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Exclusive: Metallica Guitarist Kirk Hammett Discusses 30th Anniversary of ‘Kill ‘Em All’

Kirk Hammett
Cory Schwartz, Getty Images

On July 25, 1983, Metallica released their debut studio album, ‘Kill ‘Em All.’ Initially, ‘Kill ‘Em All’ was not commercially successful, but 30 years later it is regarded as one of the best thrash metal albums of all time. Its rawness and speed are unmatched, and guitarist Kirk Hammett gives us a better understanding of why it is such a gritty album.

In an exclusive conversation with Loudwire, Hammett describes the recording of ‘Kill ‘Em All’ as follows: “The way we did it was just like, we go in there, do it, knock it out, next. Go in there, do it, knock it out, next. Go in there, do it, knock it out, next. There wasn’t a lot of time to second guess anything. It was all just about going for it.”

The shredder goes on, “In retrospect, I think that was probably a savior for us because if we did have more time to work on that album, it wouldn’t have sounded the way it does. When I think of ‘Kill ‘Em All,’ I think of it being very visceral. We weren’t second guessing ourselves because we didn’t have time to do that. It was just something that we went for.”

For Hammett, this was all a blur, partly because he joined Metallica right before recording started, replacing Dave Mustaine. It was also a blur, though, due to the fact that the band was living up to its ‘Alcoholica’ nickname. “The whole recording process is kind of foggy because we were drinking so much vodka and just about any other alcoholic beverage we could get our hands on back then,” the axeman reflects.

There’s no doubt the sound of ‘Kill ‘Em All’ stems from the fast-paced mentality that went into recording the album. When paired up with Metallica’s legendary balls-to-the-wall attitude, fans get one of the thrashiest albums ever created that has stood — and always will stand — the test of time.

While today (July 25) marks the actual 30th anniversary of the release of ‘Kill ‘Em All,’ the band celebrated the milestone with a surprise performance of the entire album at their Orion Music + More festival in June. Check out footage of that gig here, and see a classic performance of ‘Seek & Destroy’ featuring the classic Metallica lineup of Hammett, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich and the late Cliff Burton below:

Metallica Perform ‘Seek & Destroy’


Track-By-Track Breakdown of 'Kill 'Em All'

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