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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thrash classic
The best way to judge an album's quality is how good it sounds years after its release. This is harder for metal bands, as their music can sound dated, their lyrics cheesy and the whole thing, well, a bit naff.

Metallica, however, are not one of these bands. They were always the most intelligent of the thrash bands, with James Hetfield's lyrics examining dark,...
Published on 4 April 2007 by The Unforgiven

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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great thrash metal
For those familiar with Metallica through their self-titled 1991 album, also known as the black album, their 2nd album, released in 1984 will sound a lot different. This was Metallica in their true thrash / speed metal days. It opens up with some gently plucked guitar before Kirk Hammett's enormous bludgeoning guitar riff comes in, played at breakneck speed for opening...
Published on 9 May 2010 by klaher


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous album, by a tremendous band, 29 April 2002
This review is from: Ride the Lightning [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Metallica's Ride The Lightning is definitely the heaviest album they ever produced. It contains excellent lyrics and music, with some classical intros leading to very heavy guitar riffs.
The opening track (Fight Fire With Fire) opens with a classical guitar, but don't be put off - this album really does pack a huge and heavy punch!
The tracks on this album are thematic, exploring death and dying from many different views:
1) Fight Fire With Fire: This is about a nuclear war
2) Ride The Lightning: Written about an execution on the electric chair
3) For Whom The Bell Tolls: The topic of this song is a soldier in a war, mainly questioning the need for war (a song with this theme was also recorded on Master Of Puppets called Disposable Heroes)
4) Fade To Black: Suicide. This is by far the best track on the album (arguably the best song ever written and performed by Metallica)
5) Trapped Under Ice: About drowning
6) Escape: Difficult to say exactly what this song is about, but still a great song.
7) Creeping Death: This is about the angel of death killing the first-born Egyptian sons (from the bible), a cleverly written song, and one which is a distinct favourite of mine, and of many crowds at Metallica gigs!
Track 8, The Call Of Ktulu, is an instrumental. The first album, Kill 'em All, did not have such a track, but the next album, Master Of Puppets, did follow this tradition. Instrumentals give Metallica a chance to show off just how good they are (they really are amazing!)
So, why did I decide to submit this review for Ride The Lightning [Vinyl], instead of the probably more popular Ride The Lightning [CD]?
Mainly because I personally prefer LPs!
But also, if anyone is a true Metallica fan, then they should really consider this purchase (and Kill 'em All/Master Of Puppets [Vinyl]), because the record label seems to have stopped producing them (or so I have been informed). They are great quality to listen to, and the sleeves have excellent artwork (better than the CDs due to the increased size!).
To conclude, if anyone likes the old Metallica (not the more modern, commercial Metallica), then they will like this album and should buy it. And anyone who likes vinyl, or even anyone who just has a vinyl player, should definitely consider buying the album on vinyl (its a great price as it is cheaper than the CDs from most high street stores!). This album is definitely my number 1 Metallica album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrash metal personified - BUY IT!, 14 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Ride The Lightning (Audio CD)
Metallica followed up their speed metal debut (Kill 'em All) with an album that simply re-wrote metal history. From the enchanting orchestral intro right through to the spralling instumental finale (co-wrote with former member Dave Muffstain) this is music to make your ears bleed. The subject matter of the songs left their contemporaries trailing in their wake, betraying their tender years. From nuclear warfare to contemplating suicide, ancient Egyptian mythology to death by drowning, Hetfield's stunningly subtle metaphorical lyrical style will leave you both intrigued and hooked. You will listen to this record time and time again, each time delighting yourself as you hear something new. The music is amazing. Surley Hetfield & Ulrich are the metal equivalent of Lennon & McCartney. Compositions are of imense proportions, almost operatic at times. The guitars deliver big style - high speed thrash one minute, heart wrenching acoustic the next - the riff work easily matches 'Master of Puppets'. Hammetts solo's are some of his best efforts. Lightening quick finger tapping whammy bar screams followed by slow, emotive blues. Kirk pulls out all the stops. The rhythm section of Ulrich & Burton are as tight as a Scotsman's wallet, not one missed beat and the late Burton's improvisation on bass a pleasure to behold. Hetfiled's guitar-work is everything you'd expect, and more. When combined with his vastly underated vocals the result is one of the greastest frontman ever to grace the metal stage. The production of the album is a vast improvement over 'Kill 'em All - every riff, every drum beat, every Hetfield growl is crystal clear. The music is so dynamic - comparing well to greats like Led Zep. The 8 tracks are each different, yet compliment each other so well. And every one is fantastic. Surely this album warrants 6 stars? In a nutshell, any self-respecting music lover simply MUST own this record. What you waiting for?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first thrash metal masterpiece, 19 Aug 2000
This review is from: Ride The Lightning (Audio CD)
A year before the release of "Lightning", Metallica created a new subgenre of metal. The unprecedented sound that assaulted the ears of heavy metal fans when they played the "Kill 'Em All" album forced them to coin a new term: thrash metal. With "Lightning", Metallica proved that not only did they do it first, they did it best. It seemed, at the time, that this album would stand as the all time greatest of thrash metal. Surely, we all said, there is no way Metallica, or any other band, could top this. Little did we suspect that it would be followed up with Metallica's greatest achievement, the untouchable "Puppets". With the benefit of hindsight, and comparison of these two albums, we can see that Metallica had not yet fully matured. While "Lightning" is as raw and yet more refined than "Kill", it cannot match the effortless visceral power of "Puppets". On "Lightning", Metallica was obviously still learning that pummelling listeners in the gut is best done with rhythms that do not depend entirely on sheer volume. This flaw, I must stress, is revealed solely in comparison with the perfection of "Puppets". "Puppets" played at a whisper will still knock the saliva out of you, but "Lightning" needs to be heard at volume. This is not a criticism: I certainly have no objection to loud music, in principle. This is merely my reason for asserting that "Lightning" is Metallica's second best album, not its best. I dare to call "Lightning" a flawed masterpiece because I have the ultimate masterpiece to compare it to. However, it is true that "Lightning" was itself the ultimate masterpiece, from 1984 to 1986. All you have to do is listen to the album, at as high a volume as your stereo can manage, and you will understand why.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EPIC!, 1 Jun 2008
By 
Adam Jackson "Symphonic Metal Fan" (Stoke On Trent , England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is basically my review for the CD but I still have the original Vinyl pressing for this released via Music For Nations in the mid 80's - a real musical delicacy from my tender years! Almost wore it out before the joy of CD arrived!
1984 was a vintage year for metal- quality albums from Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and in this case Metallica.
Metallica made an enormous leap in musical strength from 1983's Kill 'Em All to this (personally I've never known any other band progress this much in between albums). Everything improved 100%; Writing, arranging, vocals, musicianship and (especially) production.
Metallica began to show a flair for dynamics and recognise the importance of light and shade - this is a dark album though that lyrically focuses on death as it's primary subject. James Hefield's vocals are more rounded and deeper than on the previous album, together with FAR more maturity to the lyrics. Hetfield & Kirk Hammett work very well together on guitars, with moody acoustic interludes, monstrous riffs and some truly spine-tingling solos (possibly Hammett's finest work). Cliff Burton came into his own on Bass guitar with very heavy yet progressive bass lines (check out Track 3, For Whom The Bell Tolls) and Lars Ulrich actually became a genuine rock drummer here - plenty of great snare work and double bass drumming.
It must be said the snare drum sound is fantastic and all credit to Fleming Rasmussen for the production duties here which still sound fresh and powerful today
Stand out tracks;
Fight Fire With Fire - Deceptively gentle acoustic interlude, fast, aggressive riffs, double bass drumming, Nuclear War theme - 80's Thrash at its best!
Ride The Lightning - Metallica's take on Hallowed Be Thy Name? Mid paced but heavy, some epic riffs, great solo, thumping bass lines.
For Whom The Bell Tolls - Fantastic snare sound, WEIRD bass intro, mature lyrics, a monster of a song.
Fade To Black- Metallica's first ballad (although still heavy) and still their best.Fantastic acoustic chords, more stunning riffs, James Hetfield's moving lyrics and vocals, Kirk Hammett's best ever solo at the songs climax backed by superb drumming from Ulrich. Dark and haunting, this will stay with you for the rest of your life!
The Call Of Ktulu - Metallica's first fully fledged instrumental, real mythical feel to this with some cliched but effective 'Howling Wind' Sound FX at the start. Every musician absoluteley pushes himself here and the track builds to a fabulous climax (definite snippet of Gustav Holst's
classical piece, Mars at the end) Cliff Burton was a classical fan and it shows on this track. I'd have to strongly recommend the live version of Ktulu on 1999's S&M opus, where Metallica are backed on stage by The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Its INCREDIBLE!
Trapped Under Ice - Fast, plenty of lead guitar, proper Thrash metal!

In conclusion, This is an awesome, truly Epic album from the glory days(1984-1991) - Master Of Puppets probably does just shade it but the margin is so small you'd need goal line technology to split them. CLASSIC.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The album that blew me away, 14 May 2003
By 
This review is from: Ride The Lightning (Audio CD)
Three words: 'Fade To Black'. This song makes the whole album fantastic! This song has very hard hitting lyrics, mellow guitar playing followed by heavy riffs, Kirk performing his best solo(s)(theres the into one and the outro one) and James pouring so much emotion into the song, its almost unbelievable. The other songs on the album hide in the shadow, but are all fascinating in their own rights. 'Creeping Death', 'For whom the bell tolls','Escape', 'call of ktulu' and 'Trapped under ice' all have different effects on the listener, but they all focus on death. The only real disappointment with this album is the first track: ''Fight fire with fire' because the lyrics sound far too punchy and out of place. The album was also bassist Cliff Burton's penultimate album (Master Of Puppets being his last) which makes the lyrics even more emotional. Kirk (who had lessons from guitar god, Joe Satriani) is a genius, there is no denying it! His solos are so full of energy and he really shows he is not lying in James' shadow. To sum it up, this album will blow you away and you will not be disappointed with it (as a whole). This is my favourite album because of the variety and also Kirks dramatic solos. I hope the solos are like in this album, rather than the Load albums (the solos were too short), when St Anger is released.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Ride the Lightning" delivers in epic proportions !!!, 13 Jun 2002
This review is from: Ride The Lightning (Audio CD)
Ive been a Metallica fan for a few years now, and without a doubt i can safely say this is perhaps the best album they or any band for that matter have ever recorded. With incredible, "lightning" fast (excuse the pun) guitar solos by Hammett this is thrash metal at its best. Almost 20 yrs from its original recording and this album still rocks, simply because the classic guitar/drum solos are no longer present in modern day rock and pop....sad, but lets talk about the album.
At first glance although the track listing may appear small (8) there is still over 50 mins of epic rock with some songs such as "call of Ktulu" at around 8-9mins. In my oppinion this is probably the most consistant Metallica album though songs like Fight fire.." are not classics, but are neither fillers either.The true classics are "Ride the lightning","Whom the bell","Creeping Death" and "Call of Ktulu". However none of these songs (in my opinion) come anywhere near the masterpiece which is "Fade to Black"! A song with incredible rythm guitar, drums, lyrics....everything about this song is perfect and truely epic. An underated song when placed alongside "Master of Puppetz" for example, but this song is superb with an incredible guitar solo (one of my favourites) to end it all off (typical Metallica style). If you like your classic rock, and have chosen to steer well clear of new metal bands, than this album fits the bill perfectly. Because Slipknot just doesnt come anywhere near the drum and guitar genius of Metallica!!!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Metallica destroy the 'difficult second album' cliche, 29 May 2003
This review is from: Ride The Lightning (Audio CD)
Metallica's second album Ride The Lightning is where the story really took off. Seen by many as their best album, this takes Metallica's sound to the next stage. This album has all the power and punch of Kill Em All but also includes greater depth and style (something that really reached a peak on Master Of Puppets). Although only an 8 track affair, it more than satisfies at just under the 50 minute mark.
The album opens with the furious and thrashy Fight Fire With Fire, a song in a simelar vein to material from Kill Em All. Then the title track. This track features a fantastic bass riff and is one of Metallica's much overlooked classics. For Whom The Bell Tolls is a super-heavy stomper of a track that is contrasted by Fade To Black, a beautiful ballad with a sting in its tail. There then follows a slight slump in the album with Trapped Under Ice and Escape, two slightly unmemorable tracks that you can take or leave. However, this is countered by a fantastic finale. Creeping Death is one of Metallica's all time classics and is everything you would expect from the band in its prime. The closer, The Call Of Ktulu is a 9 minute instrumental that it one of Metallica's finest.
Overall, this is one of the best metal albums ever recorded. This is probably the most consistant of Metallica's 80s albums, though overall Master Of Puppets is a better album. However, as many prefer this, and so it is certainly worth checking out. Possibly not the best starting point for someone new to the genre - the Black Album would be a better starting point - but a good first choice for someone with a fair idea of what to expect.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their best album without a doubt, 4 Sep 2007
By 
This review is from: Ride The Lightning (Audio CD)
This is Metallica's finest, it contains great moments and has few faults.

What I would like to state however is that only two songs were co-written with Dave Mustaine these being "Ride the lightning" and "the call of ktulu." Though these are key tracks, Kirk Hammet clearly had more to do with this album than Dave Mustaine.

The first track is good but nothing in comparison to the opener of "Master of Puppets - battery". 3.5/5

"Ride the Lightning" the title track is brilliant and is one of the album's highlights. The guitar solo's are great but its James Hetfield's voice and riffs that make this song awesome. 4.5/5

Great live, "For Whom The Bell Tolls" could have been the only song off the album to follow "ride the lighning." This song is just the ultimate mosher tune. 5/5

Definitevly the best song on the album, showing how good a guitarist Kirk Hammett is you can tell he was taught by Joe Satriani, this song is incredible hats off to Metallica for "Fade to Black." 5/5

Its hard form this point not to just replay some of the previous songs or just skip forward to "Creeping Death" or "The call of ktulu", however "trapped under ice" is worth a good listen and though it is weak on this album it would be one of the best on later albums like "st. anger" 3.5/5

"Escape" for me is the worst song out of all, though this possible maybe more down to my personal dislike for this song its not bad. 3/5

"Creeping Death" a great song that gets even better when heard live especially when the crowd are asked to shout out die and for some i know their favourite off the album, fantastic! 4.5/5

"The Call of Ktulu" if the most epic song nearly ever by metallica with obviously one taking that prize, a great way to finish off an album but especially for "ride the lighning", though after having heard it many times it can get boring. 4/5
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The BEST album by the BEST heavy metal band of all time, 19 Jun 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Ride The Lightning (Audio CD)
Awesome. It doesn't get much better than this. If you want REALLY heavy stuff, check out death metal bands like Nile, Cannibal Corpse, etc, but if you like your metal melodic, yet thumping, checkdisout. Fantastic songs from the heavy-as-hell Fight Fire With Fire, through slow burning For Whom The Bell Tolls, through the best 'tallica song ever, Fade To Black, through the marvellous riffage and structure of Creeping Death, to the ultimate in layering and building a mood in the instrumental mastery that is The Call Of Ktulu. This is definitely the BEST album by Metallica; epic and timeless. People say Limp Bizkit is metal. They ain't heard nothin' till they've heard this...
Check it out, you won't be disappointed.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an amazing influence to any musician! Buy it!, 8 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Ride The Lightning (Audio CD)
Before I give my review, I would like to add that if you play either the bass guitar, the electric guitar, or the drums, then this album will truly open your eyes to why these instruments are incredible!I play the drums, and it has worked for me!
If you like Metallica, but don't have this album, it is sort of a cross betweem other albums Kill 'em all, and Master of puppets, which are also great! The songs on this album are amazingly written and structured, such songs are "Ride the Lightning", "For whom the bells toll", "Creeping Death", and of course, "Fade to Black". "Fade to Black" is Metallica's first major ballad, and is the best one! It is in my opinion the best Metallica song ever! To sum this album up, it is the album that started a great career for Metallica in being the greatest metal band on earth! Worth every penny!
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