Metallica “No Life ‘Til Leather” and Early Demotapes (Thrash Metal) [Music/History/Review]


Year: 1982
Genre: Thrash Metal
Label: Self Released Demotape

We are Scanning the Scene, In the City Tonite
We are Looking for you, To Start up a Fight

”Creeping Death”

Before they became a household name and before they released their first album in 1983, “Kill em all” they recorded several demo tapes like “Power Metal” and the “Megaforce” tape. But this one, “No Life ‘Til Leather” that was released on July 17th, 1982 is probably the most well known, This is my Metallica, the early eager to play fast and furious, raw and dirty. I love the band between 1982-88, then I don’t really care anymore.

The first thing that hit you is that James Hetfield singing style here sound like it’s Dave Mustaine on the microphone. Although I kind of like it here, I’m happy he found “his own voice” to the debut album. At this time Metallica were James Hetfield (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Lars Ulrich (drums), Dave Mustaine (lead guitar) and Ron McGovney (bass).

When the bouncing riffs of the second track “The Mechanix” kicks in, you can’t sit still. The track was later reworked for the debut album “Kill em all” when member Dave Mustaine was kicked out of the band, and they changed the lyrics and the title to “The Four Horsemen”. Mustaine recorded the original song as “Mechanix” (dropping the word “the” from the title) but at a faster pace and a few other changes with his new band Megadeth. It was released on Megadeths debut album “Killing is my business… and business is good!“.

“Motorbreath” as the third track also has this galloping sound that I love about early Metallica and was the first track that opened my eyes to the band. “Seek & Destroy”, “Metal Militia” and “Phantom Lord” are also amazing. But I have to be honest, the opening track “Hit the Lights” and “Jump in the Fire” have never been real favourites.

This demo was also unofficially released as “Bay Area Thrashers“, but with added audience sound?!?!?! … so it was supposed to sound like a live recording. But that’s not correct.

“Don’t stop for nothing its full speed or nothing
I am taking down you know whatever is in my way
Getting your kicks as you are shooting the line
Sending the shivers up and down your spine


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1. “Hit the Lights”
2. “The Mechanix”
3. “Motorbreath”
4. “Seek & Destroy”
5. “Metal Militia”
6. “Jump in the Fire”
7. “Phantom Lord”

James Hetfield – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Lars Ulrich – drums
Dave Mustaine – lead guitar, backing vocals
Ron McGovney – bass
Cliff Burton is given credit on the demo but does not perform. All bass tracks were played by original bassist Ron McGovney.


Power Metal: Power Metal was a demo recorded sometime in April 1982. Although the demo was never officially released, it was given the bootleg name “Power Metal” and contained four original songs by Metallica. It contained “The Mechanix”, written for the band by Dave Mustaine, and “Motorbreath”, which was written solely by James Hetfield. It was also recorded in McGovney’s garage. (Information from a YouTube uploader).

1. “Hit the Lights” (Hetfield, Ulrich)
2. “Jump in the Fire” (Mustaine)
3. “The Mechanix” (Mustaine)
4. “Motorbreath” (Hetfield)

James Hetfield – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Lars Ulrich – drums
Dave Mustaine – lead guitar, backing vocals
Ron McGovney – bass guitar

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Megaforce/KUSF demo: The Megaforce demo was recorded on March 16, 1983 and was the band’s last demo album recorded with Dave Mustaine. The demo was designed to introduce Burton to potential record labels and earned the band a contract with Megaforce Records. It was also played live on KUSF FM in San Francisco. The demo contained two new songs which had not been previously released. It received a number of names including the Megaforce demo (due to it earning a contract with Megaforce), The KUSF Demo (due to it being played on KUSF FM) and Whiplash/No Remorse Demo. (Information from the YouTube uploader).

1. “Whiplash”
2. “No Remorse”

James Hetfield – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Lars Ulrich – drums
Dave Mustaine – lead guitar, backing vocals
Cliff Burton – bass guitar, backing vocals

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… and here down below you can find all 3 demotapes in one long YouTube video.

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