The Angry Scotsman
An album of progression for Metallica, this was a step from the pure thrash of Kill Em All and one towards more complex and composed music. It is still thrashy, and can be much thrashier than Kill Em All! Unlike KEA which can get a bit dull with it simple open E string tremolo picking, and power choards, Ride the Lightning is a bit more complex with its riffing which is not only nice, but makes it more intense. Of course there is Lars' simple, (though effective enough) drumming, Cliff's bass playing which can be good but honestly mirrors the guitar really, (I noticed he often played the role of musician and not virtuoso) and James' scruffy vocals.
Fight Fire With Fire. Starts off differently from KEA but throws us into some intense thrash. Good riffing, and Kirk's decent but unspectacular solos. Vocals can be a tad annoying at times.
Ride the Lightning. A good mid tempo song, at least for a while. Song has some decent variation.
For Whom the Bell Tolls. A slower song, this is one of those really good Metallica songs that does not get too much talk. Not the most technical/complex but it is very well constructed. More musical and well composed then technical and mind blowing. Really good.
Fade to Black. My favorite song on the album. More than that, it is my favorite Metallica song. Yes. Take For Whom the Bell Tolls, but make it better. A slow, more ballady song that is wonderfully built. The flow is great. One of those songs where if I just lay back and absorb it, really gives me a chill. A beautiful heavy metal ballad, but not like those cheesy crap hair metal ones. Metallica's finest point.
Trapped Under Ice. Of course we have to have a good juxtaposition and go right into thrash after that. Metallica's album layout, (though not a big deal really) can be a bit bland and predictable. I mean 4th song ballad? Look out for that in the future... Anyway, this is a good thrashy song, filled with solos and a nice middle section to mix it up. Good, but honestly not anything special.
Escape. The worst song on the album. It's not that bad, but its certainly not real good. Simple, real simple song. A bit boring.
Creeping Death. Luckily, we rebound here. Good song layout with some pretty good riffing, some variation, well composed and some interesting music.
The Call of Ktulu. The last Mustaine song written, (at least in terms of making it onto albums) should be no surprise this song is quite complex and progressive. This 9 minute instrumental has some great dual guitar work, lots of clean guitar, long mellow (and fairly minimal) sections and has a real progression to it. No section A, B, A, B, C here. This song really feels like it moves. A challenging song, very well done!
This is very good album. It can be more intense then KEA ever was, it can be beautiful. This album was a step in the right direction for Metallica. A thrashy, complex, and well composed album. Trapped Under Ice and Escape are weak songs, and I usually don't bother to listen. Some parts can drag a bit. Standout tracks: For Whom the Bell Tolls, Call of Ktulu, and their Magnus Opus, Fade to Black.
Four and a Half Stars