Kill 'Em All
/banzai; 1983/

At the time when they have just issued their last and probably worst album, I just want to go a little backwards, back to the time when Metallica was starting to mean something. That time is not that far away, it is 1983, only twenty years ago, with their first album, "Kill 'em All" which set the basis of their speed thrash metal straight from the Bay Area, but directly inherited from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (N.W.B.H.M. for the friends).

The track listing of this album is amazing, a lot of bands would have probably paid great amounts of money to start with such a stunning set list, just think a little while about our german friends from Accept... On this album you can already find "Seek and Destroy" with its killer guitar riff, the bass solo "(Anesthesia)-pulling teeth" where one can feel the terrible loss of Cliff Burton who was an amazing bass player and it is not a simple coincidence if some americans still say "he's a real cliff !!" when they are talking about someone who is a real rocker. Let's proceed with the track listing, you can also find here, "Jump in the Fire" which will later give its name to a compilation, "Phantom Lord", "Hit the Lights", "The Four Horsemen", which is the title of a tribute album and also the name they are often reffered to, and "Motorbreath" to name only the outstanding tracks.

Moreover, on this album, there are two things you cannot deny, it is the sound and the voice of James Hetfield who wasn't yet smoking cigars and drinking whisky. I can hear from here some of you saying that these are not positive points, but for me, they are. Only aged eighteen at the time, Metallica had put its ass in gear and had managed to obtain Jon Zazula as executive producer. I can imagine them screaming "Viva Zazula!" in the same way others were screaming "Viva Zapata!" in others circumstances.
The first song, "Hit the Lights" starts with a fade in, it's brave to dare may I say. In this song, you can find lyrics such as "No life till leather / We are gonna kick some ass tonight", an amazing song writer was born and embodied by James Hetfield. Track number two is "The Four Horsemen", a story related with the four horsemen of The Apocalypse pictured in The Holy Bible by St John and not St Anger. It's the longest son on the album with its seven minutes of pure metal madness. Track number three is "Motorbreath" with an awesome guitar riff. Quotation from this song:

Those people who tell you not to take chances
They are all missing on what life is about
You only live once so take hold of the chance
Don't end up like others the same song and dance

One could easily wonder if they are not bullying Aerosmith in the last line, as Aerosmith had a major hit with their song "Same old song and dance". But it is probably me seeing the evil everywhere. "Jumping the Fire" is track number four, great guitar riff once again, this song is still often played and it is just normal as it is a real good song. Then, we have "(Anesthesia)-pulling teeth", the bass solo. It is a risky business to put a bass solo on an album, moreover on the first album, but when you have a bass player that is what Houdini is to the world of illusions, you can dare to do it. "Whiplash" number six, which is an ode to themselves and to their fans. Quotation from this song: "We will never quit / Cause we are Metallica". No comment. "Phantom Lord" is track number seven, a good song that takes all its power on stage towards the end of the song if you want my opinion. Then "No Remorse" an anti-war song, yes, already. It is the precursor of "One", "Damage Inc.", "Back to the Front" and all the others songs against war that they wrote. They are American, but they are against war. And Napster. Track number nine is "Seek and Destroy", probably the best song on the album to my mind, a killing guitar riff and a groove that sends into oblivion Beyonce Knowles' solo album. The tenth and last song of the album is "Metal Militia" the fastest of all. Nothing really philosophical in this song, they just compare themselves with the missionaries of the heavy metal. Quotation: "Join or be conquered the law of the land / What will befall you / The metalization of your inner soul / Twisting and turning."

All the solos on this album were written by Dave Mustaine who left the band to create his own, Megadeth, which had the success we know. They managed to stay true to their roots, keeping on playing a heavy speed metal while Metallica was starting to smell like chickenshit and was delivering "Load" and "Reload". Some clues were already in the Black Album as they were speaking about Snow White in the lyrics of "Enter Sandman". But even with this difference between the two bands, Megadeth stayed into the shadow of his older brother. You should give the dog a bone if you want it to be pugnacious.

The god of metal, Zandar, is running out of battery and I have to leave you here, drying your eyes. I will finish with a true saying from The Four Horsemen: "Metal Up Your Ass!!!"

-Dave Rebel

/sept 1st 2003/