METALLICA — Ride the Lightning — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of

METALLICA - Ride the Lightning cover
4.44 | 241 ratings | 19 reviews
Buy this album from MMA partners

Album · 1984

Filed under Thrash Metal


1. Fight Fire With Fire (4:44)
2. Ride the Lightning (6:32)
3. For Whom the Bell Tolls (5:09)
4. Fade to Black (6:49)
5. Trapped Under Ice (4:04)
6. Escape (4:22)
7. Creeping Death (6:36)
8. The Call of Ktulu (8:44)

Total Time: 47:03


- James Hetfield / Rhythm Guitar & Vocals
- Kirk Hammett / Lead Guitar
- Cliff Burton / Bass
- Lars Ulrich / Drums

About this release

Label: Elektra Records
Release date: August 15th, 1984

Fin Costello: Photography
Anthony D. Sommella: Photography
Robert Hoetink: Photography
Bob Ludwig: Mastering
Harald Oimoen: Photography
Mark Whitaker: Producer
Dave Mustaine: Songwriting (tracks 2, 8)
Flemming Rasmussen: Producer, Engineering, Mixing
Pete Cronin: Photography
Rick Brackett: Photography

Recorded and mixed at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark during the spring of 1984.
Mastered at Frankford Wayne in New York City, New York.

Thanks to metalbaswee, UMUR, diamondblack, Unitron for the updates


More places to buy metal & METALLICA music


Specialists/collaborators reviews

Canonically among the greatest Metal albums of all time, Ride the Lightning took the Thrash from Kill Em All and, at the expense of some speed and energy, added superb songwriting, lyricism, and a wide range of emotions and moods. In fact, one of the things that makes Ride the Lightning so good is that anyone can enjoy it – you don’t have to be a Thrash fan or even a metalhead to appreciate the fantastic musicianship of the title track, or the emotional weight of “Fade to Black.” Still my favorite Metallica album, Ride the Lightning has stood the test of time for music fans of all kinds.
As much of a masterpiece as Master of Puppets is, Ride the Lightning is the band's greatest work and one of the greatest pieces of music ever recorded. This entire album works like a symphony, opening up with the immortal beauty of the classical guitar and ending with a long instrumental that takes you to another world. This was also the first Metallica album I ever heard, and I was blown away when I first heard the classical guitar run straight into the crushing barrage of machine-gun riffing that is "Fight Fire with Fire" which perfectly flows right into the striking title track.

Fade to Black is one of metal's finest ballads, For Whom the Bell Tolls starts the trend of the band's heavy stomps like The Thing That Should Not Be. Even the less talked about songs like Trapped Under Ice and Escape are fantastic. Can't get much more classic than this.
Vim Fuego
In the most famous of Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea’s paradoxes, the great hero Achilles raced a tortoise, who we shall call Trevor. Being a cocky bastard, Achilles gave Trevor a huge head start, figuring he would overtake him quicker than Zeus could zap a smart arsed atheist. So off they went. Achilles arrived at where Trevor had started, but of course the tortoise had moved. So quick as a flash, Achilles reached the point where Trevor had moved to, but the bugger had moved on again, so, Achilles kept on running. Each time Achilles caught up to where Trevor had been, Trevor had moved.

After a few hours of covering ever decreasing fractions, Achilles still hadn’t caught up and had pulled his Achilles. Trevor turned around and gave the limping and confused Achilles the finger, and carried on his paradoxical way, looking forward to going to the pub and telling all his tortoise mates how he’d beaten the mighty Achilles, and given philosophers and mathematicians alike a thumping headache. Unfortunately for Trevor, an eagle called Aetós thought Trevor looked tasty, swooped down and picked him up. Eagles aren’t particularly bright, but even they know a tortoise is a bit hard on the beak, so Aetós dropped Trevor on what he thought was a rock, but turned out to be the bald head of Aeschylus the playwright, killing him instantly, and allowing Trevor to escape uneaten.

And that is how Trevor the tortoise fucked philosophy, mathematics, literature, mythology, and an eagle all in one day.

If you remember back the the beginning of the story though, this is supposed to be about Metallica’s “Ride The Lightning”, and you may be wondering what the fuck a bunch of Greeks and a lucky bastard of a tortoise from two and a half millennia ago have to do with a 1984 thrash metal album. It may seem an incredibly long bow to draw, but just imagine Trevor is Metallica, Achilles is every other metal band in the world, and “Ride The Lightning” is the proof of the paradox in question. The crux of the matter is, just when other bands thought they were catching up with Metallica, Metallica had moved on to another level. No matter how far or fast those other bands moved, Metallica was still in front, even if by just a fraction.

Doing a detailed song by song analysis of “Ride the Lightning” is a bit pointless, because it’s so well known by metal fans, and if you’re not a fan, you’re probably not going to bother listening to it anyway. So instead, here’s a superficial analysis.

1. “Fight Fire With Fire” is about nuclear war, and there are claims it was the fastest thrash metal song in the world at the time. It could well have been, but there were a few underground bands playing faster in pure beats-per-minute. “Fight Fire With Fire” is a shitload better than any of those.

2. “Ride The Lightning” is about someone facing the electric chair, a little like the condemned man facing the gallows in Iron Maiden’s “Hallowed Be Thy Name”. It’s a place not to be.

3. “For Whom The Bell Tolls” is based on Ernest Hemmingway’s Spanish Civil War novel of the same title. It’s a fucking good read. Also, Cliff Burton played the intro on his bass, which is awesome.

4. The suicide note song “Fade To Black” was Metallica’s first shot at a power ballad, and they got it spot on. It showed power ballads could remain powerful (see that, Motley Crüe, Tesla, Poison, Extreme, etc?) It laid the foundation for subsequent power ballads like “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”, “One” and “The Day That Never Comes”.

5. “Trapped Under Ice” is about awakening from a state of cryonic suspension. It was the first song on side two, when such a thing actually meant something.

6. This album is seven masterpieces, and “Escape”. It’s James Hetfield’s least favourite Metallica song. Given that the band have produced numerous musical atrocities among their bounty of metallic and hard rocking diamonds, that is saying something.

7. “Creeping Death” was inspired by the plague of the death of the firstborn, from Exodus 12:29, for those of a biblical bent. Coincidentally, the famous “Die” chant was written by Kirk Hammett while he was still in Exodus.

8. The title "The Call of Ktulu" was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s Chthulu, but the different spelling made pronunciation easier. The reworking of this classical influenced song was the only good track on S&M, and deservedly won a Grammy in 1999.

So yeah... “Ride The Lightning” redefined what thrash metal was, is, and could be. Metallica bettered it once, or perhaps twice, depending on how you view subsequent albums. Every other band in the genre since has either tried, and failed, to match it, or seen sense and realised they couldn’t.
siLLy puPPy
Welcome to Thrash-terpiece Theater!

On today’s episode, the very first entry in the timeline is the prodigious second offering RIDE THE LIGHTNING by the 1980s thrash-sters of the universe: METALLICA! This album was released all the way back in 1984. George Orwell didn’t see this one coming! While the exact beginning of thrash metal has remained elusive with some claiming it appeared as early as 1974 on Queen’s “Stone Cold Crazy” with elements appearing in the works of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and ultimately bands like Venom and Anthrax, it isn’t hard to pinpoint just exactly where all those metal attributes that would constitute a new metal subgenre would coalesce into the perfect storm. METALLICA are the winners with their outstanding collection of eight tracks that they blended with a brilliant mix of rapid percussion, shredding crunchy riffs, speed of light tempo, pure metal attitude all topped off with classical music underpinnings to create a melodic distortionfest of epic proportions.

RIDE THE LIGHTNING was only METALLICA’s second album but a huge improvement in about every way. While “Kill Em All” certainly mastered the art of thrash riffing, pummeling rhythms and not-a-middle-finger-left-to-give attitude, the album was clearly lacking the melodic nuances that were introduced on this one. RIDE THE LIGHTNING offers up all the thrash deliciousness and aggressive fury but adds a healthy dose of diverse dynamics and a major expansion beyond the one-dimensional approach of the debut. Not only are there classical guitar arpeggiated chords that serve as intros and more progressive songwriting techniques but there was also a major leap in the philosophical lyrical content with more thoughtful subject matter as heard on the classic “For Whom The Bell Tolls” which was entirely inspired by the Ernest Hemingway novel about the horrors of the Spanish Civil War,” which brilliantly begins with the tintinnabulation of bells as the guitar riffs slowly build up in intensity until it becomes a fully formed thrash behemoth.

“Fight Fire With Fire” begins the album’s magic with a classical clean guitar arpeggio that must have thrown fans of the first album for a loop and then ruthlessly and suddenly bursts into full thrash fury that sets the pace for the entire run of the album and a testament to the more mature songwriting on track one only continues through the eight outstanding tracks that make up this musical chef-d’oeuvre. “Fade To Black” debuted the softer side of METALLICA where they created perhaps one of the very first thrash ballads that begins with an acoustic guitar intro that would become a distinct METALLICA staple that would decorate future releases (such as “Welcome Home” or “One”.) The technique of a softer intro followed by a harder edged sound was nothing new in the greater world of rock and metal, but METALLICA successfully tackled the dilemma of how to make it happen in the burgeoning world of extreme metal.

As the album churns on delivering one catchy melodic tour de force after another with such thrash classics as “Trapped Under Ice” and “Escape,” the true cream of the crop actually comes towards the end with the combo effect of the Biblical inspired “Creeping Death” which lambastes the listener with tales of Egyptian plagues in cahoots with the ultimate instrumental closer in the form of “The Call Of Ktulu.” This final juggernaut is really the display of musical brilliance in action and a perfect display of sound dynamics, tempos, time signature changes and the fusion approach of both classical music with hardcore heavy metal. The many moods that are contained in the nearly nine minute run also display the progressive rock influences that would continue to develop into ever more complex tracks on future albums.

James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Cliff Burton and Lars Ulrich didn’t only create the world’s first bona fide thrashterpiece, they also hurled the entire extreme metal world into a much larger audience that allowed the genre to grow exponentially until METALLICA themselves would burst onto the world’s stage as one of the biggest metal bands in history. RIDE THE LIGHTNING isn’t only important from a historical standpoint. I can respect an album’s influence and still not find it a terribly interesting listen. On this album all of the ingredients on board are perfectly blended together with stellar songwriting, flawless performances and exemplary examples of how to blend disparate musical genres into a seamless whole. METALLICA took the extreme metal world by storm with this one and single handedly opened the doors to the endless stream of bands to follow. While i do prefer “Master Of Puppets” and “And Justice For All” for their increased progressive complexities, RIDE THE LIGHTNING has the perfect raw metal energy from the debut mixed with just enough of the new ideas to put this in its own little transitional state of perfection.

This concludes today’s episode of Thrash-terpiece Theatre. Please tune in again.
It's hard to believe how much Metallica's music had matured within a year of their debut album ‘Kill 'Em All’. With plenty of clean guitars and intricate harmonies, this is a band that has grown tighter and stronger as time went by. James Hetfield seems to be more confident as a singer here, and the band all-round seem a lot more comfortable with where they are headed musically. The lyrics are better thought out and the songwriting as a whole is a lot more complex and established than what we heard on their previous record.

Though some of these songs are instant classics, such as ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’, ‘Fade to Black’, ‘Creeping Death’ and ‘The Call of Ktulu’, there are still a couple of tracks lingering around to fill up space, in particular, 'Trapped Under Ice' and 'Escape'. A fact shown true by the band themselves, who never play these songs live. And let's be honest here, is there anyone who can actually claim that their favourite Metallica song is ‘Trapped Under Ice’? Didn't think so.

With that said, the odd filler or two do not take away any momentum from the album, which flows smoothly all the way to the end. One of the biggest heavy metal albums of all time, there’s enough diversity here that non-metal fans may even like what they hear.
Showing an incredible degree of musical development over the comparatively simplistic Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning sees Metallica exorcise the ghost of Dave Mustaine from their sound and establish their own technically proficient brand of thrash. Not afraid to incorporate the occasional quiet, gentler moment into the music, as on Fade to Black, the album finds the band less interested in empty metal posturing as on its predecessor and filled with confidence. And they have plenty to be confident about, with all-time thrash classics like The Call of Ktulu, Creeping Death, and the title track under their belt. Simply put, this is essential metal.
"Ride the Lightning" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US thrash metal act Metallica. The album was released in August 1984 by Elektra Records. After the success of their debut album "Kill ´em All (1983)" the band was expected to release something equally groundbreaking with their second album and "Ride the Lightning" is indeed a big step forward for Metallica in every possible way. Rather than staying in the US to record the album Metallica went to Denmark to record with prolific Danish producer Flemming Rasmussen (Blind Guardian, Morbid Angel among others) at the Sweet Silence studios on Amager (an island outside Copenhagen). Three singles were released with the album in "Fade to Black", "Creeping Death" and "For Whom the Bell Tolls". The album has at this moment in time sold more than 5 million copies in the US alone. It´s noteworthy that former guitarist Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) is credited for co-writing the two tracks "Ride the Lightning" and "The Call of Ktulu" which suggests that those songs (or parts of the songs) were written even before the release of "Kill ´em All" (apparently The Call of Ktulu was featured on an early demo called "When Hell Freezes Over").

The music on "Ride the Lightning" is a lot more sophisticated than the music on "Kill ´em All" and it´s a lot more varied too. The layered guitar work is impressive and innovative, the songs are cleverly composed with more than a few twists and turns and with an improved sound production too "Ride the Lightning" actually comes off as a rather mature effort by a band that were still very young. Regarding the sound production it´s very strong for the time. The production is way ahead of it´s time IMO and I can´t seem to recall any other thrash metal album from that early in the eighties which featured such a professional sound production.

The three songs chosen as singles "Fade to Black", "Creeping Death" and "For Whom the Bell Tolls" are all thrash metal classics in my book and as far as I recall they´ve played those three songs every time I´ve seen Metallica live. The rest of the songs are strong compositions too (even though I don´t appreciate the awful staccato vocal rythm in the verse of "Fight Fire with Fire") but I don´t count any of them as classics. The instrumental "The Call of Ktulu" starts the tradition of long instrumental songs on Metallica´s eighties albums.

The level of musicianship has increased greatly since the debut and Kirk Hammet´s guitar solos are more varied and melodic this time around which is a great treat IMO. James Hetfield´s voice still sounds a bit imature but there is a notable difference between his performance on this album and his performance on the debut. Overall the band´s performance is tight and powerful.

"Ride the Lightning" spawned what I think of as three thrash metal classics and greatly increased Metallica´s popularity. It´s considered a seminal thrash metal album by many and rightly so. I still think there are a couple of tracks that aren´t on par with the best material on the album. Tracks like "Fight Fire with Fire", "Trapped Under Ice" and "Escape" aren´t exactly classics in my book and my rating drops slightly because of those tracks. Still a 3.5 - 4 star rating is warranted.
Ride the Lightning is one of those metal albums that in most circles is an undisputed classic. It’s undoubtedly a classic album, but there are a few factors that keep me from branding Metallica’s second album as an essential release.

The quality of the material on this album takes a bit of a dive towards the middle of the album, with the songs that I would consider as subpar being “Trapped Under Ice” and “Escape”. “Trapped Under Ice” is a rather thrashy tune that should please all simply wishing to bang their head at break-neck speed, but structurally this song always felt a bit jagged and rough around the edges. Not a terrible track by any means though. “Escape” is a rather odd track. The verse and chorus don’t sound like a match to me. This track was definitely not suited for the band’s style at that point. That being said, the intro riff is rather cool, and reminds me of Mercyful Fate.

As for the rest of the album? You won’t hear many complaints from me, other than the fact the instrumental “The Call of Ktulu” drags a bit towards the end, but is otherwise a fine composition. “Fight Fire With Fire” and the title track kick off the proceedings in glorious, thrashing fashion. The next two songs have deservedly become Metallica classics. “For Whom The Bell Tolls” is a testament to the power of a simplistic, spacious song, with an emphasis on heaviness and atmosphere over speed. “Fade to Black” was a departure from anything the band was known for at the time, but proved to be rather successful. Many thrash bands from this point onward would look here as inspiration on how to write a successful metal ballad. The album spawns a third classic track with “Creeping Death”, which contains some of the bands best riffing ever. The chorus is highly enjoyable as well, and the song always works well when performed live.

Ride the Lightning is a great album that I’d easily recommend.
If Metallica's debut had revealed only little of the direction Metallica was heading for, their sophomore effort leaves little room for doubt. Their intensity and harshness were maintained, but the band had become much more versatile in ways to express it.

The speedy opener Fight Fire with Fire stays true to the debuts method: loud, aggressive, fast, vicious and uncompromising. It's one of their best songs in this style, but Metallica's qualities lay in another direction. Where Megadeth and Slayer proved to be better contenders for speed and evil, Metallica had the knack to write big dramatic epics. They were not only authentic enough for thrash fans but also sufficiently catchy, musical and accessible to attract people from outside the inner circles of the metal underground.

Metallica learned an important lesson in the year since their debut. Metal isn’t just about aggression and speed but also about power and heaviness. Ride The Lightening achieves this by varying the edgy riffing with slower drum rhythms. For Whom The Bell Tolls goes even a step further and comes close to epic doom metal. Tony Iommi must have been proud hearing this one.

Fade To Black introduces acoustic guitars and quality balladry in the verses. A thundering chorus and great harmonic leads make it into another metal classic. Trapped Under Ice returns to the speed idiom of the first album. Escape is the odd one out on this album, it’s a catchy and almost anthemic hard rock tune with a great 70’s vibe despite the thrashy riffing.

If the previous onslaught of elevated metal wasn’t enough, Creeping Death adds another classic to the list. The album ends with the instrumental Call of Ktulu, a definite progressive moment. This isn’t just a succession of metal riffs or a jam with guitar solos. It’s a carefully crafted epic monster that goes through a number of developing themes with a distinct proggy feel. It won’t beat Rush’s Villa Strangiato for me but it has a similar feel.

The big arenas that Maiden was filling back then were lurking at Metallica’s horizon. Coming from the same year as Maiden’s Powerslave, I would have a hard time picking a 1984 metal favorite, but this is sure my Metallica fovorite.
A Thrash Metal Classic

With Ride the Lightning begins the best period in Metallica's history, which will last about two more studio albums. It's amazing how a band can mature so much only for a year. It's necessary a lot of talent to do such an achievement. After the debut album, which I consider as amateurish, Ride the Lightning can satisfy much more the musical fan. All songs are much better than on Kill 'Em All. The production and musicianship are of high quality. The genre is much more polished and pure thrash metal. The album consists of some classic Metallica's songs, including my favourite - The Call of Ktulu . The album contains a lot of progressive themes, that make big influence on future arising progressive metal genre. Surely above 4 stars, rounded up to 4,5 stars!

Members reviews

OK, I've been getting into A LOT of metal recently. In my younger days, like many other young peeps, my knowledge of Metallica was practically limited to The Black Album and a couple of singles from the earlier days like “Master of Puppets” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” I wasn't fully in tune with thrash. Well as I got more in-tune with thrash I had Master of Puppets ranked as the number 1 metal album of all time. But I didn't put in in my top 20 despite how much I love metal because I always considered it a little bit bloated. Well after a lot of personal growth and re-evaluation of my life, I also re-evaluated how I rate some music, especially metal.

At first I was NOT willing to give Ride the Lightning a spot above Master of Puppets (I even had And Justice for All ranked above it). Why? Simple. Puppets' production is much cleaner, the rhythms are more developed and progressive, and Metallica's style fully matured. After re-assessing myself, I realized that the big question was not “What's the best Metallica album,” but “what's the best METAL album?” If my metalcore phase taught me anything, it's that any type of production is acceptable depending on the situation. Let's be honest. Ride the Lightning's production but not be as clear as that of Puppet's, but it really is way more metallic. They obviously came a long way in that short one-year time when the were one of the best up-and-coming metal acts playing typical early thrash, and became the very band that defined thrash.

Believe it or not, my first encounter with Metallica's “Fight Fire with Fire” was not a pleasant one. Before I was used to the idea of thrash metal (or even heard of it for that matter), I would originally type the name in to look for a Kansas song. I wouldn't hear the actual album until four years later when I first started exploring music forums and charts. It would take a few years more for me to grow fully accustomed to the harshest side of metal, and that included death metal and black metal. I have Symbolic by Death to thank for that. It was the first death metal album I had ever heard and I gave it a 100/100 right then and there. The whole point of making this the opener is to give you an idea of how much power your exposing yourself to. By the time you're done with the album, you'll already be glowing blue. Da ba dee. I mean, after that soothing guitar solo at the beginning, you're dealing with BOOM BOOM BOOM! They don't call it “Ride the Lightning” for nothing! The way that atmosphere in the production works just makes it more metallic! Sure, the intro to the opener isn't as good as the one from Puppets, but it's overall a better song than “Battery.”

I have this crazy ability to instantly visualize any word I hear on a second nature level. I even visually freakin' “the.” It's pretty cool. So you can imagine the crazy imagery I got from “Ride the Lightning.” The varying visual interpretations of death range from hands made of lightning to the reaper with a sleek blue scythe (Sleek Blue Scythe should be my speed metal band name). And some of those solos are just mindblowing. The title track has the perfect balance between energy, melody and flat-out craziness.

I admit, I'm not so well emotionally connected to “For Whom the Bell Tolls” as many other Metallica fans are, but I'm not denying that it's one of the high points of an album loaded with high points. Taking a literally dramatic shift from the thrashing thunder of the gods, the early stages of the poetry that would be seen on Master of Puppets drives this song as much as the heavy metal melody. “Take a look to the sky just before you die, It is the last time you will. Blackened roar massive roar fills the crumbling sky, shattered goal fills his soul with a ruthless cry.” Edgar Allen Poe's getting owned here. Screw the talking raven (OK, that's my screamo band name). Much of Metallica's best "guitartistry" is boasted on “For whom the Bell Tolls,” each player doing their part to add their unique vibe to the aura and all work as well as any harmonized group while still being very creative.

Now we get to the crown jewel of Metallica's songs: “Fade to Black.” This was Metallica's first ballad, and it was recorded at a time when James Hetfield not only had some obsession with death, but had to deal with much of the band's equipment being STOLEN, including his favorite Marshall amp! Damn. As you can imagine, that helps set the mood for one of Metallica's most iconic songs. The poetry of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” continues as one of the most beautiful and emotional moods in all of power ballad history ends side B of this album. There's no need for crazy solos when you can feel the sadness touching you. How human can a song get? It does get heavier towards the end, but that's a Metallica staple right there. That doesn't stop Hetfield from delivering some of his most heartfelt vocals in his career.

Alright, the first half of side B is considered the weak point of Ride the Lightning, but what album doesn't have a weakness? I admit, I'm not in love with the intro to “Trapped Under Ice.” It slowly gets better until WEEDLY-WEEDLY-WEEDLY comes along, returning to the raw thunder of the first two songs! Even though it's more like one of the basic thrash songs like on Kill 'Em All, the Ride the Lightning energy is still there, never damaging the album's flow or consistency. I mean, come on. Is speed metal not the perfect subgenre to feature on a thrash album? Besides, for a song about literally being trapped under ice, the lyrics are really freakin' good. The song almost feels crossover-thrash-esque the way it rides on energy and quick reactions.

“Escape” is considered the worst song on the album, but I like the intro more than I like the intro of “Trapped Under Ice.” It's more rhythmic and true to the Metallica style. I think the problem here is that it's written more like a song from your average hard rock / heavy metal album instead of one of the first thrash albums. Maybe that actually works, considering that the roots of thrash come from acts like Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. Hell, I wouldn't mind a good Scorps cover. Besides, the song still rules overall. The solos are still great and the lyrics are still human and relatable.

“Creeping Death” is one that I find particularly interesting because of its lyrical content. As opposed to the satanism often showing in albums at that time, Metallica decided to write a song about the Angel of Death from the book of Exodus! Well, you gotta keep the concept strong somehow. Although the song is more formulaic to the thrash stereotype, the badassery is at its peak. “Creeping Death” is balanced out between Metallica's energy, sense of rhythm, and lyrical drive. Unlike every other song on the album, it doesn't rely on solos to make its mark because of its balance.

“The Call of Ktulu” is the closer, and the only instrumental on the album. This nearly nine-minute epic pretty much covers everything that was going on throughout the album but with a deeper sense of mystery than every other song. Starting out with that slightly creepy solo was the perfect way to go. Like other prog-infused epics of its time, it slowly gets heavier and relies on a clever collection of combined solos to make its mark on the album. I don't know about you, but I think that's a perfectly epic way to end such an incredible album.

It's so utterly weird when you finally catch on to why an album is so great, because a whole new world opens afterwards. Ride the Lightning opened up a whole new level of understanding in the world of thrash (and maybe metal) for me, and I plan on making the most of it. In my opinion, it's the single greatest example of metal in the world. It's atmosphere is flawless, the energy of the album is rivaled only by a select few like Pleasure to Kill by Kreator, and the theme and concept never suffer. In fact, Ride the Lightning is much better at delivering its concept (of death and humanity) than most albums are at delivering their own concepts. It goes without saying that Ride the Lightning is an indisputable essential for any metal collection, and I'm glad I love the album as much as I do now.
In comparison to the innovating but ultimately rather closed minded debut record, Metallica's Ride The Lightning is a big step forward for the band. In only one year, the band explored new terrain without abandoning its roots and went further than any other band of the genre at the same time. This album is a milestone and has not even lost a glimpse of its charm nowadays. Anybody that contests this is simply a disappointed hater that didn't like the direction this band would later take.

The classic introduction to the perfect opener "Fight Fire With Fire" is the first surprise and a very good idea to contrast the aggressive and powerful head banger. The band also developed its technical skills as the brilliant guitar solos in the title track "Ride The Lightning" easily prove. The legend goes even further with the atmospheric doom thrasher "For Whom The Bell Tolls" that sounds very inspiring to me. The half ballad "Fade To Black" proves for the first time that the band can write very emotional, insightful and calm songs and are not only a great thrash metal band. Each of the first four songs is completely unique, adds something new to the sound of the band and justifies the great reception and high rating of this milestone.

The second half of the record is only slightly weaker. "Trapped Under Ice" is a powerful but rather generic thrasher. "Escape" is a little bit slower and is rather a melodic heavy metal track with some thrash roots that sounds as if it was heavily inspired by the more melodic New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement. The song is catchy and less heavy than the other ones and could have been a great single output. "Creeping Death" has the high quality of the first half of the record and is another memorable moment of the thrash metal history and an unforgettable live classic. This song has a lot of power and emotion and convinces with its juvenile charm. "The Call Of Ktulu" proves that there are some great and often still underrated musicians in the band but the song has not the high class of the later instrumentals or the stunning uniqueness of Burton's memorable bass solo from the first output. It's still a pretty decent and diversified track that could please to fans of thrash, heavy and maybe even progressive metal without the glimpse of a doubt.

In the end, this great record deserves the legendary status it has today and is one of the biggest milestones of pure thrash metal. On this album, we can already detect that the band would go on a more diversified and experimental path in a few years and try out something new from time to time. This record unites the energy of the juvenile first years and the more complex experiments of the following records in a perfect way and should please to any Metallica fan as it is also easily in my top three albums of this band.
With Metallica's second album, I love how nice and mellow it starts on Fight Fire with Fire before it just kicks in and really destroys. Metallica really improved not just in sound but musicianship, songwriting and arranging on this one. The songs are 5x better than the previous which were pretty good too. They really gelled as a band at this time and really showed. This is probably my 2nd favorite Metallica album and for good reason. They really proved they could truly play and not just thrash all the time but could also have melody and slow down every once in a while. Overall, this is a phenomenal album and recommend this one as your start into Metallica. 5 stars. Highlights: Fight Fire with Fire, Ride the Lighting, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Fade to Black, Trapped Under Ice, Creeping Death and The Call of Ktulu
Metallica - Ride the Lightning (1984)

This thrash-metal album is perhaps my favorite of the genre. The sound of the band is amazing and the song-writing had become way more innovative and even melodic than on the debut. The albums has some metal-classics like For Whom the Bell Tolls, Fade to Black, Creeping Death and of course Metallica's first progressive metal epic The Call of Ktulu.

The rock'n roll and punk influences of the debut were excluded and a modern thrash metal sound saw the daylight on this album. Fight Fire with Fire is even pointed at as the beginning of the speed-metal genre. The musicianship is very strong, but the main ingredient of this album is still the memorable song-writing for me. Songs like For Whom the Bell Tolls and Fade to Black are very sticky and have an emotional impact. Another favorable element of the album is the fact it doesn't have a weak track.

Conclusion. A great thrash-metal album with some amazing song-writing and musicianship. The impact of tracks like Fade to Black and The Call of the Ktulu make this a special record within the genre. A very innovative and important record for the genre, but it also influenced the progressive metal quite a lot. Four and a halve stars.

Ratings only

  • avestin
  • BillsBaals99
  • morgoliath1
  • sensedatum
  • MagnusPrime
  • Bourbon
  • acidtoyman
  • karolcia
  • bobzor
  • gabalgabow
  • Modulator
  • NightBell
  • ssmarcus
  • Purple Haze
  • feagles76
  • MrMan2000
  • GWLHM76
  • Peacock Feather
  • Bloodred
  • Bogdanmime
  • gvra3
  • sploosh
  • dark2711
  • Jack Revelino
  • BitterJalapeno
  • MorniumGoatahl
  • Caio2112
  • barbacot
  • Train_Food
  • Tritone
  • Progulous
  • Fiyaskoyum
  • tapfret
  • MetalMachineMusic
  • ian
  • Olly
  • Daniel Wallace
  • tempest_77
  • kllytrrnc
  • pointandclick
  • Navajasso
  • angel3mil
  • focusedon
  • Charcaroth
  • luger7
  • Alex
  • PS-RagE
  • RetroMetalMan
  • TJS84
  • piccolomini
  • Fido73
  • Bojanthebest
  • contempt80
  • willprogresivo
  • The T 666
  • starlessabstract
  • airfish
  • Jone Souza
  • spacface
  • Seven Moons
  • ntfac43
  • DippoMagoo
  • michelandrade
  • wizz
  • TheHeavyMetalCat
  • Ozark Soundscape
  • serenitypaintedeath
  • titmo71
  • TerryDactyl
  • Necrotica
  • tsudduth24
  • Beyonder
  • Detal
  • nacho_F
  • powermetal2000
  • H-K
  • Losimba
  • prog61
  • Khabarov
  • cennsor
  • gmarques
  • StargazerSlave
  • aqualung
  • Pekka
  • Bosh66
  • shadowoffadream
  • ProgMetaller2112
  • theaterd
  • floflo79
  • aglasshouse
  • sepozzsla
  • Primeval Scum
  • KatiLily
  • Bartje1979
  • Kingcrimsonprog
  • Gabimm
  • Kingsnake77
  • bollotoral
  • jahkhula
  • joe2m
  • aecht
  • Plambil
  • milosshomi80
  • guitarherosucks
  • Tychovski
  • ArmsLikeChains
  • thesnowdog
  • butters
  • sauromat
  • Psydye
  • Invertigo
  • eet_fuk
  • Eria Tarka
  • ChaosAngel
  • 2ms2ms
  • chinkeche
  • Pintos
  • Daniel de Oliveira
  • leechburton
  • alice-in-chains4lyfe
  • Nightfly
  • silversaw
  • jsorigar
  • Jan
  • Hazy7868
  • yair010390
  • albertobevi
  • IMPF2112
  • Soul Dreamer
  • dev_lexthorm
  • Bubbix
  • Guitar Noir
  • IMPF
  • ninjames
  • jose carlos
  • enosis1924
  • diamondblack
  • stefanbedna
  • 2112ORR
  • Zombieman998
  • Kopetro
  • eduardofoxx13
  • HeadsOfTriglav
  • Mr. Krinkle
  • Woutjinho
  • Lostfloyd
  • progpostman
  • Sheavy
  • Hell0
  • F611
  • barchios
  • Diogenes
  • miguellangell
  • bassgeezer
  • jorgelog94
  • bonzomx
  • luanpedi
  • Earendil
  • cannon
  • Lokus
  • vikt73
  • 666sharon666
  • Pogonomy
  • mr.gonzoss
  • Coffin Joe
  • Time Signature
  • bartosso
  • Zargus
  • Xaxaar
  • Coracin
  • Paperbag
  • Vic
  • jakezz
  • Urs Blank
  • sjal
  • IndianaJones
  • Pablo
  • taco85
  • Tlön
  • Junkiemaxxx
  • kalacho
  • Colt
  • CCVP
  • Fantacide
  • adg211288
  • Menestrel
  • Triceratopsoil
  • spitf1r3
  • Metallica999
  • BlotOfScience
  • Double-D
  • spizzetti
  • bratus
  • hypnotiq916
  • religionnaire
  • earthworm
  • Metalbaswee
  • snowman1980
  • 2112nico
  • Phoenix87
  • Orizzonte
  • Kassimatis
  • Tupan
  • abdulbashur
  • caligula
  • ensiferum91
  • Anster
  • Razor
  • slow man
  • Jake Kobrin
  • MetalCritiX
  • Sleeper
  • progshine
  • JRuined
  • m@x
  • GregSalvador
  • xirb
  • NorseGangsta
  • ydewata

Write/edit review

You must be logged in to write or edit review


Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Paranoid Heavy Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
Buy this album from our partners
Rising Heavy Metal
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

Melodies Of Disharmony Sludge Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
A Journey Through Virtual Dystopia Metalcore
Buy this album from MMA partners
Hunters & Collectors Metalcore
Buy this album from MMA partners
Buy this album from MMA partners
Dark Superstition Death Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

Escuela Grind - Cliffhanger
Tupan· 1 day ago
More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions


Latest Metal News


More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us