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This review is from: Ride the Lightning (45 RPM Series) [Vinyl] (Vinyl)
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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Initial post: 30 Aug 2011 11:51:52 BDT
P. G. Welsh says:
totally agree with the above, but would add that if you can, get the vinyl rather than the cds for all metallica's early work, as the cds have never been remastered and the records have a far fuller sound on a good system.
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