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Ride The Lightning
Fight Fire With Fire 
Ride The Lightning 
For Whom The Bell Tolls 
Fade To Black 
Trapped Under Ice 
Escape 
Creeping Death 
The Call Of Ktulu
Release Date: August 1984

Recording Location & Date: Sweet Silence Studios Copenhagen, Denmark Spring 1984

Producer: Metallica Assisted by Flemming Rasmussen & Mark Whitaker
The Band: 
James Hetfield - Guitar, Vocals
Lars Ulrich - Drums
Cliff Burton - Bass
Kirk Hammett - Lead Guitar
Singles:
Creeping Death

Promos:
For Whom The Bell Tolls, Fade To Black.

Notes:
Re-released in 1989 and re-mastered in 1995. This is the only album that the band produced themselves.

James Hetfield: "Overall, I'd have to say Ride The Lightning is my favorite. Kill 'Em All , our first album, was already written when we went into the studio but Ride... was the first next step, when we started to discover the studio and what we could do in it. That was kinda the fun bit, and it still is."
 

Review

 

Mmmm what does Ride the Lightning mean to me...everything. This is probably my favourite album. In my opinion their dirtiest and grittiest to date, but at the same time melody and feeling is abundant on this release. The first song 'Fight Fire with Fire' is the song that got me into Metallica and opened my eyes to Thrash Metal. 'Til then Guns'n'Roses was the heaviest thing I had enjoyed. I was 14 and on holiday with my family. My sister had brought along her Discman and a few Metallica CD's, she is older and got into them before me. I heard Fight Fire with Fire and I couldn't get over the way the nice classical intro blew up into the thrashiest riff in history. I kept rewinding the intro again and again. Later I fully appreciated that song for the great soloing and intense drumming. With a lot of flair Lars throws in tight licks and fills. I love the small but unbelievably intense double bass drum breakdown in this song, and it was the first time Lars had shown his new found drumming talents, and his amazing double bass pedaling ability (Lars had drum lessons after Kill 'Em All to iron out some flaws. This is when he started to truly develop his own style). The monotone vocals on this track are incredibly menacing and add so much to the song. One of James' best vocal performances. 

The thunder of this first track rolls straight into the intense grind of Ride the Lightening. The first riff is like an evil march straight into a groovy grinding fury of a song. Guilty as charged... Another classic Metallica song. The vocals again sound so pained and distressed. The song then breaks down into the sweetest guitar solo you could imagine. The solo spans 1min32sec, about 22 bars of music and 6 different riffs, truly showing Kirk at his best.

Dong . . . . . dong . . . . . . hear the bell that starts a whole new generation of Metalheads banging their heads. Their first chunky song on record and it doesn't disappoint. Simple but effective drumming lays down the law and allows plenty of room for kick ass chord changes riffs, and lead from bass and guitar. Here there are spaces for Lars to lay down some fat as hell meaty drum licks. Sex.

Fade To Black is another first, their first Ballard. About suicide, the song seems to have two halves breaking into a more positive feel half way through. Is it positive though? At the end of the song your not sure to be honest and it leaves you wondering, but it sure has been an emotional trip.

Trapped under ice is another blistering journey, and again some sad sounding bluesy soloing over fast riffing. Great and what really defines this album.

Escape well what can you say...life's for my own to live my own way. That means sooo much to me and although many class this as an album filler, I disagree. It was said by the band that Lars and Kirk wrote it but made a pigs breakfast of it, so James had to intervene. Well still a very important song "see them try to bring the hammer down, no damn chains can hold me to the ground".

Creeping Death is another real classic. One of the favourites live for the crowd interaction, DIE DIE DIE it really defines Metallica as a band that can write crushing stomping riffs and mix it with fast innovative sections and great solos.

The Call of Ktulu was yet another first. Not including Pulling Teeth it was their first instrumental. Lots of great intelligent music. The music builds up and swirls around with crazy whahh bass filling in spaces in the guitar. It is a true musical journey and a great great piece. There are changes of speed and feel around every corner. It builds you up to a point with drums, guitar and bass beating out the rhythm which is a great ensemble figure. Then a break with an acoustic haunting guitar, the intro repeated, and a big classical drum announces the final crescendo and it builds and builds and you reach what is the end of a phenomenal album. PHENOMENAL.

Edward Glenn (Ed)

 

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