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Metallica - Kill 'Em All

"Metallica's" debut album was released on July 25, 1983 !!!

And this time, for a change, let's open with a personal story...


A teenage boy in the early 1980s decides to get on the wrong bus and instead of going to school, he is on his way to the center of Tel Aviv, to the "Allegro" legendary record store on Sheinkin Street.

Allegro was one of three record stores that were his refuge and balm from the usual difficulties that every teenager goes through in his adolescence, but also a place of pilgrimage where he studied and was educated: eat, drink, and study music.

Although the "Allegro" store specialized mainly in classical music, at its southeastern end was a respectable department devoted entirely to the genres of "Heavy Rock" and "Heavy Metal." The one who ran this department with a high hand was Effie "Metal" Shafrir, who served just like a spiritual father to that boy. Effie made sure to feed the boy the right doses of hard rock classics combined with contemporary kicking metal music.


One day, Effie "Metal" Shafrir put "Metallica's" album "Kill 'Em All" on the turntable, and as soon as the needle touched the first track of the vinyl record, the boy's head began to spin at the speed of light.


Anyone who is familiar with the first vinyl releases of the album knows that on the back of it is written the sentence:


"Bang that head that doesn't bang." - R. Burch ‘83.


This phrase was dedicated to one of the band's fans called Ray Burch and who was known for the headbanging he performed in the band's first appearances (who knows maybe he's also the first headbanger). The band also dedicated the song "Whiplash" from the album to those fans. "Whiplash" is the punch that a person feels in the neck during a car accident when the head is thrown back and forth, and this is exactly the homage that Metallica sought to convey to fans who moved their heads frantically during performances.


This sentence, which for some reason was deleted in the reissues of the album, was so true and genuine. It accurately described the feelings of that boy at that formative moment. Everything he knew up to that moment was not even close to the sounds emanating from the ragged headphones. This combination of hard-core punk with heavy metal created a kind of insane symbiosis that changed his whole worldview. Shortly afterward every album that came out exploded, albums by "Slayer", "Anthrax", and later also "Megadeth", a new world opened up, and thrash metal was born!!!


This album is the formation of the band In the making as they say...


Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield formed the band, which in its early days included Ron McGovney on bass and Dave Mustaine who came to the band through a newspaper ad, on lead guitar.


(Photo: metallica.com)


Even before the release of the album, the above-mentioned band released no less than 6 demo "albums" with which they tried to convince record labels and tour directors to let them perform or record.

The demos included songs that came out later on the album and also covers. "No Life 'til Leather" is one of the prominent demos that brought the local scene to discover who "Metallica" is. But two significant changes took place in the lineup ahead of the album recording, bassist Ron left the band in light of confrontations he had with Dave, and not long after, Dave was fired from the band in light of the heavy use of alcohol and drugs and the severe quarrels he had with Lars and James. Ron was replaced by bassist Cliff Burton who conditioned his joining on the band's move from Los Angeles to San Francisco and Kirk Hammett who received the invitation to replace Dave on that famous phone call while sitting in the restroom.


(Photo: Fin Costello)


Since the band did not have the funding or record label to produce the album, Lars called Jon Zazula, a New Jersey record store manager, and metal band publicist, to ask for his support which in return, "Metallica" allowed him to sell the "No Life 'to Leather" demo. This move also helped establish the "Megaforce Records" label, as no record company agreed to fund the album.


Kirk who came from the band "Exodus", learned all the songs for the album during his flight to meet the band members. They took producer Paul Curcio and in just two weeks recorded the entire album away from home, at Music America Studios in New York. Since they had no place to live during the recordings, they slept with friends and acquaintances in the city and in "Anthrax's" rehearsal room in New York.


The cost of the album is estimated at $ 15,000 which almost led to the bankruptcy of John and his label. That even so he had a hard life finding a distributor. After much effort, John was able to persuade Relativity Records to distribute it.


The first two songs the band wrote for the album were "Hit The Light" which opens the album and tells about the thrill the band feels on stage when they see the audience raging, and "Jump In The Fire" which was released as the second single from the album and according to Lars was "Metallica's" reaction to the Iron Maiden's song "Run to The Hills", which was plowing on alternative US radio stations at the time.

The band was also looking for one song that would be a little more "catchy" and that was the one.

The song was written from Satan's point of view who tempts people to sin, he wrote it in response to the religious coercion he experienced from his mother who was a member of the Messianic organization Jehovah's Witnesses.



The song "The Four Horsemen" is another song that Dave co-wrote. This is an incarnation of the song "The Mechanix" that appeared in a demo from 1982 - "No Life 'Til Leather", and later also appeared in its original version on the debut album of Dave "Megadeth's" band from 1985 - "Killing Is My Business..." at 3:26 of The song can be found in a rhythm reminiscent of the song "Sweet Home Alabama." Dave noted that at the time he listened a lot to "Lynyrd Skynyrd" and that was his tribute to the Southern Blues band. The title of the song, which speaks of "the four riders", is taken from John in the New Testament, but also contains a wink to the four members of the band.


The song "Motorbreath" is the only one of the band whose credit is given solely to James Hetfield and it talks about people doing nothing with their debtors.


The instrumental track "Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)" is one of Rock's greatest and most appreciated bass solo pieces, showcasing Cliff Burton's amazing abilities. And his virtuosic abilities as well as his ability to compose, arrange and control the bass guitar with effects like distortion and wah-wah which is mostly known to be used by guitars at that time.



The song "Seek & Destroy" was based by Hetfield on the song "Dead Reckoning" by the "Diamond Head" band, which was the band he adored and as mentioned, also performed several covers for its songs.


This album, which celebrates its birthday today, is one of the first moments in which the Thrash Metal genre was documented, a genre that set new standards in music. Extremely high speed, accuracy, power, and endurance. Just at the same time that glam and heavy metal began to lift their heads, four Los Angeles-San Francisco punks made sure to push the metal straight up the $#% $.


Not for nothing did they intend to crown the name of the album "Metal up your ass", but the record company's resolute opposition forced them to change the title to something a little more refined and exclusive: "Kill 'Em All".


Listen to the album on: Spotify, Apple Music


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