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Shane’s Music Challenge: METALLICA – 1983 – Kill ‘Em All

| 26 March 2014 | Reply

Shane’s Music Challenge: METALLICA – 1983 – Kill ‘Em All

Metallica - Kill Em All cover

It’s impossible to overstate the importance and influence of this record.

Like when Lennon was murdered or I lost my virginity, I remember exactly where I was when I heard it – when the world changed forever.

It was after school one day, at Robbo’s place, who had told me about this record he’d bought that he was dying to listen to. He slipped it onto the record player and gently lowered the needle to the groove…


Robbo flicked the turntable speed up and down from 33 1/3 to 45 and back again – was it playing too fast? It MUST be playing too fast!!! This was MAD SHIT!!!

Of course, today it doesn’t sound so radical – extreme metal has desensitised us from the impact Kill ‘Em All had at the time of release, in the same way that The Beatle’s Please, Please Me now seems pretty twee, even though it was similarly radical in it’s own time.

While Iron Maiden were exploring their inner prog-metalheads, Rainbow aimed firmly for the charts with soft AOR, and AC/DC commenced their long, painful slide into (mostly) boring repetition, there was a revolution happening in America – riffs got speedier, solos insane… thrash was born, and forget The Big Four – Metallica was The Big One.

Although obviously owing a debt to Dave Mustaine for his hand in formulating their sound (not to mention Ron McGovern, for that matter), Metallica were the Hetfield/Ulrich/Hammett/Burton quadraxis, and this is still just a magnificent album where a bunch of spotty herberts stumbled drunkenly, yet determinedly, onto “the next big thing”, creating a new musical revolution in the process.

Kill ‘Em All was almost called Metal Up Your Ass, but it’s fair to say that it may not have been stocked as widely had that come to pass! Mind you, the cover of a hammer over a pool of blood with a shadowed hand hovering above is still pretty out there for that time (or any other)

There are no best bits – Kill ‘Em All is essential listening from the frenzied riffing at the start of Hit The Lights, right up until the jackboots march out of the end of Metal Militia, and it still sounds to these ears like a brave new world – as reinforced by the fact that ‘Tallica today still lean heavily on many of these tunes live.


Category: Shane's Rock Challenge

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