Metallica's debut is a very adventurous debut album, filled to the brim with changeups, crazy riffs and screamy over the top vocals. Despite the fact that the lead singer sounds like it's the voice-cracking tantrums of a mid-pubescent teenager, it's actually not that annoying in conjunction with the rest of the songs, and actually serves to inject quite a lot of fun into the project. It's strange, but it surprisingly works. Many of the songs here are surprisingly fun and catchy, some highlights in this regard include The four horsemen, and jump in the fire, two songs that are just a delight to jam out to. The album ends quite strong as well, Seek and Destroy as well as Metal Militia are major highlights across the whole project for me. However, I can't help but feel like there's quite a lot holding back this album at the same time. This album is 40 years old and I can't help but feel like its age somewhat shows through in a way that more widely heralded 'classic' albums tend to be able to avoid. Some of the songs come across as a little bit sluggish, uninteresting, or end up feeling more messy and unstructured than anything, with some vocals becoming muddy and lost in the mixes of these songs. The agonisingly bloated, uninteresting solo on Anaesthesia--Pulling teeth actually felt like getting my teeth pulled out.
Over the course of its 51 minute runtime, Kill 'Em All does a lot, sometimes to its benefit, sometimes to its detriment. I can't call this the most consistent album of all time as it does have its fair share of drawnout mediocre tracks, but when it hits, it's some peak classic thrash metal.