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Metallica - Ride The Lightning CD (album) cover

RIDE THE LIGHTNING

Metallica

 

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4.08 | 524 ratings

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UMUR
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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Ride the Lightning" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US thrash metal act Metallica. The album was released in August 1984 by Elektra Records. After the success of their debut album "Kill īem All (1983)" the band was expected to release something equally groundbreaking with their second album and "Ride the Lightning" is indeed a big step forward for Metallica in every possible way. Rather than staying in the US to record the album Metallica went to Denmark to record with prolific Danish producer Flemming Rasmussen (Blind Guardian, Morbid Angel among others) at the Sweet Silence studios on Amager (an island outside Copenhagen). Three singles were released with the album in "Fade to Black", "Creeping Death" and "For Whom the Bell Tolls". The album has at this moment in time sold more than 5 million copies in the US alone. Itīs noteworthy that former guitarist Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) is credited for co-writing the two tracks "Ride the Lightning" and "The Call of Ktulu" which suggests that those songs (or parts of the songs) were written even before the release of "Kill īem All" (apparently The Call of Ktulu was featured on an early demo called "When Hell Freezes Over").

The music on "Ride the Lightning" is a lot more sophisticated than the music on "Kill īem All" and itīs a lot more varied too. The layered guitar work is impressive and innovative, the songs are cleverly composed with more than a few twists and turns and with an improved sound production too "Ride the Lightning" actually comes off as a rather mature effort by a band that were still very young. Regarding the sound production itīs very strong for the time. The production is way ahead of itīs time IMO and I canīt seem to recall any other thrash metal album from that early in the eighties which featured such a professional sound production.

The three songs chosen as singles "Fade to Black", "Creeping Death" and "For Whom the Bell Tolls" are all thrash metal classics in my book and as far as I recall theyīve played those three songs every time Iīve seen Metallica live. The rest of the songs are strong compositions too (even though I donīt appreciate the awful staccato vocal rythm in the verse of "Fight Fire with Fire") but I donīt count any of them as classics. The instrumental "The Call of Ktulu" starts the tradition of long instrumental songs on Metallicaīs eighties albums.

The level of musicianship has increased greatly since the debut and Kirk Hammetīs guitar solos are more varied and melodic this time around which is a great treat IMO. James Hetfieldīs voice still sounds a bit imature but there is a notable difference between his performance on this album and his performance on the debut. Overall the bandīs performance is tight and powerful.

"Ride the Lightning" spawned what I think of as three thrash metal classics and greatly increased Metallicaīs popularity. Itīs considered a seminal thrash metal album by many and rightly so. I still think there are a couple of tracks that arenīt on par with the best material on the album. Tracks like "Fight Fire with Fire", "Trapped Under Ice" and "Escape" arenīt exactly classics in my book and my rating drops slightly because of those tracks. Still a 3.5 - 4 star rating is warranted.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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