Metal Mofos‘ Isaac Sauers gives us a holiday treat as he counts down 25 days till Christmas with 25 of his favorite must own metal and hard rock albums. Join us daily through December 25th to read the latest entry.
Ride the Lightning was originally released on July 27, 1984 on Megaforce Records. It’s 8 tracks of pure metal mastery. It’s got classic songs like “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, “Fade to Black”, and “Creeping Death” all of which have remained live staples for Metallica over the past 32 years. In my opinion, Ride the Lightning is the best album Metallica ever released. Ride the Lightning has it all. It’s got really fast, heavy thrash songs, soft ballad moments, and a bit of radio friendly melody which Metallica would adopt in the next decade after this release.
The album starts off with an acoustic guitar during the intro to “Fight fire with Fire” before unleashing heavy metal fury that lasts through the next track “Ride the Lightning” then takes it down a hair beats per minute speaking for the third track “For Whom the Bell Tolls”.
The fourth track “Fade to Black” is Metallica’s first ballad featuring plenty of acoustic guitars and sung vocals as opposed to shouted vocals. The song elevates the heaviness in the bridge and outro of the song. This is my favorite song from Metallica.
The next two songs on this album are assuredly the least talked about. “Escape” seems like a preview of the radio friendly Metallica that would reach prominence in the 1990s. Just listen to the melody of James Hetfield’s vocals in the chorus. “Trapped Under Ice” brings back the speedy thrash elements of this album, but it just doesn’t leave the lasting impression like the first few tracks on the album or the track to follow.
“Creeping Death” certainly ranks in my top five Metallica songs. The opening riff is just so catchy and memorable. The lyrics were written after the band watched The Ten Commandments film on tv and were inspired by the Biblical epic film.
The final track, “The Call of Ktulu”, is an instrumental track that really showcases the talent of the band. The title comes from the literary work of H.P. Lovecraft.
This is a young Metallica at their best. My favorite album of theirs. Although their next album Master of Puppets may win the “best” title with other fans, Ride the Lightning is what does it for this guy.
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