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4.8 out of 5 stars139
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 24 October 2003
It's sickening to think that Metallica took three albums to be noticed in the 80s - a decade where rock was dominated by pointless theatrics of Kiss and Poison. The world should've been crying out for an album like this - pounding, intense, emotional and innovative.
Unlike their debut Kill 'Em All, there's a lot of depth to the lyrics. Like Justice For All, the lyrics are largely similarly-themed, with death a frequent subject. It's hard not to compare them to Iron Maiden, who were a big inspiration.
Opening with Fight Fire with Fire was a good move, as it plunges into their power-metal template in ferocious style. The two best tracks are perhaps For Whom the Bell Tolls and the slower Fade To Black. It's ironic that the few slower numbers in the earlier days are better than most of the later albums which have had less of the thrash-metal vibe.
I also adore the closing Call Of Ktulu, a lengthy instrumental showing the musical skill behind the album. The whole thng makes for a great head-stomping package.
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on 30 July 2005
Metallica's fantastic second album, which builds on the "thrash" template set out by their legendary "Kill 'em All" debut, but also adds the dark atmospherics of the thriving British Heavy Metal scene (a huge influence on drummer Lars Ulrich), showcased brilliantly in James Hetfield's dark, brooding lyrics, particularly on "For Whom The Bell Tolls", "Fade To Black", "Trapped Under Ice", and "Creeping Death".
More than twenty years after it's release, several of the tracks here are still highlights of the Metallica live set. Another thing to note about "Ride The Lightning" is that it doesn't sound a million miles away from the current wave of new American heavy/thrash metal groups, such as Trivium, Chimaira, and Killswitch Engage. As many of these groups would have grown up with this album, it emphasises just what an influence it would have had on these young headbangers. If you are a fan of these bands and would like to see what encouraged them to pick up a guitar, this album is an ideal starting point.
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on 4 September 2007
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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on 25 September 2004
The following review was written by me for The Metal garage [...]
When this album was released, it proved Metallica were one of the best metal bands around, and gave them the status as one of the 'big four' thrash bands, along with Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer.
Metallica's sound has improved from their impressive debut 'Kill 'em All'. The music and lyrics have a more matured feel, and James' vocals have developed and become stronger. Kirk's solos on this album are just pure brilliance. I'd go as far as to say they are mouth watering, and every time he goes into a solo, it's inevitable that the listener gets up and air guitars along.
The quality of 'Ride The Lightning' is high throughout, with each song being able to stand out as nothing but great. The album has a thunderous atmosphere, with the songs having a raging feel to them. Not all the songs are like this though. 'Fade To Black' is a ballad, and a ballad seems as if it would be out of place amongst the lightning fast tracks present here, but it actually fits in extremely well and gives the album a good variation. The last song, 'The Call Of Ktulu', is my personal favourite instrumental ever recorded. It slowly builds up with some chilling melodies and awesome solos before the most thrilling and epic climax to a song like no other.
If I had 50 minutes left to live, I would spend it listening to this. If you don't own it you really should go out and buy it now, you won't be disappointed.
Darren Morrison
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on 11 December 2003
Master of Puppets is undoubtedly the most well known of Metallica's albums and considered by many to be their most complete and consistent release overall. For me though, it is second to 'Ride the Lightening' as RTL has that 'something' that MOP lacks. Ride the Lightening has an energy, passion and aggression that is hinted at in Kill 'em All but is not as well executed, and then lost a little in the slower-paced Master of Puppets. As good as these two albums are (all-time great albums), Ride the Lightening (imo) is Metallica's Masterpiece. Every song is perfect - lyrics, melody, tempo... An instrumental (as with MOP) and a metal ballad are included, completing a set of eight songs that leave a powerful impact on the listener. The pace, relentless fury and rawness of the music is still amazing nearly 20 years after its release. It is Metallica's equivalent of Slayers 'Reign in Blood' and if I were to pick the best and most influential metal albums ever, then Ride the Lightening would be very close to the top of the list.
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on 31 December 1999
What an album, by far Metallica's best effort to date, this album strikes you with the power of the lightning bolt depicted on the cover. A brutal array of thrash riffs and vocals that could strip paint. Witness the punk-thrash power of Fight Fire with Fire, the thrash madness of the title track and Creeping Death and the powerful metal of For Whom the Bell Tolls. Even the instrumental Call of Ktulu is exciting, contrary to most instrumentals. This album contains eight tracks, if it had any more it would blow your speakers. As good as MAster of Puppets is, you have to go back to this album for Metallica at their best. Forget Korn, forget Rage Against the Machine, damn it! even forget Slayer, this will cahnge your view of metal for ever. A brilliant buy, if you claim to be a Metallica fan you own this album, 'nuff said.
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on 4 April 2007
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, serious subject matter. ''Ride The Lightning'' is a perfect example of this cerebral approach, with tracks like the epic ''Creeping Death'' and the seminal ''For Whom The Bell Tolls'' showing challenging subect matter can be combined with thrash riffs, without dumbing down the latter.

This intelligence is also reflected in the musicianship, which is nothing short of exceptional. Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and the late, great, Cliff Burton are all superb, their talent and vision are evident throughout, notably on ''The Call Of Ktulu'', which, despite being an instrumental, looses none of its power or heaviness.

To pick a standout track is hard, not least in 2007, 23 years after its release, when many, if not all, of the songs are regarded as thrash classics. I believe ''Fade To Black'' deserves a special mention though: its emotive, yet powerful lyrics, great Hetfield vocals, and a stunning acoustic intro, matched only by the epic outro.

The contrast from the intimacy of the opening to the heaviness of the outro shows Metallica's true genius. Heavy, yet intelligent, matching outstanding musicianship with the ability to write great songs. The best compliment though, is that it still sounds fantastic today.
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on 9 July 2007
This album is just incredible! I Remember getting this cd for my birthday four years ago. I was simply blown away by the band's vision displayed here. Ride the Lightning marked a great change and step forward from the band's debut, Kill Em All. While that album was a seminal thrash classic, the ambition displayed here eclipsed the band's previous work by far. After the calm acoustic guitar intro on Fight Fire With Fire gives way to vicious thrash metal with lyrics horrifically describing nuclear armaggeddon, you can tell that youre in for a great album. This opening song alone does not show much change from the previous record. However, for the most part, Metallica slowed down the tempos slightly and increased the band's melodic side a bit. However, the album actually feels darker than their first record. This could be due to the lyrics which had also improved since Kill Em All. The lyrics include subjects like war, suicide and capital punishment, mostly having something to do with death. Yeah, that's probably why the album feels dark. These lyrics showed far more maturity than the more puerile ones found on kill Em All.
This album contains the classic anthems For Whom The Bell Tolls, Creeping Death and Ride The Lighting. However, the album's finest cut is the stunning Fade To Black, thge greatest metal ballad of all time. This song begins with a beautiful guitar melody and haunting lyrics about suicide. The song builds up to a hugely powerful climax with thrash riffs and a magnificent solo from Kirk Hammett. Kirk's playing also improved considerably for this release, as his solos here are just beautiful. This song is one of the best I've ever heard. Fade to Black alone is enough reason to buy this album but every song on the disc is great, with the possible exception of Escape which is fairly good but not awesome. Also worth special mention is the monstrous closing instrumental Call of Ktulu.
Overall, BUY THIS!!!!! The songs on this album are just amazing to listen to. More diverse, mature and emotional than Kill Em All, this is a must. Even the more straightforward thrash songs here are as good as anything on Kill EM All. It is one of Metallica's best and it is second only to Master of Puppets which is just a masterpiece.
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on 29 April 2002
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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on 14 September 2000
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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