One of Metallica‘s finest hours comes in the form of Ride the Lightning. The second studio album of Metallica‘s was recorded in Sweet Silence Studios, Copenhagen, Denmark, under producer Flemming Rasmussen. Shortly after producing this album, Metallica was hired by the label Elektra Records, who released the album in August of 1984.
Rumor has it that there’s a French green copy of the album that was mistakenly printed that are a rare collectors item. Another little tidbit of information is that this was the last album that Dave Mustane, former guitarist for Metallica who then went on to found Megadeth, was credited for co-writing a song.
The band members recorded on this album are James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Cliff Burton, and Kirk Hammett.
The album starts off with Fight Fire With Fire. I correct myself. The album starts off with a classical guitar playing a peaceful serenade that fades into a hair-on-the-back-of-your-neck tingling metal riff that explodes. Words cannot express the feeling one would get listening to this live, or for the first time, or really loud.
All of the above please.
Every song is a kick you in the balls kind of song. The thing about Metallica is that they give the impression of a giant wall of heavy metal coming at you. Their riffs are solid, not to excessive. They are clean, yet packed full with so much distortion grandmothers cringe and cover their ears.
Ride the Lightning, the title track, exhibits some more of those fast outbursts in the song, and the solo is out of this world. Solid background rhythm guitar set the stage for Kirk Hammett to pull out one of his characteristically epic guitar solos. Trust me, wait for it.
For Whom The Bell Tolls is one of my favorite songs by Metallica. I can remember hearing it and putting it on repeat for hours on that Woodstock ’94 album. The bell at the start just makes you know it’s epic. Something I’ve only ever heard before by AC/DC. The lead-in to this album is another piece of beautiful engineering.
The fourth song on the album is Fade To Black. It starts as a slow song that builds and builds until it reaches madness, then carries on.
Don’t worry, if you’re scared it can’t possibly get better, it does.
Who starts off a song with a solo? Metallica does. Just listen to Trapped Under Ice. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish a solo for Metallica, and what is just regular riffs. I cound 3 solos on this track, how many do you have?
Escape slows things down just a little bit with some crunching madness. The solo on this track is pure mind blowing madness, a characteristic one soon becomes accustomed to from Metallica. Yeh, there’s an air raid siren that goes off.
Creeping Death has a part at the start of the album that has always driven me wild. There’s this point after the obligatory intro where they pan the guitar to just one speaker as it’s breaking into the rest of the song, that’s finalized by a rolling drum beat. Ahh, pure metal heaven.
The album finishes off with The Call of Ktulu. It’s an instrumental that is incidentally the second song of the album that Dave Mustaine is credited in the co-writing, the first being Ride the Lightning. You may remember this song from Metallica’s S&M project. It was slightly re-written and won a Grammy for best rock instrumental performance in 2000.
I hope you enjoy Ride the Lightning as much as I do.