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[Album Review] Ride The Lightning by Metallica - Metal


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Ride The Lightning (1984)

James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Cliff Burton


Track Listing (Rating):


1: Fight Fire With Fire (8)

2: Ride The Lightning (10)

3: For Whom The Bell Tolls (7)

4: Fade To Black (10)

5: Trapped Under Ice (6)

6: Escape (5)

7: Creeping Death (9)

8: The Call Of Ktulu (10)


Metallica's 1984 release, Ride the Lightning, is probably one of the best recordings they've ever done, and my personal favorite. With Ride The Lightning, Metallica seemed to evolve their style, both musically and lyrically. Anything found here surpasses that of their debut album, Kill 'Em All, twice if not three times over. This album is more thought out than the last, and is also more mature. In terms of an amazing metal album, Ride the Lightning takes a pretty big leap.


The album starts with, "Fight Fire With Fire", one of those rip 'n roar metal tracks, that'll leave you gasping for breath by the time it finishes. The track starts off with an 18th century sounding acoustic guitar part, eventually roaring into a thunder-chug twister of madness. The powerful force of the song's viciousness is backed up by Hetfield's dark and brooding voice, as he roars the lines, "Fight fire with fire, the ending is neat, fight fire with fire, bursting with fear." The track fades away with a huge thunderclap,simply preparing you for the next track.


The album's aggression doesn't let up on the title track either. "Ride the Lightning", is also filled with a powerhouse of hard-hitting guitar rhythms, and a relentless nature. Around midway through the song, you'll find at least 2 minutes section filled with mind-blowing solos. It's long, loud, and simply electrifying.


The third track is, "For Whom The Bell Tolls". The song begins with the sounding of haunting bells, being reminiscent of AC/DC's "Hells Bells". The song then seeps into guitars chugging with monstrous intensity; it's frightening enough to give shivers down your spine. This is also, probably the best written song on the album. The lyrics, coupled with Hetfield's deep voice, bring out emotions, like fear and anguish. It tells it's story so well, you'll start to form a clear picture inside of you head. The only problem with "For Whom The Bell Tolls" is that it seems to end too quickly. After the second verse and chorus, the song already begins to fade away into an end, when it had the chance to do something more.


The band offers some breathing room with, "Fade to Black", perhaps my most favorite song on the album,if not my favourite Metallica song period; well maybe a close second "Orion" off Master Of Puppets. This suicide based song, starts with a beautiful acoustic guitar melody; you'll be able to feel the agony one would feel in the situation. Featuring a wordless chorus, the music crafted here will surely pull your heartstrings. The song leaves you with an awe-inspiring guitar solo leaving you speechless as it slowly "fades to black."


The album then continues on with, "Trapped Under Ice", speaking of the likes of being condemned in an icy prison, as the song describes, with the lines, "Freezing, can't move at all, bleeding, can't hear my call". Following suit, is, "Escape", which has got to be the rotten egg of the bunch, it just doesn't sound like Metallica. The chorus sounds much too "happy", I felt kind of awkward listening to this. "Escape", just doesn't seem to belong.


"Creeping Death" describes the Plague of the Death of the Firstborn. The lyrics deal with the 10 plagues on Egypt, and throughout the song, four of the ten plagues are mentioned as well as the Passover. The song incorporates hard hitting guitar riffs as well as an ominous middle section, where the chants of "Die!" coincide perfectly with the lyrics "Die by my hand". This section gives the whole song an eerie feel.


Concluding the record is an energizing instrumental entitled "The Call of Ktulu". This 9-minute epic, inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's story The Call Of Cthulhu, is filled with catchy melodies, and explosive guitar riffs. It starts it all it with a portion of acoustic goodness, garnering a mysterious and hypnotic vibe in it. Eventually just throwing everything at you with angry guitar riffs. The tunes in this song can be a mixed bag; you'll never quite know how to react to it. This one will take more than one listen to fully take in the whole song. But it's definitely worth it.


Ride The Lightning is, undoubtedly, my favourite Metallica album, and so it gets full marks from me. It is one of the five "proper" Metallica albums, whereby their musical style and lyrics are spot on [the others being Kill 'Em All, ...And Justice For All, Master Of Puppets and The Black Album]. Ride The Lightning is a must listen for all fans of metal, and for those who aren't, as this album will show them why Metallica are so well-loved by metal fans everywhere.

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Ride The Lightning was an awesome album probably my 3rd favorite Metallica album behind Master of Puppets and And Justice for All.  My 2 favorite songs from this album are Fade to Black and Creeping Death. I got to see my favorite band Metallica live with Godsmack opening for them in Montreal Quebec Canada in 2004 and they played 3 songs from this album at that concert, Fade to Black, Fight Fire With Fire and For Whom the Bell Tolls (really really wanted to hear Creeping Death too!!!).  It was an epic experience and rocked my world. Some tidbits about the Ride The Lightning album:


- Fade To Black was their first "power ballad" and addressed a very taboo subject at the time suicide.

- Was the last Metallica album that former Metallica member and current Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine recieved any credit for.  He was kicked out of a band infamously dubbed Alcoholica for partying too hard...(wow he would have been a blast to go a tear with!!)

- For Whom The Bell Tolls is played each period by my fav hockey team the Montreal Canaidans.

- It went 6x Platinum


It was a big change from Kill em All in the sense it had more of a method or order to the chaos.  Overall I'd give the album an 7.5 and to anyone who has only heard some of the newer Metallica or who is just getting into the them its certainly worth a listen!!

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