable on the actual chorus line so itís not to bad. Just a minor weakness in a great album, hey nothing is perfect. The last portion of the song picks up the pace with some excellent and clear vocals that help improve the song as a whole. Overall I think it is the most forgettable song on the album even though it still very good.

Seek and Destroy, which is a very popular live song is the second to last song on the album. This song features exemplary slower tempo (but not slow tempo) double guitar work as they played extremely well together. At this point with the exception of the 30 seconds of Phantom lord this is the slowest section of the entire album. It continues that way with basic but very good guitar riffs for several minutes before the song takes off a little past the three minute mark.

This second part I think is the real gem of the this song and one the best parts of the album as a whole as it ratchets up with some of the best solo work on the album. Then the third part rolls around and the pace slows back down and continues on itís almost marching style of a pace of extraordinary heavy metal. However this third part was extremely well enhanced by the second part so that even though it is the same speed and sound as the first part, because of the second part, the third sounds better. Finally it trails off with some riffing and drumming before it finishes with a few seconds worth of near guitar solo work.

Finally, Metal Militia, my favorite song on the album. This song gives writing credit to Dave Mustaine. It picks up with some of the fastest guitar playing on the whole album, then it slows down for a solo riff with drum backdrop before resuming itís blistering speed with some of the most extraordinary vocals by James Hetfeild this album. I find myself surprised that this is not a bigger hit than the others on the album but people like what they like. At about 2:40 with a solo lead the song gets even faster for a bit and then itís a complex group of guitar riffs.

Finally around 3:30 the song resumes itís intensely fast pace as the song races onward in all itís metal glory. Finally the end the song and album with the sound affect of marching.

Overall the album is an excellent buy and even in this day and age it would be worth a 15$ price tag (in part because itís the debut album of Metallica). A lot of this album is actually very basic guitar playing styles just pushed to the extreme. This album was a lot of seeing what could be done, the later albums was more about coming up with something truly unique and dynamic.

Lars Ulrichs drumming was not as good as he would eventually become, and the sound is nowhere near as polished as would eventually be expected from Metallica. But itís a debut, you donít start out and just play Master of Puppets on day one. It takes time and experience to get there.

As fast as these songs are the songs in later albums are faster. Course that is to be expected as Metallica upgraded their craft through experience. But there is something to be said about original Metallica. I am a fan of Dave Mustaine but anyone who feels that this album is not worth having because of what was done to Mustaine is missing out on an incredible debut album. After all, how many bands have debut albums of the quality?
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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One of the best Thrash albums ever. Oddly enough it is one of the most dated too. It sounds very naive to me these days despite some great riffs (Mustaines of course
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Old 08-18-2010, 07:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Johnny_Rotter View Post
Agreed, one of the best thrash albums ever released and my personal favourite Metallica album.

No boring acoustic ballads here, just pure thrash! The fact that they can keep each song interesting for such a prolonged period of time is a testament to their talent during their early years.
If you want 'pure' Thrash then you should check out Sodom especially the album Agent orange. You will love it.
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Old 08-18-2010, 10:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If you want 'pure' Thrash then you should check out Sodom especially the album Agent orange. You will love it.
Thanks man, but i bought that album two months ago, and it is awesome.
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I am very deep into the 80s, thrash metal and I say this is the greatest album ever. each strip stands out for its own account. Hit The Lights is to follow that leaves the album, followes by the four horsemen which is my favourite song.
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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One of my favourite metal albums in general is still Kill Em All.

The hate the band seem to experience from some and the degree to which my music taste has expanded and evolved since first listening to them has never altered my opinion on Metallica's first four albums at all.

The riffing on tracks such as The Four Horsemen, Whiplash and No Remorse is immaculate. Four Horsemen especially. I can't even count the amount of different riffs and riff changes in that one and it's just done so well.

Many consider Master of Puppets to be their best album. This is at least the most raw, true, thrash album they ever put out in my opinion.
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:54 AM   #7 (permalink)
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unfortunitly i remmember that album when it came out, i don't mean unfortunitly for the music but rather my age , however it was a fantastic album in which we had many opon many drunkin nights listning to along with venom as well wich it is good to see that people are starting to give venom some recognition long deserved in my opinion, i think youd find it hard to find an original venom or metallica record in playable condition from that era, il stop me old man bantering anyway, i just thought i'd see if you guys in here have herd any skinny puppy, you might cring, but i sort of find it to be an electronic thrash to a certain degree, i personaly love the band and the more i hear the more i like them, if you havn;t herd them i'd say give them a go they are not bad at all.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:24 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Skinny Puppy has worked on projects with Maynard James Keenan. They must be pretty decent. I'll give them a more thorough look. I love the guitar tone on Kill 'em All. It's like being hit with a bat covered in nails.
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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i just thought i'd see if you guys in here have herd any skinny puppy, you might cring, but i sort of find it to be an electronic thrash to a certain degree, i personaly love the band and the more i hear the more i like them, if you havn;t herd them i'd say give them a go they are not bad at all.
I've been a Skinny Puppy fan for almost two decades but I have to say I don't see any similarities between their music and thrash.
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