Rating:
10
Metallica - Ride The Lightning
27 July 1984


01. Fight Fire With Fire
02. Ride The Lightning
03. For Whom The Bell Tolls
04. Fade To Black
05. Trapped Under Ice
06. Escape
07. Creeping Death
08. The Call Of Ktulu


1984. Talk about a band and an album being so far ahead of their time that they would be hallmarks in the history of metal...

Ride the Lightning was nothing less than a nuclear bomb dropped in American metal laps. We'd heard Judas Priest and Sabbath, but nothing could have prepared anyone for what was coming full force out of San Francisco in '84. Since Kill 'em All had limited success in the underground, most people still hadn't heard of the Bay area thrashers who were busy forging a new metal scene stateside. With the launch of Ride the Lightning and heavy touring, Metallica were set to take stage as one of the more brutal premier metal acts.

Although Mercyful Fate had the black metal scene covered over in Denmark, and Judas Priest were busy taking us Beyond the Realms of Death in the UK, nobody stateside had really stepped up to claim the rights as heaviest, loudest and fastest in North America. Metallica were more than willing and had plenty of that young, in-your-face raw energy which was needed. Jaded early on by what were being called sellouts and bands that weren't taking the music seriously enough, Metallica shoved Kill 'em All in everyone's face which was just raw fury. Now it was time to tighten the screws, refine the music a bit more, and create an album which would showcase their talents along with their already raging, furious speed.

Ride the Lightning is an experience in raw, fast and furiously played music which holds few if any punches. Fight Fire With Fire is a musical onslaught. They filled our ears and rooms with their blasting guitars and relentless drumming from song 1. As a 14 year old kid I had to stand up and say, "HOLY SHIT!!!" out loud a few times. That's not to say Ride the Lightning isn't without a musical flaw. For Whom the Bell Tolls is a standard musical affair without much to offer the more advanced musician, but the rest of the cd is headlong into chunky, fast e-chords and double bass drumming. The themes are great, the ambiance is perfect, and the timing spot on throughout. Had the band not had one of Joe Satriani's prodigal sons in Kirk Hammett, I think the music would have been severely lacking and forgettable.

Metallica would soon peak with their next offering Master of Puppets which would showcase all of their skills as budding progressive metal musicians, and see the end of an era for a band that was built on rage and fury. The untimely, tragic death of Cliff Burton on the road in Europe would be a major catalyst in the direction the band would go afterward. Their mounting popularity gave them a chance to finally make some money and with the money came all the trappings of a secure life which unfortunately came out in their music after ...And Justice For All. The band and their music would never be remotely close to the raw intensity of Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets. I'm grateful to have grown up musically during this era and to have had the chance to witness it all firsthand.


Band profile: Metallica
Album: Ride The Lightning


 


written by ponderer | 06.07.2008


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Guest review by
Iced Iñigo

Rating:
10
With this album Metallica confirm their total control on Thrash Metal and their consolidation like an international band. In this album the band members were fully adapted to each other and make a more mature and considerably better musical album. The lyrics of this album are also better than in the last one, they do not speak now about headbanging, blood, and those things, in "Ride The Lightning" they speak about personal problems like in 'Fade To Black' . Other tracks are inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and the movie 'The Ten Commandments' like 'Creeping Death'.

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published 22.09.2003 | Comments (46)



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Marcel Hubregtse - 06.07.2008 at 21:14  
I remember buying this album as if it were just yesterday.
February 11 1984 was the first time I heard "For Whom The Bell Tolls" that was at the first EVER European gig Metallica did, namely at the Aardschokdag festival (including Venom, Savage (yes that UK band band Metallica covered), Tokyo Blade & local Dutch band Horizon (who were first called Savage but changed their name because of the UK Savage). Because my friends and I didn't know the new song was called For Whome The Bell Tolls) we kept on referring to it as "that song with the chiming bells at the beginning) a week after the gig I pre-ordered my copy of Ride The Lightning. When it was finally released I rushed to the record store straight after school to obtain it and then cycled home as fast as possible (a 15 kilometer bike ride) and ran upstairs to play it the entire rest of the day.

Funnily RtL made a bigger impression on me than the No Life Till Leather demo and Kill em All debut when I first heard those, and also a bigger impression than Master Of Puppets two years later.
RtL I still regard as the pinnacle of Metallica's career. Because this album is clearly the blueprint MoP followed.
SlaytallicA - 06.07.2008 at 22:26  
One of the best thrash albuns of all time!
ponderer - 06.07.2008 at 22:26  
I think For Whom The Bell Tolls was probably the first song we learned to play all the way through when we were first starting out. We played that, Fade to Black and Creeping Death pretty well along with a slew of Mercyful Fate songs. RTL really was a monumental album for that time period in the states.
Katatronik - 07.07.2008 at 15:12  
Incredible album... this is history! Absolute masterpiece, second only to Master Of Puppets...
Demonmayonnaise - 12.08.2008 at 19:36  
This album is full of great songs. Trapped under Ice, Creeping Death, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and Fight Fire with Fire, hell all of em are amazing songs. This is THE Metallica album.
Elio - 12.08.2008 at 19:57  
in my opinion this album could have been much greater if hadn't contained 2 songs that in my opinion are fillers.what a shame.nonetheless it deserves a 9
Marcel Hubregtse - 12.08.2008 at 20:51  
Written by Elio on 12.08.2008 at 19:57

in my opinion this album could have been much greater if hadn't contained 2 songs that in my opinion are fillers.what a shame.nonetheless it deserves a 9


So which two songs do you consider fillers?
Elio - 12.08.2008 at 21:10  
escape and trapped under ice...just my opinion man.
Demonmayonnaise - 13.08.2008 at 05:46  
Written by Elio on 12.08.2008 at 21:10

escape and trapped under ice...just my opinion man.


I dont care much for escape, but trapped under ice is one of my favorite Metallica songs. But youre right, too each his own.
Dangerboner - 13.08.2008 at 19:31  
interesting

Trapped Under Ice is one of my favorites from the album, alongside Creeping Death, Ride the Lightning, and Fight Fire With Fire.
ponderer - 14.08.2008 at 18:47  
For Whom the Bell Tolls is the runt of the litter. The song is weak from beginning to end. I learned to play that on the drums, bass and guitar without having had any lessons or musical knowledge whatsoever.
Marcel Hubregtse - 14.08.2008 at 18:48  
Written by ponderer on 14.08.2008 at 18:47

For Whom the Bell Tolls is the runt of the litter. The song is weak from beginning to end. I learned to play that on the drums, bass and guitar without having had any lessons or musical knowledge whatsoever.


Wow, and for me it is THE single best track of this album. Just shows how much tastes can differ.
ponderer - 14.08.2008 at 18:58  
It used to be my favorite until I discovered the complete lack of talent it takes to reproduce it You have to remember that at the time I was also heavily into Mercyful Fate and Rush so my horizons were already expanding. I've had the honor of having played most of these songs live on the guitar for small parties and more recently at larger gigs on the drums. I might be "retired" but I'll never forget having had the chance to play Ride the Lightning live.

I think Trapped Under Ice and Escape are two of the more underrated songs on the cd and deserve much more praise than they get. Ride the Lightning and Call of Ktulu get awards for being more complicated.
Marcel Hubregtse - 14.08.2008 at 19:00  
Written by ponderer on 14.08.2008 at 18:58



I think Trapped Under Ice and Escape are two of the more underrated songs on the cd and deserve much more praise than they get.


I totally agree here, especially concerning Escape. I would dare to say it is the most underrated song from their entire discography.
Warman - 14.08.2008 at 19:43  
Their second best after Puppetz IMO. And yes, "Trapped Under Ice" is underrated. Wouldn't say the same about "Escape", good song but the least good.
Elio - 15.08.2008 at 15:53  
guys I still don't understand why Escape is so great in your opinion
Piere - 08.10.2008 at 00:08  
This album is so insanely awesome, no words can describe the brilliance of the epic 8 tracks. This is a true piece of metal history. Thank the heavy metal gods & Metallica for the creation of this album
StephenTheBoss - 29.11.2008 at 08:46  
Great review man, 1984 and this album seems like a birthmark on my left ass cheek screaming for me to scream out loud and escape is cool shit it's almost experimental compared to the rest of the album especially being a song after classics like For Whom the Bell Tolls and yea, holy shit man title track rules as well.
StephenTheBoss - 29.11.2008 at 08:49  
Written by Elio on 15.08.2008 at 15:53

guys I still don't understand why Escape is so great in your opinion


Gojira and their cover of Escape compliment the sound of Metallica all the way IMO. Escape is so ahead of it's time also, even after Kill em' all.
Daggon - 03.04.2009 at 12:43  
This is not only one of the best albums of Metallica, is also one of the best Thrash albums of all time, and not only that, it is one of the best Metal albums of all times! It is going to be hard to really return to their roots. I can't imagine them playing something as great as Fight Fire With Fire or Trapped Under Ice. Nice review.
Solstafir! - 17.07.2009 at 14:48  
Best album by Metallica by a mile...every song in the album has different characteristics...great diversity and originality considering it was released in '84...
Andresopeth - 23.07.2009 at 16:50  
I guess i have listened to this album like thousands of times, Inteligence, maturity and good performance are their greates qualities. They grew up a lot in comparison with Kill'em All, Meallica created an album which is one of the best in rock's history without doubts. For Whom The Bell Tolls, The Call Of Ktulu and Fade To Black my favorites
Tony Misra - 29.09.2009 at 19:56  
Well Dave Mustaine ... why did Metallica flush of Dave Mustaine...?? IVAN a question to you sir..!!
THE_BLACK_GOD - 13.01.2010 at 17:13  
You cant find heavier album that this. its full of everything. Im in love with Fade To Black and For Whome The Bell tolls and no fuckin band can give me such songs never. they are enough to be a fuckin tallica fan. I wanted to write a new review about it but words were too meaningless to show my feelings.
huge jarmes - 17.04.2010 at 10:12  
Great album. one of the best. still the best thrash album even in my personal opinion is rust in peace (please ,no metallica vrs megadeth stuff,they both rock) but this and MOP are amazing.
huge jarmes - 17.04.2010 at 10:14  
Written by StephenTheBoss on 29.11.2008 at 08:49

Written by Elio on 15.08.2008 at 15:53

guys I still don't understand why Escape is so great in your opinion


Gojira and their cover of Escape compliment the sound of Metallica all the way IMO. Escape is so ahead of it's time also, even after Kill em' all.
gojira is a baddass band
Roro - 17.04.2010 at 10:27  
One of the best 80's
Valentin B - 19.06.2010 at 11:44  
This fucking album is ridiculously good. 6 incredible tracks and 2 decent ones? FUCK YEA
Boxcar Willy - 22.09.2010 at 22:28  
Written by SlaytallicA on 06.07.2008 at 22:26

One of the best thrash albuns of all time!

Corection, THE best thrash album ever!
Angelic Storm - 22.09.2010 at 22:35  
My fave Metallica album. xD

I totally agree with "Trapped Under Ice" and especially "Escape" being hideously underrated songs. The latter has never been played live because James has stated before in interviews that he doesnt like it.
JohnDoe - 22.09.2010 at 22:38  
Written by Valentin B on 19.06.2010 at 11:44

This fucking album is ridiculously good. 6 incredible tracks and 2 decent ones? FUCK YEA


which are only decent?
Valentin B - 22.09.2010 at 23:03  
Written by JohnDoe on 22.09.2010 at 22:38

Written by Valentin B on 19.06.2010 at 11:44

This fucking album is ridiculously good. 6 incredible tracks and 2 decent ones? FUCK YEA


which are only decent?

this might be cliche, but Escape and Trapped Under Ice. actually i see Trapped to be quite good though
JohnDoe - 22.09.2010 at 23:08  
Cliche indeed

Knowing I'm looking for trouble but For Whom the Bell Tolls is my least favourite song on this album.
Angelic Storm - 22.09.2010 at 23:17  
*In Elvis voice* "If you're looking for trouble..."

Seems like James isnt the only one who doesn't like "Escape". lol

I dont think I can pick a least fave song from this album, I love all the songs pretty much equally. xD
Marcel Hubregtse - 23.09.2010 at 07:13  
Written by Angelic Storm on 22.09.2010 at 22:35

My fave Metallica album. xD

I totally agree with "Trapped Under Ice" and especially "Escape" being hideously underrated songs. The latter has never been played live because James has stated before in interviews that he doesnt like it.


I find that statement about Escape never having been played live weird. Cause I somehow remember them playing it live in The Netherlands in either 1984 or 1985 during their club tour.
Angelic Storm - 23.09.2010 at 11:28  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 23.09.2010 at 07:13
I find that statement about Escape never having been played live weird. Cause I somehow remember them playing it live in The Netherlands in either 1984 or 1985 during their club tour.


Well, if thats true, thats the first time Ive ever heard of it being played live. Ive seen it stated on several ocassions, that it was never played live. Though I obviously personally cant substantiate that.

"Trapped Under Ice" had only been played live 4 times (all 4 times on the RTL tour) before they played it last year in Glasgow. What is certain, is James saying he doesn't like playing the song when he was asked why they never play it. (Escape)

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