Must Own Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Albums :
Artist : Metallica
Album : Ride The Lightning
Released : July 27, 1984
M.M. Album Rating : 5/5 (One Of The Holy Grails Of Heavy Metal/Thrash Music)
Simply stated, one of the greatest sophomore records ever made. For anyone thinking that Metallica was going to suffer “The Sophomore Jinx” that many artists do were shot down the second the needle dropped on the song “Fight Fire With Fire.” In just one short year the band had grown in so many ways by leaps and bounds. Coming off a tour with the band Raven to promote their debut record “Kill Em’ All” they were now much tighter and much more focused as a band. Not that there wasn’t any growing pains along the way though. The band was still broke, having no extra money for food, or hotels they were eating once a day, and sleeping in the recording studio during the day then recording at night.
The goal while working on the second record was to get a major record deal, so many label executives were invited to come into the studio to watch the band record. Still not confident with his voice, James wanted to get a legitimate singer to front the band. John Bush of Armored Saint was asked, but he turned the job down (think he regrets that now ?) thinking His band had a better shot to break big. Once producer Flemming Rasmussen was brought in though He did what all great producers do, and gave James the confidence to once again sing the songs himself. Something he continues to do thirty years later.
The biggest difference between the first and second Metallica record is the true arrival of Cliff Burton as a writer, and arranger. Cliff’s knowledge of music theory that he he taken in school helped the music reach a new level of maturity, that along with Hetfield’s much deeper lyrics would give the music a whole new dimension of power. Again recorded very quickly, but with double the budget of the first album (still only $30,000) Ride The Lightning was finished. Only problem was Megaforce records had no money to promote the album so the band signed with Elektra records a few months later.
This was the album the now classic lineup truly became a band. And although there are two songs that feature co-writing credits for former member Dave Mustaine (the last he would have on a Metallica record) on the title track, and the instrumental “The Call Of Ktulu”, this is also where Kirk Hammett would truly make the songs his own, even contributing to the writing of songs like “Creeping Death” and “Fade To Black”. Some of his greatest guitar playing is on this album, and many feel Lars’ peak as a drummer.
When many fans think of all the things the band has done especially the last 25 years many fans still give them a pass. Why ? Because at one time they made albums like this.
1. Fight Fire With Fire
2. Ride The Lightning
3. For Whom The Bell Tolls
4. Fade To Black
1. Trapped Under Ice
3. Creeping Death
4. The Call of Ktulu
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