KIRK HAMMETT Looks Back On Making Of METALLICA's 'Kill 'Em All' For Album's 40th Anniversary

December 1, 2023

On the latest episode of the "Metal Mayhem ROC" podcast, METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett celebrates the 40th anniversary of the band's debut album, "Kill 'Em All", by going back in time for an in-depth look back at the rehearsals and the recording of the LP that took place in "Metal Mayhem ROC"'s hometown of Rochester, New York in 1983. Kirk gets reacquainted with some of the people who lived it with METALLICA, both personally and professionally. Showcased in this exclusive interview are over 40 never-before-seen candid photos from the studio and the surrounding Rochester area, Lakeshore Record Exchange, the Riverboat concert with RAVEN and so much more, all of which have been unearthed from personal collections and scrapbooks. In addition, "Metal Mayhem ROC" revisits METALLICA's gigs at the MetLife Stadium in New jersey this past August, Kirk reveals what his passion is for New Jersey outside of music (hint: sand and surf),and he opens up about his love for DEEP PURPLE and Tommy Bolin.

This past August, Hammett was asked by Sara of the Philadelphia radio station 93.3 WMMR about his "relationship" to the songs on the band's first two albums, "Kill 'Em All" and "Ride The Lightning", which are celebrating their fortieth anniversaries in 2023 and 2024, respectively. He responded: "Well, when I listen to those tracks, I'm just kind of blown away when I look back. We were all so young, but we had a very clear vision of what we wanted to do, what we wanted to sound like, how we wanted to execute things, the type of songs we wanted to write. I mean, for as young as we [were], we all had a collective vision and we knew exactly what we wanted, and what we wanted and what we were chasing was very unique. No one else was — well, very few other bands were chasing that same vision. You know, it was us, it was SLAYER, it was ANTHRAX, it was MEGADETH, it was EXODUS, it was OVERKILL, it was TESTAMENT. There's a lot of bands who were chasing that vision, and we all had kind of like the same vision. But what blows me away about it is we're all around the same age. I don't know if that happens these days. You find just a large group of people, a scene where everyone's just all into the same thing and is supporting each other. And then record companies start going, 'What's going on?' and start getting curious, and next thing you know, all of a sudden there's a record company in the room and it is signing everyone. And we were all, like, 22, 23 years old. The fact that we got so much done at such a young age just blows me away, because it seems like we had something on our sides — we had some sort of energy, or God was smiling down on us or the universe was pushing us. And thank God, because those two albums, 'Kill 'Em All' and 'Ride The Lightning', when they came out, there was nothing like it. And I'm really proud of that… I'm actually blown away when I look back at it. When we were making those albums and touring behind them, we just kind of took it for granted. It was just, like, 'All right, we did that. Let's go on to the next thing.' We never like sat down and really thought about the accomplishment that we made. And so, 40 years later, I'm able to do that and I'm able to go, 'Man, we really pulled something off and we were just kind of blasé about it,' you know?"

Originally issued on July 25, 1983 through the independent label Megaforce Records, "Kill 'Em All" was recorded in two weeks on a miniscule budget in upstate New York. Although only 1,500 copies were initially pressed, the album was reissued by Elektra Records after the band signed to that label in 1984 and has since been certified triple platinum for sales of more than three million copies.

The original title of "Kill 'Em All" was "Metal Up Your Ass".

The album's opening cut, "Hit The Lights", was the first song that frontman James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich wrote together after forming METALLICA. An early version of the track appeared on the 1982 compilation "Metal Massacre".

Lead guitarist Dave Mustaine was replaced by Kirk Hammett shortly before recording commenced, although Mustaine still has several writing credits on the disc and went on to form MEGADETH.

A number of songs from the album are still part of METALLICA's set list to this day, including "The Four Horsemen", "Seek and Destroy" and "No Remorse".

METALLICA has since gone on to become one of the biggest rock bands in the world, selling tens of millions of copies of its eight studio albums, including 16 million alone of 1991's self-titled "black album." The band's latest effort, "72 Seasons", arrived in April.

METALLICA's "M72" world tour, which launched in late April in Amsterdam, sees the band playing two nights in every city it visits — with each "No Repeat Weekend" featuring two completely different setlists and support lineups. The "M72" tour features a bold new in-the-round stage design that relocates the famed METALLICA Snake Pit to center stage, as well as the "I Disappear" full-tour pass and the debut of discounted tickets for fans under 16 years of age.

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