“Very few other bands were chasing that same vision”: Kirk Hammett reflects on Kill ‘Em All and Ride the Lightning

“We were all so young, but we had a very clear vision of what we wanted to do.”

Kirk Hammett performing onstage with Lars Ulrich in the background

Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

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Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett has been looking back on the band’s early albums in a new interview.

In a conversation with Philadelphia radio station 93.3 WMMR [via Blabbermouth], he recalls: “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.”

Metallica’s debut album Kill ‘Em All celebrated its 40th anniversary last month, while their second album Ride the Lightning will celebrate its 40th anniversary next July. At the time of each album’s release, the members of Metallica were all in their late teens or early 20s.

Hammett also name-dropped the rest of the ‘Big Four’ of thrash: Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer, as well as bands like Exodus, Overkill, and Testament as sharing the same vision. “But what blows me away about it is we’re all around the same age,” he continued. “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.

“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?”

Metallica are currently touring in support of their latest album, 72 Seasons. You can check out dates and grab tickets via their official website.

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