Hey there, I'm thinking of getting myself a new guitar for playing metal, since my Strat is no good anymore. Both the ESP LTD EC-256 and the SCHECTER DAMIEN ELITE cost $399, so I don't know which one to get. Any recommendations?
All down to preference, man.
The Schecter has active pickups, the LTD has passive pickups.
The Schecter has a longer scale length, the LTD is shorter.
The Schecter is (roughly) strat shaped, the LTD is (roughly) les paul shaped.

Personally, I'd go for the Schecter because it has EMGs, a scale length I prefer and I prefer the shape. It's also better value with the hardware it has.

Most of it's up to personal preference though, so what do you prefer?
get your hands on both of them. I would lean to the EC as I like LP style guitars, the pickups have are coil tapped and having played one I thought it felt quite nice, on the other hand I have not yet found a schecter that I liked the neck on - not that I have tried them all - but the ones I have picked up in stores have for the most part turned me off the brand - but you may love them.

To me this dude hit on the head, for the price point to me you are getting a lot more guitar. Just my opinion.
Schecter, the Damien Elites are quite nice I have a Damien Elite 7 with EMG 81/85 I it is great!
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

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If you want a Les Paul shape then consider the Damien Solo Elite too, pretty much the same guitar just the Solo shape.

I own one and have played and almost bought the Ltd, I'd pick the Schecter out of the 2, mainly for the EMG's but they both play fantastic.
Definitely considering getting an LTD EC-401 in the future
To me there is always something awkward about Schecter guitars, the shape and the tone and the neck is uncomfortable. I recently got a LTD M-1000 used @ $350 and am very happy with the purchase. Maybe also look at Ibanez - I like their necks and trems the best in that price range but can't stand the pickups which could be upgraded down the line.