Spin #49 : Metallica : Kill 'Em All
SUNDAY DROP - SPIN #49
Imagine this. It's the year 1983 and you hold in your hand the debut record from an unheard of band called Metallica. It could have been called, "Metal Up Your Ass" but was instead called "Kill 'Em All" after new bassist to the band, Cliff Burton came up with the title. Who would have thought that we would be celebrating this album 40 years later and also waiting with anticipation for their newest album to be released in April 2023 (72 Seasons). They went through quite a bit of turmoil to get this album recorded and I am so glad that they did. Even the fact that Dave Mustaine got kicked out of the band is a blessing now as I absolutely love his band Megadeth. Without adversity and learning the ability to overcome difficult situations, we may never of had two of the biggest bands in the world.
Our 49th Spin will be played in our loungeroom on the Sherwood turntable and the warm sound coming through the 4 x speakers. It's time to turn the volume up and get ready to 'Bang that head that doesn't bang'.
Image : James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Cliff Burton
This is an album that has a special place in my heart and I had the fabric banner above my bed as a teen. I have it ready for when our children grow up and want to have it above their beds too (hopefully they love Metallica). I still can recall looking up at it, laying in my childhood bedroom whilst listening along and admiring the ferocity that the four horsemen bring. I also remember playing the Metallica guitar hero video game and jamming along with the guitar and drum kit for hours and hours. I have to say that 'HIT THE LIGHTS' is my favourite song on the album and really gets you amped up from the first frantic sounds that come through the speakers. It's heavy, fast and if you enjoy getting your face melted, then keep listening. Don't you just love the build up on this introduction song to the Bay Area Thrash Gods! I remember hearing current Metallica first so when I heard just how wild James Hetfield's vocals were in the beginning, I felt their "Fuck the World and everything in it" mentality coming through. I mean, this song doesn't let up and in 1983 I bet that once the first track ended, you were sitting there thinking "Woah".
No time to take a break as the riffing and chugging of second track, 'THE FOUR HORSEMEN' starts blaring. This track is a slower version of Dave Mustaine's 'The Mechanix', which he included on Megadeth's debut album (Killing is My Business and Business is Good). Once I heard Megadeth's version I have to admit that it was really hard to hear this one again because I knew it could be played faster. I do prefer the lyrics on Metallica's version though, so I like the changes that they made. Around the 4 minute mark, there is a distinct change as I'm listening along and it has Hammett doing some magical solo. Then it reverts back to the riffing and chugging to wind up this track. Our children have woken up in a pretty good mood after having movie and pizza night with their auntie and uncle. Gave Night Kat Kiz and I our first night off and out in 2.5 years as parents so we are so very thankful. Managed to go see Halestorm play at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney and they killed it (as always). Obviously had to buy a tour shirt and found Young Henry's brewery to have a nice cold pint of Hazy at.
'MOTORBREATH' is the third song on Side A and has Lars behind the kit is hitting as hard as ever. As the stylus is moving hypnotically around Side A, our son is playing with his crane truck that he is infatuated with. So much so, that when I went in to check on him last night in bed that he had his head on a pillow and the crane truck on a pillow next to him and blankets on both. I like the lyrics of , "Those people who tell you not to take chances. They are all missing on what life's about. You only live once so take hold of the chance. Don't end up like others, the same song and dance". Update on the crane truck as this track was playing - it fell off the chair and has broken the front hitch bar.
I do remember this track because of a drunken friend story. He was wrapped up in a blanket as we all sat around a campfire (barrel) and decided to stand up to get another drink. As he has started walking, his body wasn't co-ordinating with his mind and he managed to fall into the side of the barrel. We always associate this next song with that moment. 'JUMP IN THE FIRE' continues the strong start to this record and is easy to headbang along with. I remember the artwork for this song which had the devil surrounded by flames and has been used by professional skateboarders as artwork on their decks. Metallica offer us a break (slightly) with Burton's bass solo '(ANESTHESIA) PULLING TEETH' up next. It is impressive that this is the first take and that is the version that made it on the record. I remember current bassist Trujillo playing this one when I saw them live in 2010 at Homebush. What has been your favourite track so far?
Last track on Side A is the explosive 'WHIPLASH' which is pretty hard to top in terms of speed and intensity. I dare you to listen along to this one and not move any part of your body along to the beat. It is pretty impossible because straight away our children are bopping along as they play with their blocks and crane truck. The chorus on this song and the pace changes really pump you up and is a good track to mosh in the loungeroom with the children. Hetfield is spitting , "Adrenaline starts to flow, you're thrashing all around. Acting like a maniac, Whiplash" and they arranged Side A to perfection by ending with this song. *time to flip the LP over to Side B*. Just while I'm placing the stylus on Side B, I find myself thinking of the sad news that Ozzy Osbourne has retired from touring and performing live due to health. I was fortunate to see the Prince of Darkness for the final Black Sabbath shows. I know that he is getting older but he still sings as good as he ever has.
I believe this track had some writing assistance from ex-member Mustaine and that first track on Side B is called 'PHANTOM LORD'. The start sounds like an episode of Stranger Things coming through the speakers (or the other way around - 80's!). I'd like to hear this record remastered with cleaner vocals but the production is pretty good for a debut album made on a shoestring budget. I was wearing my Slayer shirt at the concert last night and a few people came up to me to say "yeah, fucking Slayer". The funniest one was when I was at the urinal and this guy said, "How good is Slayer bro" and I went "Yeh man" before quickly finishing up. If you ever get a chance to see one of the Big 4 Trash bands, do yourself a favour and buy a ticket. I'm not sure how much longer Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax will be touring for and if you haven't seen Slayer, sadly you're too late.
A song that really perks up my ears is the second track on Side B called 'NO REMORSE'. At the time this song came out, there were bands playing heavy metal and hard rock but not as fast as this. Hence the term Thrash Metal was being thrown about which gave birth to a whole range of bands trying to be faster than the rest. "No Remorse, no repent. We don't care what it meant. Another day, another death, another sorrow, another breath". The live shows in their early days must have been chaotic and exhausting. If you have a free 40minutes or so, click the link here to see them touring this album.
'SEEK & DESTROY' is probably the biggest song on this album because it became the live show closer. Metallica replace the lyrics to suit what city they are playing in and I remember them saying, "We're scanning the scene in 'Sydney' tonight, We're looking for you to start up a fight". I think the early days took a toll on all the band members and the loss of Burton didn't help. Hetfield has opened up a lot in the last decade or so and has sought help for his demons. Even bands like Metallica are able to put their hand up and seek help when they are going through tough times. The stylus is lining up the last track on the record and just when you think they couldn't possibly have any more energy left, the produce a banger like 'METAL MILITIA'. I am so used to hearing previous track as the closer, that I was forgetting that METAL MILITIA' was the last track. I like the lyrics of, "We are as one as we all are the same. Fighting for One cause leather and metal are our uniforms. Protecting what we are, joining together to take on the world with our heavy metal". The album ends with the sounds of boots marching and before you know it, the stylus is spinning in the endless dead wax.
I look around the room and see our children really happy and learning new things. Our daughter (Q) is currently working out she can stack items on top of each other in order to climb onto furniture. I'm trying to really appreciate these moments more and more because they are growing up too quickly. Thanks for joining us for our 49th Spin - Kill 'Em All by Metallica and hope that you enjoyed it on this relaxing Sunday. Get out and enjoy the sun, read a book, take a long walk and see you next week for something a little different and slower paced.
Image: I thought I owed Dave Mustaine (second from left) the respect he is due for his input into the early days of Metallica, before being dumped from the band. There was also original bassist Ron Mcgovney (not pictured).
Until our next Spin, be Kind to people who like to Bang their Heads and be Kind to your Wax!
Paul Curcio and Jon Zazula
Universal Music Group
SPEED PLAYED AT
NIL - DEBUT
RIDE THE LIGHTNING (1984)
KILLING IS MY BUSINESS....AND BUSINESS IS GOOD (1985)
HIT THE LIGHTS
RATING OUT OF 5
WHAT'S INSIDE THE RECORD SLEEVE
1 X BLACK LP, LYRIC SHEET
"We're scanning the scene in the city tonight, We're looking for you to start up a fight. There is an evil feeling in our brains, But there's nothing new, you know it drives us insane"~ Seek and Destroy - Side B
LP / SIDE
HIT THE LIGHTS
THE FOUR HORSEMEN
JUMP IN THE FIRE
(ANESTHESIA) - PULLING TEETH
LP / SIDE
SEEK & DESTROY
Early Metallica - Pre-Hammet days. James out front with Dave and Cliff, Lars behind the kit