An album from the mid-80s which was arguably the era in which metal music came into its own,with Metallica leading the charge.
One of Metallicas best,it hits like a sledge hammer right from the opener.
With pounding drumbeats and killer guitar riffs that let you know your listening to a Metallica album.
Every track is a classic and the switch from thrash,pounding metal to slow balled that hits like a sledgehammer is seamless.
Listening to a Metallica album should be an exhausting experience and "ride the lightning" does not disappoint.
1984 is perhaps the pinnacle year as far as vintage heavy metal goes. From metal standards like Powerslave and Defenders of the Faith, to mainstream chart-toppers like Love at First Sting and Stay Hungry, and even extreme underground stuff like Morbid Tales and Don't Break the Oath, the year had more than its fair share of crucial albums. Despite the diversity of the music, 1984 was pretty much the last year before metal started to be categorized into different subgenres, so there was still a unity among metalheads. Perhaps the most important album of the year was Metallica's sophomore effort, Ride the Lightning. An extremely mature album that was just as ground-breaking as the previous year's Kill 'Em All, Metallica practically set the standard for metal's future and opened the doors to a flood of new, more intense acts, spearheading the still infantile thrash metal movement while borrowing heavily from metal's past and (at the time) present.
The songs here span the scope of pretty much all of metal's staple elements in those days as well as adding some innovations of their own. Opener "Fight Fire with Fire", an absolutely vicious thrasher (among the heaviest songs ever back then), is not really indicative of the album as a whole. Many of Metallica's signature songs appear here, such as the quintessential "For Whom the Bell Tolls". Not to mention the epic quasi-ballad "Fade to Black", (one of) metal's greatest depression/suicide song(s). it features arguably Kirk Hammett's best soloing on record; it really pushes the song into stratospheric levels of emotional power. Another highlight is "Creeping Death", a fan favorite that perfectly straddles the line between cutting-edge and classic. The lyrics inspired by The Ten Commandments are one of the first examples of literary references in metal (along with the aforementioned "For Whom the Bell Tolls") outside of Iron Maiden's discography. One could deduct points for band's usage of lingering Dave Mustaine riffs in the title track and the closing instrumental "The Call of Ktulu", but hey, if Led Zeppelin could get away with ripping off blues artists, one can't write off Metallica for using music written by one of their former bandmates.
The wide array of ideas does not make Ride the Lightning sound disjointed in the slightest. James Hetfield's crunchy guitar riffs and passionate, ever-so-slightly adolescent vocals keep things together nicely. The music may not be straight-ahead aggression the whole way through, but the album's reputation among thrash aficionados is increased simply because it was among the first albums to be considered "thrash metal" in the first place. Anthrax released their rudimentary debut Fistful of Metal in 1984, and Slayer hinted at their future glories in the Haunting the Chapel EP, as well, but neither of these were as widely available or frankly as accessible as this. Critics usually prefer the follow-up Master of Puppets for its magnum opus status and its ubiquity in the metal/music world, but many fans prefer Ride the Lightning for its darker, rawer production values and the generally leaner song structures. In fact, comparing the track order of these two albums, it becomes clear that Master of Puppets effectively used Ride the Lightning as a musical blueprint, as the similarities in sequencing between the two are striking at times. Whichever you prefer, you can't go wrong with metal albums as monumental as this.