Sound — 9
In my opinion, Metallica's second release is even more amazing than their debut: "Kill 'Em All". One reason for that, is the fact that it's significantly heavier in terms of guitar tones, but at the same time, the majority of the songs are softer & slower-paced (like "Fade To Black"). The songs have a much darker feel and the soloing reaches new heights in this one. "Ride The Lighning" proved to be a new edge that Metallica turned out that seemed a bit of a shock to fans of Kill 'Em All. One track that will always stand out for instance, is the epic-sounding "The Call Of Ktulu", which is a 9-minute instrumental piece that is very well composed and has a lot of variation. However, it was almost like a segue that allowed for them to release their follow-up album "Master Of Puppets", which at the time proved to be their heaviest album to date.
Lyrics — 10
James pulls off some better-sounding vocals than "Kill 'Em All" (although "Kill 'Em All" didn't really have excellent vocal performances in the first place). The songs have a more chilling feel when compared to "Kill "Em All" as well. The songs deal a lot more with death and lost hope (Fade To Black & Trapped Under Ice) and of course, the destruction of planet earth (Fight Fire With Fire). The music is as well-written as the lyrics, so this album proved to be very full sounding (especially with the epic, outro-instrumental "The Call Of Ktulu").
Overall Impression — 9
This album is very classic and goes very well with rest of their first few albums (as in up until 1991's "Metallica"). However, when played in contrast to "Kill 'Em All", it's very obvious that on "Ride The Lightning", a lot of the thrash elements of Metallica's first impression were dropped, which is pretty much the only downfall of this album, as well as a bonus; proving Metallica is capable of playing with a metal sound & style that isn't confined to just thrash. My favourite tunes on this one are definitely "Creeping Death", "Fade To Black" (of course), the title track, and the grand instrumental finale to "Ride The Lightning": "The Call Of Ktulu". I was lucky to find a used copy of this album (in almost perfect condition) and paid only 2 bucks for it! So you can be sure that I wouldn't hesitate to replace this album if something happened to it (even if I had paid full price)!