TITLE: Ride the Lightning
YEAR RELEASED: 1984
CHART ACTION: #100 US, #87 UK
SINGLES: Creeping Death
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The really famous ones are From Whom the Bell Tolls and Fade to Black
LINEUP: James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Cliff Burton, Lars Ulrich
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A big leap forward in sophistication and chops from their debut, and yet it still thrashes and kicks ass. Production still a slight issue.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: You could tell that Metallica was going to have a leap forward based on some tracks on Kill ‘Em All. I don’t think many suspected that it would result in this leap forward.
While the production is still a bit muddy, the songs and arrangement are much more sophisticated and complex than the simpler thrashy songs on their debut. The band seemed to lock into place and weren’t all galloping ahead at full speed. Thus the interplay between instruments is greatly improved.
Hetfield’s still screamy shouty and not singing really, but this music doesn’t need a singer who’s trying to get the exact pitch every time. The energy he puts into the songs carry it through and even on the slower songs like “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “Fade to Black” he fits.
I don’t think there’s any way they could have done half of these songs in 1983. By 1984, they rolled them out without a hitch.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was recorded in Denmark, and released on an independent label at first. Elektra soon snapped them up when Metallica was upset with the promotion of the album and re-issued it for the masses. Cha-ching!
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with two live tracks
GRADE: A: I know that some fans say this is the best Metallica record, but the production is still slightly problematic. At any rate, go bang that head!