Ride the Lightning review by Metallica

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  • Released: Jan 1, 1984
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.6 (1,750 votes)
Metallica: Ride the Lightning
0

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.

27 comments sorted by best / new / date

    bloodbath519
    Metallica fans are so dumb. Argue over which album is better? Who cares I have all there metal albums. And fade to black isn't that great unless you like slow songs and then why would you listen to metal.
    reignofrock
    I've always liked Metallica, but the one thing I don't like about them is how they are viewed as the best metal band ever... it's all an issue of opinion. I could probably name atleast 15 metal bands that are better, but I'm sure so can any real metal head. Metallica was revolutionary, but don't talk like they're Gods, Hammett was definitely not Satriani's best student, which already proves my point.
    ZCT {DYERS}
    Saintsatan wrote: Fade to bLack has nothing to do with suicide. It was written because their gear and James' favourite guitar got stolen.
    you're an idiot, YES it IS (in retrospect) about suicide
    RUSTDOGG666
    Yes this album is Real Metallica. Anyone giving this album below a ten is stupid. Fight Fire With Fire is an awesome way to intro the whole album and Ktulu is a great way to end it. Trapped Under Ice is an awesome thrash metal song. I give everyone of these songs a perfect ten. This is one of my favorite Metallica songs. Metallica did not die after Cliff Burton died I will disagree with that. Remember how good an album And Justice For All was? I do think there was some ignorant reviewers reviewing this album and giving it stupid low ratings that it did not deserve. They probably listen to Fake Metal anyways so whatever. They can go on thinking the wrong thing if they must.
    Slash 555
    I LOVE this album! It totally stared me off on metal and i still love it today
    451F
    Metallica fans are so dumb. Argue over which album is better? Who cares I have all there metal albums. And fade to black isn't that great unless you like slow songs and then why would you listen to metal.
    I swear, Metallica has nothing to do with Megadeth and the two should not be brought up in every question. I know that at one time, Dave Mustaine and blah-dy blah-dy blah, I get it, but as far as I'm concerned the two are practically equal and both have had times they were great and both had times when they were aweful. FTR: I like this album most, although my favorite song is off of Master of Puppets (Leper Messiah).
    xXChimairaXx
    Im disgusted with all these Megadeth posts. Just leave the two separate. They're both awesome, but everytime there's a Metallica article, some idiot has to start the war again....I just saw Metallica with Machine Head and they blew away all the Megadeth shows I've ever seen.
    MeTaLuPyOuRaRsE
    Well first of all lets clear up who was in the band at the time; James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Cliff Burton and Kirk Hammett. Was that hard? No, some people managed to say that Dave Mustaine was still in the band, and one reviewer even congratulated Jason for a piece of work he had nothing to do with (and yes I realise the contradiction in that as he had nothing to do with the albums he actually was in the band for). Regardless, I wanted to clear up who was in the band at the time and Dave and Jason were not. This is also a review for 'Ride the Lightning' not '...And Justice for All', which once again a reviewer managed to stuff up. Anyway, great album!! Metal up your ass!!
    RLucas
    I like Escape! Maybe because it was the first whole song I ever learned. Fade to Black and For Whom the Bell Tolls are my all time favs!
    Lord_of_Thrash
    MeTaLuPyOuRaRsE : Well first of all lets clear up who was in the band at the time; James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Cliff Burton and Kirk Hammett. Was that hard? No, some people managed to say that Dave Mustaine was still in the band, and one reviewer even congratulated Jason for a piece of work he had nothing to do with (and yes I realise the contradiction in that as he had nothing to do with the albums he actually was in the band for). Regardless, I wanted to clear up who was in the band at the time and Dave and Jason were not. This is also a review for 'Ride the Lightning' not '...And Justice for All', which once again a reviewer managed to stuff up. Anyway, great album!! Metal up your ass!!
    THANK YOU!
    Karlsteel
    "Take a look to the sky just before you die, IT'S THE LAST TIME YOU WILL" I love all the Metallica albums (well maybe not St.Anger, but I still like it. A bit), but I think this is the best. Fade to Black, Creeping Death and For Whom The Bell Tolls still sound amazing live, and even the 'filler' tracks like Escape and Trapped Under Ice are still miles above most other thrash bands. My personal favourite is the title track, because that riff is just so heavy and catchy. Without doubt a 10 - one of my top 3 favourites of all time.
    ZCT {DYERS}
    Wow, so many of these people completely blew off mentioning Cliff's unbelievable bass solo throughout The Call of Ktulu. Killing me man lol. Oh, and everyone who commented and proceeded to bash Fight Fire with Fire, stop listening to Metallica. Idiots.
    metalmagic!
    james' voice sounds kinda awkward in the first verse of ride the lightning. he sounds alot like mustaine at first.
    SabbathStoner
    No metal album can top this.....unless if your sabbath or ozzy, but this is truly Metallica's best.
    tamotots
    lol. to the guy that wrote the 4th review, you talk like you're the only guitarist here and everyone else writing review are not. don't forget you're on ultimate GUITAR.com
    guitarfreak222
    rubbert wrote: Metallica is dead now...
    Death Magnetic was an awesome thrash album! This album is my favourite metallica album.