Kill ‘Em All, by Metallica
I must admit that while I am familiar with some music by the classic heavy metal band Metallica, that I have never listened to their discography in any kind of depth, and their earlier music from the 1980s is particularly unknown to me compared to their 1990s material that I know best. At any rate, I was invited to do a rankdown of their core albums starting with their debut and so it gives me the chance to see how I appreciate their earlier material that is better beloved among their musical community. I may never be a particular fan of St. Anger, but it is interesting to see if their early material is something that resonates with me, especially given that I have never been a particular fan of thrash metal. So, is this album one that I enjoy and appreciate? Let’s see.
“Hit The Lights” begins the album with some powerful guitars and drums that hit hard even if the singing isn’t to my taste. “The Four Horsemen” is a long song, but again its musical template is enjoyable to listen to. “Motorbreath” repeats the same thing with somewhat rough vocals but powerful instrumentation that is easy to enjoy and appreciate. “Jump In The Fire” seems to be encouraging people to appreciate and enjoy their music, which is easy enough to do. “(Anesthesia) – Pulling Teeth” has some excellent distorted guitar riffs in the first half before transitioning to more straightforward guitar virtuosity in the second half. “Whiplash” is a pounding song with music made to mosh to, and lyrics that fit the theme of people thrashing around while listening to the song being performed live. “Phantom Lord” combines some powerful instrumentation with ominous lyrics. “No Remorse” again features powerful music that is combined with a relentless attitude in the lyrics about not caring about the consequences of one’s behavior. “Search And Destroy” demonstrates the violent intent of Metallica towards–something–but again the music is spot on. The album ends with “Metal Militia” which is a fitting description of the band and its early fans.
I must admit that this music is not something I would expect to greatly gravitate to, but overall this album is a pretty strong 4 to 4.5 out of five for me. Every song has powerful music that is easy to enjoy and appreciate and bop your head to, and if most of the album has somewhat weak vocals and vocal production, the instrumentation is so solid overall that I genuinely like all of these songs. Some of the songs like “Jump In The Fire” are particularly strong and it is not a surprise that this particular album started out slow because it has no pop songs at all but ended up selling a lot of copies as people found out about it later on. And it is not a surprise either that this album has such strong streaming either. It is a well-deserved indie classic album, and a good introduction to Metallica and their influence on rock music.