Sound — 9
Released in 1983, Metallica's debut album truly shows the band's potential at the time. At the forefront of an entirely new and previously unprecedented genre of metal-thrash Metallica set out to change the face of music forever. And they got that. But they got more. A lot more (pardon the Spinal Tap reference). Though not Metallica's best album by any means, "Kill 'Em All" still stands today to be one of the most relentless and pure rocking debut albums of all time. In terms of great debuts, I know nothing comparable to it except Ozzy Osbourne's "Blizzard Of Ozz." Rough but crisp (and unmercifully fast) guitar work intertwines with Lars Ulrich's blistering drum loops and James Hetfield's adolescent yet pleasing shrills and screams. Though the production value can't necessarily match that of the band's later albums, in my opinion it was produced perfectly for the thrashy phase of music Metallica were going through at the time. Though the album lacks a ballad (or any type of song that would even be remotely considered slow, for that matter), the band are already experimenting with intricate breakdowns and memorable instrumental passages in songs like "The Four Horsemen" and "Phantom Lord." Not until later albums such as "Ride The Lightning" and "Master Of Puppets" did Metallica really expand their sound, but as far as pure thrash goes, I don't think you can really go wrong with "Kill 'Em All."
Lyrics — 8
During the time of its release, Metallica really weren't at the top of their lyrical game, but the album still shows traces here and there that they wanted to break out of their thrash shells, and as I mentioned before, they did so in subsequent releases. So, in short, the lyrics are more than good for thrash but less than stunning for the standards that the band had later set and consistently lived up to.
Overall Impression — 9
It is no doubt that Metallica were one of the most important pioneers of the thrash genre, and ultimately the entire metal genre in general. "Kill 'Em All," though nowhere near as good as "Ride The Lightning" or "Master Of Puppets," still manages to be a very important album in terms of innovation, and is certainly a worthy addition to any headbanger's collection.