Home Site











Metallica
Albums

  • Kill Em All
  • Ride The Lightning
  • Death Magnetic








  • Adrian's Album Reviews |

    Metallica

    Kill Em All 7 ( 1983 )
    Hit the Lights / The Four Horsemen / Motorbreath / Jump in the Fire / (Anesthesia) Pulling Teethv / Whiplash / Phantom Lord / No Remorse / Seek & Destroy / Metal Militia"

    The Brits still owned heavy metal, thanks to the likes of Iron Maiden. Where was America in all of this? Well, heavily influenced by British bands were Metallica but they still managed to put their own twist on things. They were very guitar heavy at this stage, very fast and speedy, almost punk-like, taking this cue from Iron Maiden, Motorhead etc and so forth. Allmusic.com describes the music as having 'jaw dropping levels of scientific precision'. Well, fair enough, although someone forgot to turn up the bass on the mixing desk. James Hetfield's lyrics and vocals at this stage are pretty forgettable but 'Kill Em All' isn't really about that. No, it's about the guitar riffs, the speed and the energy. Containing enough riffs to impress even early Black Sabbath, 'Kill Em All' is testament to talent, dedication and anger. British bands didn't really go in for all this technical showing off, but Metallica married this trait to the energy of the British new wave of heavy metal. Some credit them with inventing thrash metal - which I'm not sure they really did. They just made a name for themselves, and by extension, 'it'. Dave Mustaine, who left Metallica before the recording of this album, was heavily into the Brit metal bands and played a huge part in forming the Metallica sound before putting together his own group, 'Megadeath'.

    Guitars that sound like drills, a drummer who sounds like he's got arms made of steel, a singer who you can only hear as a guttural roar, a pounding bass guitar although as I stated, mixed out of the sound in terms of register. I keep having to turn the bass up on my speaker system to really 'get' 'Kill Em All'. 'Seek & Destroy' is the clear album standout, a song with an actual tune on an album heavy on heroics but light on substance in terms of that old-fashioned thing called melody. The rhythm section chug away and although the mix is weak in terms of heaviness, this chugging married to the guitar attack and actually memorable lyrics pushes the Metallica game-plan forwards dramatically. Another highlight arrives with 'The Four Horsemen', all attacking vocals, impressive bass runs and memorable lyrical moments. Those riffs though, those forcibly powerful speedy riffs. You can't ignore them.

    Add A Comment?


    top of page
    Ride The Lightning 8 ( 1984 )
    Fight Fire with Fire / Ride the Lightning / For Whom the Bell Tolls / Fade to Black / Trapped Under Ice / Escape / Creeping Death / The Call of Ktulu

    A kind fellow stated I had no real reason or right to check out heavy metal albums. Indeed, a lot of the reviews I've glanced at on-line for 'Ride The Lightning' are written by metal fans, for metal fans. An outside view is perhaps welcome for those of you that like metal as part of a well-balanced diet? 'Ride The Lightning' builds on 'Kill Em All', the songs are more tightly constructed and generally have more of an aggressive spirit about them, without sacrificing any melodic content. We get immense speed, long instrumentals, thrash and death-metal. We get these elements forging together into a sound an observer of Metallica of any era will instantly recognise. This was the first of three albums they would make with Danish producer Fleming Rassmussen, and introduced greater songwriting democracy within the band - 'Kill Em All' features a lot of Dave Mustaine compositions despite the fact he'd already left the band - only two writing credits for Mustaine are present on 'Ride The Lightning'. Yes, they were using some old material along with the new, but an ear glanced towards opener 'Fight Fire With Fire' tells its own story. The bass-lines run together with the guitar - it's heavy. The aggressive energy is clear, although when the song finishes you wonder if it is a song you were just listening to, or merely an enjoyable mess? The title track ups the ante in terms of composition, it's a structured piece with enjoyable riffs and, some two minutes in, some fairly decent, primeval pounding of drums. A lengthy,enticing guitar solo fidgets away before the song falls back into the catchy (yes!) groove of the opening couple of minutes - a beginning, a middle and an end, you see.

    Good guitar harmonics and tolling of the bell during the opening sequence of 'For Whom The Bell Tolls'. The riffs have an attitude, no messing, angry and serious riffs, yet often simple in their melodic content, ensuring the song itself survives. Riffs as trapping, riffs as building blocks, riffs as glue - all types are represented. James Hetfield's vocals are not really note-worthy during the 'Ride The Lightning' LP, well, he's not exactly up in the mix, but I do enjoy his vocals during 'For Whom The Bell Tolls', the third song in and each song so far better than the last. Acoustic guitar briefly introduced 'Fight Fire With Fire' but plays a far more prominent role throughout the opening sequence of 'Fade To Black', a 'thrash metal' band writing a ballad? Sell-out, sell-out, sell-out? Of course not, it was a further sign of compositional progression, the type of progression that would make sure Metallica never got entirely trapped within one single, narrow, metal sub-genre. In any case 'Fade To Black' builds towards a satisfying, exciting guitar-riffage conclusion. Side B of the album is unfortunately weaker in quality than Side A, even if nearly all the same individual components are present and correct. Neither 'Escape' or 'Trapped Under Ice' convince as pieces of song-writing - although it was early days for Metallica. The last two tracks are better, 'Creeping Death' rolls furiously along superbly aggressive, yet always melodic, riffs - whilst the closing nine minute long instrumental hints at both progressive and classical influences.

    Add A Comment?


    top of page
    Death Magnetic ( 2008 )
    That Was Just Your Life / The End Of The Line / Broken, Beat & Scarred / The Day That Never Comes / All Nightmare Long / Cyanide / The Unforgiven III / The Judas Kiss / Suicide And Redemption / My Apocalypse

    ‘Death Magnetic’ has been mixed into oblivion. I don't want to labour the point, but there really is no range here at all. It's a modern trend and it hurts audiophile ears - everything turned up to a Spinal Tap '11'. For the technical among you, I encoded the CD to LC ACC format and I'm listening to it in a nifty new Russian based media player, 'AIMP2'. Anyway, heavy? Ah, yes. Metallica will beat you into submission over seventy-five minutes. They'll take their speedy riff-age of old, marry it to fairly average lyrics and the usual James Hetfield hollering. At the same time, Lars Ulrich pounds away on the drums – the man who never evolved. There’s a film in that idea, somewhere.

    Lead single 'The Day That Never Comes' isn't at all typical of 'Death Magnetic' and you'll be fairly pleased to hear that. On the other-hand attempts at fan pleasing of a different kind are writ large all over the opening two numbers. 'That Was Just Your Life' begins with something akin to a heart-beat. What, we've come off the life-support machine now, have we? The speed of the guitars are impressive and we have a tune that recalls 'Justice' very much indeed. Well, Rick Rubin stupidly informed the band he wanted them to write the lost, second part of 'Master Of Puppets'. How’s that going to happen, exactly? 'That Was Just Your Life' gamely tries to stick to just such a template, although rarely reaches the same heights as either ‘Puppets’ or ‘Justice’. 'The End Of The Line' will have you dropping your Jack Daniels on first listens. Repeated listens lessen initial giddy thrills, the composition itself is just too messy to rank as certified Metallica gold. ‘Broken, Beat & Scarred’ certified Metallica gold - one to stick on your I-Pod Metallica playlist.

    Annihilation, suicide. Ten minutes of ‘Suicide and Redemption’. Unforgivably, we also get ‘The Unforgiven III’. ‘My Apocalypse’ closes the album with brevity, a mere five minutes of crunching riff-age this time out - other songs regularly exceeding seven minutes each. Rick Rubin may have succeeded in bringing the guys back to their roots, but many of these songs could use a little editing. Overall then, 'Death Magnetic' is an entirely predictable album in one sense. Metallica have stepped back to produce an album that somehow could have fitted right in-between 'And Justice For All' and their 1991 self-titled commercial behemoth. Producer Rick Rubin and a talented new bass-player induce a cautious optimism when considering 'Death Magnetic' and its place in Metallica history and Metallica future.‘Death Magnetic’ has been mixed into oblivion. I don't want to labour the point, but there really is no range here at all. It's a modern trend and it hurts audiophile ears - everything turned up to a Spinal Tap '11'. For the technical among you, I encoded the CD to LC ACC format and I'm listening to it in a nifty new Russian based media player, 'AIMP2'. Anyway, heavy? Ah, yes. Metallica will beat you into submission over seventy-five minutes. They'll take their speedy riff-age of old, marry it to fairly average lyrics and the usual James Hetfield hollering. At the same time, Lars Ulrich pounds away on the drums – the man who never evolved. There’s a film in that idea, somewhere.

    Lead single 'The Day That Never Comes' isn't at all typical of 'Death Magnetic' and you'll be fairly pleased to hear that. On the other-hand attempts at fan pleasing of a different kind are writ large all over the opening two numbers. 'That Was Just Your Life' begins with something akin to a heart-beat. What, we've come off the life-support machine now, have we? The speed of the guitars are impressive and we have a tune that recalls 'Justice' very much indeed. Well, Rick Rubin stupidly informed the band he wanted them to write the lost, second part of 'Master Of Puppets'. How’s that going to happen, exactly? 'That Was Just Your Life' gamely tries to stick to just such a template, although rarely reaches the same heights as either ‘Puppets’ or ‘Justice’. 'The End Of The Line' will have you dropping your Jack Daniels on first listens. Repeated listens lessen initial giddy thrills, the composition itself is just too messy to rank as certified Metallica gold. ‘Broken, Beat & Scarred’ certified Metallica gold - one to stick on your I-Pod Metallica playlist.

    Annihilation, suicide. Ten minutes of ‘Suicide and Redemption’. Unforgivably, we also get ‘The Unforgiven III’. ‘My Apocalypse’ closes the album with brevity, a mere five minutes of crunching riff-age this time out - other songs regularly exceeding seven minutes each. Rick Rubin may have succeeded in bringing the guys back to their roots, but many of these songs could use a little editing. Overall then, 'Death Magnetic' is an entirely predictable album in one sense. Metallica have stepped back to produce an album that somehow could have fitted right in-between 'And Justice For All' and their 1991 self-titled commercial behemoth. Producer Rick Rubin and a talented new bass-player induce a cautious optimism when considering 'Death Magnetic' and its place in Metallica history and Metallica future.

    Share Your Views?

    Readers Comments

    Bob Rockville
    Not your greatest review. Your intro reads like a sidenote and you forgot to mention the best track on the album (All Nightmare Long).

    Nicolas Argentina
    Please, please, listen to the Guitar Hero III mix of the record (google is your friend ;). It does not sound very compressed.

    Vlada Serbia
    Yeah, this album is quite an achievement for Metallica at this point of their career.They have successfully avoided becoming stale by constantly trying to introduce new elements into their music, sometimes with good results(Load) and sometimes without fully realizing their initial concept(St Anger).With this one they made a conscious effort to try writing songs the way that used to in their early days.Of course, they couldn't do it the same way due to the years of experience.That's why these songs sound like some kind of a strange mixture of the classic Metallica sound and bluesy riffs from Load.Surprisingly it works great.The only thing that bothers me is the fact that some songs seem to be a bit forced out having different sections not blending well with one another.Also it seems that some band members' interests lie elsewhere.The album simply doesn't come across as a sincere one.It's four great musicians doing their thing as best as they can without involving too many emo! tions in the process.

    Hugo
    I´m sorry, but you have no idea or taste on metal. This is pure shit. Focus on rock, indie and jazz, and forget this style. Thanks


    top of page
    this page last updated 01/06/13


    Full Archive - Sort by Decade - Sort by Genre


    Album Reviews | A-Z Artists | Beginners Guides | Blog (Facebook Group) | Blogs We Like |
    Channel Youtube | Contact Us | Find New Music | Features | Music & Web Apps | Ratings At A Glance
    Singles Bar | Top 100 Albums | Top 100 Songs |


    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

    Made In Devon.