Watch Metallica play Kill ‘Em All deep cut Metal Militia for the first time since 2016

(Image credit: Didier Messens/Redferns)

Metallica have taken a deep dive into their storied back catalog to blitz through thrash anthem Metal Militia live for the first time since 2016 – and the Bay Area metal titans have posted pro-shot footage of the occasion.

For a Metallica fan of a certain vintage, this really is an occasion. Culled from the band’s incendiary 1983 debut LP, Kill ‘Em All, Metal Militia is mother’s milk to rivet-heads, a premium work of pure steel that has only been performed 10 times in the past decade. Back in the day – i.e. the early ‘80s – you would often have found them closing out the set with it. 

But Pinkpop 2022, at at Megaland, Landgraaf in the Netherlands, was a rarity. Appropriately, Hetfield dug out a white Flying V, just like the only electric guitar he used back in the Kill ‘Em All era – the white Electra Flying V copy that is now preserved and used only as a studio pinch hitter.

The Pinkpop white V, however, looks like a weather-beaten custom replica bearing his name on the truss rod cover, upgraded with his signature EMG Het Set pickups. Hammett, meanwhile, is on his ESP KH-2 Karloff.  

Sometimes Metallica bundle these deep cuts into a medley, or tease them, but here Metal Militia is played straight, no chaser, and whip-tight for a track that doesn’t often see the light of day. 

What else should they drop back into regular rotation? Phantom Lord, another impeccable Kill ‘Em All cut, is rarely on the set. Likewise, Jump in the Fire. The last time that was played was in 2016 at Rasputin Music, Berkley, California to mark Record Store Day, a super-fun set comprising all old-school hits. 

Escape, for many a Ride the Lightning's only misfire even though the verse riff/vocal is awesome, has only been performed once at the 2012’s Orion Festival, though they did tease the track on the Chile date of their 2022 South American Tour, only to launch into Sad But True. 

In other Metallica news, the band released a new four-track live EP recorded in 2014 at their MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit Concert set, in which the band covered Ozzy, Deep Purple, Rare Earth and the Beatles.

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.