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KIRK HAMMETT Reflects On The First Two METALLICA Albums: "I'm Actually Blown Away When I Look Back"

"For as young as we were, we all had a collective vision and we knew exactly what we wanted."

metallica kirk hammett

This year Metallica’s debut album is celebrating 40 years. Kill ‘Em All was released on July 25, 1983 by the independent label Megaforce Records. Next year we will have another 40-year celebration with Ride the Lightning, which saw the light of day on July 27, 1984. These two albums are widely considered landmark studio efforts that truly shaped the thrash metal scene for generations to come. Although many old school fans regret the band's progressive departure from the raw and in your face sound of these two albums after 1986, the truth is Metallica's music hasn't strayed too far from those early head-banging years – even though the thrash metal elements haven’t been more subtle or subdued at times.

Kill ‘Em All introduced a whole new genre of music instantly distinguishing the band, from the heavy metal dominated scene of the early 80s.

In a recent interview with Philadelphia’s radio station 93.3 WMMR, Metallica's guitarist Kirk Hammett reflected about these records and the impact they still carry, after four decades: "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, 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."

“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 were chasing was very unique" continued Hammett.

"Very few other bands besides us were chasing the same sound, and we all kind of have that same vision. It was Slayer, it was Anthrax, it was Megadeth, it was Exodus, it was Overkill, it was Testament. And we all were around the same age, I don't know if that happens these days, if you can find a large group of people, a scene where everyone's just all into the same thing and is supporting each other."

"When we made those albums and toured 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?"

The ambitiousness of these two albums cannot be understated. Even when you don't know anything about the genre, it's likely that you have heard at least one of their staple tracks, and even more likely that it has stuck with you. So let's pour ourselves a shot of Blackened and toast to another 40 years.

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