Sound — 10
This is Metallica's second album, and comes between Kill 'Em All and Master of Puppets in chronology. In a way, this album bridged the gap between Kill 'Em All and Puppets because it pushed the fast thrash metal of Kill 'Em All into a sort of progressive structure found on Puppets and ...And Justice For All. The entire album is heavy thrash metal, with added innovations like an instrumental ("The Call of Ktulu"). Ride The Lightning is a pinnacle of heavy metal music, and should not be overlooked. Many songs have different concepts, such as how the title track talks about the electric chair. The sound is a little more full than their debut, Kill 'Em All, but the midrange is still pretty scooped on the guitars. Every song has a guitar solo, in typical Metallica fashion. Overall, it comes fairly close to Puppets in sound. It also has a really cool album cover to boot.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics deal with many different topics, such as the apocalypse (Fight Fire With Fire), suicide (Fade to Black), or death by electrocution (Ride The Lightning). To me, the lyrics are very well written, and James Hetfield sings them well. I especially love how the depressing lyrics of "Fade to Black" fit with the overall depressing tone of the song. 01. Fight Fire With Fire - the song starts out with acoustics for about 35 seconds, and then swells into one of the fastest, heaviest riffs I've ever heard. Later on in the song Kirk Hammett launches into a completely mental guitar solo. Discusses the apocalypse. 02. Ride The Lightning - this song covers the topic of death in the electric chair. Some really great riffs here, and a jaw-dropping solo courtesy of Mr. Hammett. 03. For Whom The Bell Tolls - this is a classic, right here. Takes a little over two minutes for the vocals to start. The outro guitar solo as the song fades is bizarre, but it's still pretty cool. 04. Fade To Black - this song suggests a story of man contemplating and eventually commiting suicide. This is one of Metallica's classic songs, and combines elements of both acoustic and electric guitars. The guitar solos are awe-inspiring here. 05. Trapped Under Ice - this song is pretty fast, and it's really thrashy. Discusses the topic of being trapped under ice. I wonder why? It's about four minutes long. 06. Escape - this is actually a pretty catchy song. This four and a half minute song is probably the low point of the album for me, though. 07. Creeping Death - another Metallica trademark. Very thrashy, very good song. This is written from the point of view of the Plague of the Firstborn. Type it into Wikipedia to learn more. Awesome guitar solo, and the "Die!" chants follow shortly after. One of my favorites from this album. 08. The Call Of Ktulu - Metallica's first instrumental, almost nine minutes long. The intro is very cool, but is a little too long. To make up for that, there are some great guitar solos on this track. Closes the album in a dramatic way.
Overall Impression — 10
This album comes very close to Master of Puppets, but I don't think that album can be topped. Just about the whole album is impressive to me. As with Master of Puppets, there really isn't anything to dislike. If it were stolen or lost, I would immediately buy it again. If you are a metal fan, this is a must-own.