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Metallica - Ride the Lightning (Cover Artwork)

Metallica

Metallica: Ride the LightningRide the Lightning (1984)
Megaforce/Elektra

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: shawnlwshawnlw
(others by this writer | submit your own)

It's unfortunate that Metallica's second album is often overshadowed by the acclaim and/or controversy of its other prime '80s brethren, because it is in many ways the most important release of the band's classic thrash period. It was here that the band first eschewed the heavy metal posturing of th.
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It's unfortunate that Metallica's second album is often overshadowed by the acclaim and/or controversy of its other prime '80s brethren, because it is in many ways the most important release of the band's classic thrash period. It was here that the band first eschewed the heavy metal posturing of their debut, Kill 'Em All, in favor of a consistent lyrical theme. It was also here that the band first included their signature melodic intro and instrumental, and the album's overall basic formula is one they would follow for the rest of the decade. So, if you're looking to get into Metallica but break into fits of projectile vomiting every time you hear "Enter Sandman," this might be the best place to start.

The prevailing theme here is one of death and its ultimate inevitability. Whether it's the rant about the potential of a nuclear holocaust that is "Fight Fire with Fire," the thrash metal suicide note of "Fade to Black" or the grim tale from the electric chair that is the title track, frontman James Hetfield spends most of the album fearing the reaper. Appropriately enough for the vibe, the band downplays their Motörhead fascination on this release in favor of some Black Sabbath sludge in the album's slower moments, and the production on the record is both fuller and heavier than the debut.

Ride really only has two weaknesses: The Judas Priest tribute of "Escape" sounds dated (even if it is enjoyable), and ending the record with the instrumental "The Call of Ktulu" seems to somehow slow the album's momentum even though it's the last song.

Overall, Ride the Lightning may not be as epic or sprawling as its two descendants, Master of Puppets and ...And Justice for All, but for as mind-blowing as both those records are, they're neither the colossal creative leap forward nor the easily digestible song cycle that this is. Loud guitars. Harmonized leads. Epic solos. A fucking relentless metal record. You can't go wrong.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
nevenwise (February 9, 2010)

I disagree and believe Ktulu was the perfect way to end an epic album

tenwestchaser (February 2, 2010)

Master of Puppets is the best thing they ever did.

budapesthardcore (February 1, 2010)

"Surprised at the lack of "WTF is this metal bullshit, this is PUNKnews.org" comments."

WTF, this is metal bullshit.

Laurier (February 1, 2010)

Best Metallica record a couple of meh songs but there strongest stuff is on this album.

Torgo (January 31, 2010)

dreeeamweaver: It's a 5 if it didn't have Escape. The other three of their first four records are all 5's though

pacer (January 31, 2010)

Awesome, but the first side of master of puppets is hands down the best thing tallica ever did. Battery -> Master -> Thing that should not be -> sanitarium. Seriously.

Prodigalson (January 30, 2010)

Their best together with Kill 'Em All. Master of Puppets is good butthere's noway it can reach them.

aymor (January 30, 2010)

best metallica record

LeightonESmith (January 30, 2010)

Hey Jeremy, try listening to it at a faster speed - it sounds even better.

dreeeamweaver (January 30, 2010)

4.5 stars? is that a fucking joke? this is ride the motherfucking lightning, dude. when i hear this record, my balls swell with pride. fuck you and your withholding of a half-star.

thepopeofchili-town (January 29, 2010)

Surprised at the lack of "WTF is this metal bullshit, this is PUNKnews.org" comments.

10/10 classic, but Puppets is still my favorite

Misanthropee (January 29, 2010)

I remember my 11-year-old head exploding when my friend's older brother rocked this for us in the garage. If it weren't for a chance encounter with the Ramones soon after I'd probably be a metalhead right now. Rock on. This album rips. So let it be written!

chadreligion (January 29, 2010)

Are you kidding? This album ruled(for the time of it's release)and made me want to read about the story of The Thing That Should Not Be. This was probably the turning point of the the thrash/punk days for Metallica, and maybe their last truest and non-overproduced album until they became "Mall Metal"
Still, some good songs, but not as good as Kill'em All

jeremythunder (January 29, 2010)

try listening to it at 33 rpm, it magically transforms from thrash masterpiece to stoner-sludge masterpiece

RobbyKills (January 29, 2010)

best thrash metal album ever? Possibly

alex101 (January 29, 2010)

Classic Metallica! R.I.P. Cliff Burton

d_boons_ghost (January 29, 2010)

Ah, these minstrels will soothe my jangled nerves.

Cheesetits (January 29, 2010)

Obviously a classic, but probably my least favorite of their releases before the Black Album. Still.

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