Sound — 9
Ride the Lightning, the second album from thrash quartet Metallica, is a continuation of not only the Kill Em All metal formula, but an improvement on it predecessor in just about every aspect. Known for their metalic metal approach, Metallica makes a note worthy comeback in their second album. There's plenty of rapid low E 'chugga chugga' as well as some decent arpeggio and high neck solo work. Bound to appease classic thrash fans...
Lyrics — 8
Lyrically, this is simply metal. The album doesn't follow a specific lyrical theme, nor seems to bind itself to a general sense of emotion, save for plenty of darkness to accompany the heavy riff work. Vocally, Hetfield takes a bigger step away from the reverb-washed sound of Kill Em All, making improvements over the aforementioned album. However, compared to later releases, his voice is still kind of in that developement stage, which is to be expected considering this is only their second album. Still, nothing in particular stands out here, nor does anything put a knife to the throat of the album. In general, it's a good contribution.
Overall Impression — 9
Compared to arch enemy Megadeth's second release, Peace Sell But Who's Buying?, I tend to shy more towards Megadeth's release. Don't get me wrong, Ride the Lightning has its merits, but compared to the darker lyrical matter, as well and alternating guitar solo work, of Megadeth's album, this album lacks a bit. None the less, its still a very powerful and overall great thrash metal masterpiece. The intro track really draws the listener in with the clean channel solo work, then blasts you with a sonic wave of pure thrash intensity with which to ride through the entire album. The title track is also worth mention, the intro makes me want to bang my head instantly, and you can't hate on the lyrical work, which, while standard to metal, is pretty impressive in a poetic sense. I don't really have any specific dislikes for the album, save for the vocal work. Don't get me wrong, I love Hetfield, but I'm spoiled by the vocal work on later releases. It doesn't make it a bad album though. Would I suggest it to others? Definately. Its definately in my top 5 of thrash albums, and I nominate it a staple in any thrash fans discography.