8 Songs, 47 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Over the course of the eight tracks on Ride the Lightning the listener can detect the beginnings of the cataclysmic shift occurring in metal. Opening with the punishing combination of “Fight Fire With Fire” and “Ride the Lightning,” Metallica provide an immediate reminder of why they are the reigning kings of thrash metal, but with the slow, steamrolling riff of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” it becomes clear that the band is growing beyond the speed metal parameters of Kill ‘Em All. Their ambition is confirmed by “Fade to Black,” a ballad that refuses to sacrifice attitude for sentiment. To reiterate for their fans that they weren’t going soft, the second side of Ride the Lightning is lined with three of the band’s most devastating jolts: “Trapped Under Ice,” “Escape,” and “Creeping Death.” The album ends with “The Call of Ktulu,” an intricate eight-minute epic that points the way towards Master of Puppets and …And Justice For All. Ride The Lightning proved Metallica were more than the American metal movement’s brightest stars — they were now its leaders.

Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Over the course of the eight tracks on Ride the Lightning the listener can detect the beginnings of the cataclysmic shift occurring in metal. Opening with the punishing combination of “Fight Fire With Fire” and “Ride the Lightning,” Metallica provide an immediate reminder of why they are the reigning kings of thrash metal, but with the slow, steamrolling riff of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” it becomes clear that the band is growing beyond the speed metal parameters of Kill ‘Em All. Their ambition is confirmed by “Fade to Black,” a ballad that refuses to sacrifice attitude for sentiment. To reiterate for their fans that they weren’t going soft, the second side of Ride the Lightning is lined with three of the band’s most devastating jolts: “Trapped Under Ice,” “Escape,” and “Creeping Death.” The album ends with “The Call of Ktulu,” an intricate eight-minute epic that points the way towards Master of Puppets and …And Justice For All. Ride The Lightning proved Metallica were more than the American metal movement’s brightest stars — they were now its leaders.

Mastered for iTunes
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Ratings and Reviews

4.9 out of 5
560 Ratings
560 Ratings
JRok25

One of Metallica's best ever

I have been listening this album the better part of the last 20 years. It is a classic in the thrash/speed metal genre. If you know this genre than you know that Metaliica always had their own style and could not be imitated. No other band in that genre ever came close to the originality of Metallica. Metallica did their own thing and never compromised or listened to anyone else. They made it the way they wanted it. It was just the nature of James. Not sure if this is still true I think they still do their own thing. I really do not care for the newer stuff but some bands evolve beyond what they originally were. I still have total respect for them even though I like to complain about the new stuff.

Okay every song on here is a classic and "Fade to Black" always moved me in a way no other song has. It is not a pretty song but it is raw and adulterated and just pure emotional genuis. The song is beautiful song and goes beyond thrash/speed metal into different territory a place Metallica has visited on many albums. I guess in a way these are sort of metal ballads that are much more darker than the ballads of the typical hair glam metal bands of the eighties. It is similiar in that eveyone gets out theirs lighters when they play it live.

I would say standout songs are also "Ride the Lightning", "Creeping Death", "For Whom the Bell Tolls", and "The Call of Ktulu" (an ode to the famous horror master HP Lovecraft). This was to be the first reference to Cliff Burton's love of this author with Master of Puppets's "The Thing that should not be" being the second.

Classic Metal that any metal fan most likely already owns. If you are a true metalhead that is.

bluedemon218

The Blue Print for Future Albums

When it comes down to it, Ride the Lightning is, beginning to end, one of Metallica's best recorded endeavors. If there is such thing as a near perfect metal album, this is pretty close to it.

CalaveraJ

Yet another piece of perfection from the boys in Metallica.

Not quite as heavy as Kill Em All or Master of Puppets. Little more melodic. Just as epic.

Play For Whom the Bell Tolls at the loudest volume you can take. Enjoy.

J

About Metallica

American quartet Metallica were one of the most influential heavy metal bands of the '80s and '90s, inspiring generations of rockers with their early thrash and later hard rock sounds before settling into their roles as a popular legacy act in the 2000s. Responsible for bringing the metal genre back to earth, the bandmates looked and talked like they were from the street, shunning the usual rock star games of metal musicians during the mid-'80s pop-metal renaissance. Metallica also expanded the limits of thrash, using speed and volume not for their own sake, but to enhance their intricately structured compositions. The release of 1983's Kill 'Em All marked the beginning of the legitimization of heavy metal's underground, bringing new complexity and depth to thrash metal. With each album, the band's playing and writing improved; James Hetfield developed a signature rhythm playing that matched his growl, while lead guitarist Kirk Hammett became one of the most copied guitarists in metal. To complete the package, Lars Ulrich's thunderous (yet complex) drumming clicked in perfectly with Cliff Burton's innovative bass playing.

After releasing their masterpiece Master of Puppets in 1986, tragedy struck the band when their tour bus crashed while traveling in Sweden. Burton died in the accident. When the band decided to continue, Jason Newsted was chosen to replace Burton; two years later, the band released the conceptually ambitious ...And Justice for All, which hit the Top Ten without any radio play and very little support from MTV. But Metallica completely crossed over into the mainstream with 1991's Metallica, a self-titled effort that found the band trading in its long compositions for more concise song structures. Peppered with hits like "Wherever I May Roam" and "Enter Sandman," it resulted in a number one album that sold over seven million copies in the U.S. alone. To support the record, Metallica launched a long tour that kept the musicians on the road for nearly two years.

By the '90s, Metallica had changed the rules for all heavy metal bands; they were the leaders of the genre, respected not only by headbangers, but by mainstream record buyers and critics. No other heavy metal band has ever been able to pull off such a feat. However, the group lost a portion of its core audience with its long-awaited follow-up to Metallica, 1996's Load. The album moved the band toward alternative rock in terms of image -- the bandmembers cut their hair and had their picture taken by Anton Corbijn. Although the album was a hit upon its summer release, entering the charts at number one and selling three-million copies within two months, certain members of the Metallica fan base complained about the shift in image, as well as the group's decision to headline the sixth Lollapalooza. Re-Load, which combined new material with songs left off the original Load record, appeared in 1997; despite poor reviews, it sold at a typically brisk pace and spun off several successful singles, including "Fuel" and "The Memory Remains." Garage Inc., a double-disc collection of B-sides, rarities, and newly recorded covers, followed in 1998. Metallica's take on Bob Seger's "Turn the Page" helped maintain their presence in the charts, and the band continued its flood of product with 1999's S&M, which documented a live concert with the San Francisco Symphony. It debuted at number two, reconfirming the group's immense popularity.

Metallica spent most of 2000 embroiled in controversy by spearheading a legal assault against Napster, a file-sharing service that allowed users to download music files from each other's computers. Aggressively targeting copyright infringement of their own material, Metallica notoriously had over 300,000 users kicked off the service, creating a widespread debate over the availability of digital music that raged for most of the year. In January 2001, bassist Jason Newsted announced his amicable departure from the band. Shortly after the band appeared at the ESPN Awards in April of the same year, Hetfield, Hammett, and Ulrich entered the recording studio to begin work on their next album, with producer Bob Rock lined up to handle bass duties for the sessions (meanwhile, rumors swirled of former Ozzy Osbourne/Alice in Chains bassist Mike Inez being considered for the vacated position). In July, Metallica surprisingly dropped their lawsuit against Napster, perhaps sensing that their controversial stance did more harm than good to their "band of the people" image. That same summer, the band's recording sessions (and all other band-related matters) were put on hold as Hetfield entered an undisclosed rehab facility for alcoholism and other addictions. He completed treatment and rejoined Metallica as they headed back into the studio in 2002 to record St. Anger, which was released in mid-2003.

The recording of St. Anger was capped with the search for a permanent replacement for Newsted. After a long audition process, former Ozzy Osbourne/Suicidal Tendencies bass player Robert Trujillo was selected and joined Metallica for their 2003-2004 world tour. The growing pains that the band experienced during the recording of St. Anger were captured in the celebrated documentary Some Kind of Monster, which saw theatrical release in 2004. Four years later, the band returned with Death Magnetic, an energized album that returned the band to its early-'80s roots. Former Slayer producer Rick Rubin helmed the album, having replaced the band's longtime producer Bob Rock, while Kirk Hammett (who was forbidden to play guitar solos on St. Anger) peppered the record with metallic riffs and frenetic solos.

Death Magnetic spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard charts and the group supported it with an extensive international tour that included a festival gig with Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax. Metallica closed out their Warner contract with Death Magnetic -- outtakes from the sessions appeared as the Beyond Magnetic EP in late 2011 -- and while they were exploring their options, they struck up a collaboration with Lou Reed, releasing the ambitious, arty Lulu in the fall of 2011. In 2012, Metallica launched their own label, Blackened, which would be distributed by Universal; then, the following year, they announced the release of their second motion picture, Through the Never, which combined spectacular concert footage of them blasting through gems from their back catalog with a surreal road-trip odyssey starring Dane DeHaan. The film and its accompanying soundtrack album were released in September 2013. Over the next few years, Metallica played the occasional high-profile concert as they worked on a new studio album. In 2016, the band launched a series of expanded reissues, starting with deluxe editions of Kill 'Em All and Ride the Lightning. These reissues were the preamble to the November release of Hardwired...To Self-Destruct, a double-album that was the band's first new music in eight years. Produced by Greg Fidelman, James Hetfield, and Lars Ulrich, Hardwired...To Self-Destruct debuted at number one throughout the world upon its November 2016 release. The following year saw the group release a massive expanded edtion of their landmark 1986 LP, Master of Puppets. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Greg Prato

ORIGIN
Los Angeles, CA
GENRE
Metal
FORMED
1981

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