KillEm All is the debut studio album by the American heavy metal band Metallica, released on July 25, 1983, by the independent record label Megaforce. For many people this album is the first thrash metal album in history. (source: Wikia)

Title of the Album

The band initially intended to title the album Metal Up Your Ass, with the cover featuring a toilet bowl with a hand clutching a dagger emerging from it. However, Megaforce urged them to change this and they agreed, switching to Kill ‘Em All. This time, the cover featured the shadow of a hand letting go of a bloodied hammer.

Burton is credited with coming up with the name Kill ‘Em All (referring to timid record distributors, saying “why don’t we just kill ’em all?”) as a response to the whole situation. Even though the original title was unused, the band did later release a “Metal Up Your Ass” t-shirt with the proposed artwork. A live recording of a 1982 performance is in existence, titled Metal Up Your Ass (Live), and includes the originally intended cover artwork.

Writing Process

Despite their differences, Mustaine’s contributions to the early years of Metallica were still acknowledged; he received co-writing credits on four of the songs on Kill ‘Em All. The songs “The Four Horsemen”, “Jump in the Fire”, “Phantom Lord” and “Metal Militia” were primarily written by Mustaine, most of “The Four Horsemen” was written by Dave Mustaine when he was in his previous band Panic. “The Mechanix” was performed at many early Metallica shows, but following Mustaine’s exit, the band added a mid-paced, melodic middle section. Hetfield also wrote new lyrics for both “The Mechanix” and “Jump in the Fire” (a song originally about teenage sexual frustration), and retitled “The Mechanix” as “The Four Horsemen”.

Recording Process

The album was recorded in only two weeks on a shoestring budget. Originally, the band printed 1,500 copies. The band was said to have recorded each of their respective parts in days, James getting three days to do the rhythm guitars, two days to do vocals. Lars getting two days to record drums, Kirk getting a day for solos, and Cliff two for bass. The band was also barred from the mixing room during the album’s recording, being the only time in the band’s history they didn’t have a say in how the final mixes of their songs would come out.

Track Listing

No. Title Composer Length
1. Hit the Lights James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich 4:14
2. The Four Horsemen James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Dave Mustaine 7:10
3. Motorbreath James Hetfield 3:05
4. Jump in the Fire James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Dave Mustaine 4:39
5. (Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth Cliff Burton 4:18
6. Whiplash James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich 4:03
7. Phantom Lord James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Dave Mustaine 4:58
8. No Remorse James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich 6:23
9. Seek and Destroy James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich 6:51
10. Metal Militia James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Dave Mustaine 5:10