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Ride the Lightning

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,102 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Certified at 4 million units by the RIAA. (11/97)

Amazon.com

Don't let that classical-guitar-ish opening to "Fight Fire with Fire" fool you--Ride the Lightning packs a heavy-metal wallop. While not as ambitious as the subsequent Master of Puppets, this early Metallica album is indubitably one of their best. Thematically, it explores death and dying from myriad points of view: nuclear war ("Fight Fire with Fire"), electric-chair execution (the title track), and drowning ("Trapped Under Ice"). Interestingly, the best track on this album is probably "Fade to Black," a slower, more introspective song about suicide. There's also "Creeping Death," which remains a concert favorite. An excellent mix of rapid-fire guitar riffs, rip-roaring solos, and singer James Hetfield's trademark growl, this is thrash metal at its finest. Very highly recommended. --Genevieve Williams
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Digital Booklet: Ride The Lightning (Remastered)
Digital Booklet: Ride The Lightning (Remastered)
Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Original Release Date: 1984
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • ASIN: B000002H2H
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,576 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
When I first bought this album, it instantly became my favorite. I thought it was incredible, and that nothing could ever touch it. Well, since then I have changed my mind. I have found a lot (but not a whole lot) of albums that are just as good as this one, and even better. But, make no mistake, this is one of the greatest albums ever made, for sure. When the acoustic intro to "Fight Fire with Fire" starts out, you might think you bought the wrong album, but then the heavy guitar hits you like a ton of bricks, and before you know it, you're thrashing around, destroying everything in sight. The guitars are very tight, and awesome solos abound. Cliff's bass is very menacing (if not a bit hard to hear). Lars doesn't stand out much, but he does a pretty decent job. There isn't a bad moment on here, but the highlights would have to be the classic "For Whom the Bell Tolls", the amazing ballad "Fade to Black", and, one of the greatest thrash songs ever, "Creeping Death". It all amounts to what is simply one of the greatest thrash metal albums ever made. There is a great deal of argument as to which Metallica album is the best. Many seem to think that "Master of Puppets" is the best, but I am very adamant in my decision that this is their finest moment. If pressed, I would say that this one and MOP are close to equal. I certainly prefer this one to "Kill Em All" and "And Justice for All", but MOP is a very close call. Anyway, if you love great metal, this is one album you should definitely buy. If you like this album, and want to hear more great metal, I would recommend "Powerslave" by Iron Maiden (which came out in the same year as RTL, by the way), "Reign in Blood" by Slayer, "The New Order" by Testament, "Among the Living" by Anthrax, "Peace Sells..." by Megadeth, "Cowboys from Hell" by Pantera, and anything by Iced Earth. Man, this was great metal. I wish more people did stuff like this today.
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Format: Audio CD
This cd, like Metallica's "Master of Puppets" was re-mastered by DCC and sounds just as awesome. I know many metallifans are skeptical about purchasing these re-masters, but to my ears, the superior sound quality is there and is noticeable. I have owned a recording of this album (Ride the Lightning) on either record or cd since 1984, and have heard it probably a million times since then. When I heard the remastered cd version today, I heard many things that I hadn't heard before. For example: The clarity in the intro solo by Hammett on "Fade to Black, the way Cliff Burton's roaring, howling lead bass was meant to stand out on "The Call of Ktulu", crisper drums and background vocals on "Creeping Death" and "Trapped Under Ice" are just some of the many sonic improvements on this cd. I understand that it's a lot of money for a cd that most people who are fans of the band already own. But if you are a long time or serious fan/collector, this is a true must have. If you are on a tight budget, or think the standard cd sounds good enough, don't bother. The cd also features re-packaging just like the original album (right down to the original megaforce records label in the upper right hand side of the back cover), though the differences are minimal from the standard issue cd, but noteworthy to the serious fan. I can only hope and pray that the horrendously recorded "And Justice For All" receives a similar treatment in the very near future.
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Format: Audio CD
Metallica's second album, 1984's "Ride the Lightning," was the first real metal album I ever bought. When I bought it, I was looking for a really heavy album, so when the first track began with an acoustic intro, I was sorely disappointed. Luckily, however, I skipped to the next song, the title track, and its booming intro brought a big smile to my face. Ah, nostalgia.

With 1983's "Kill `Em All," Metallica helped create thrash metal; but they followed up their debut with their sophomore album, which was released only a year later. Most metalheads have given it the credit it deserves, but I feel "Ride the Lightning" is still somewhat underrated, since the album that followed this one was "Master of Puppets."

"Ride the Lightning" is still fast. Most of it shoots by like...well, lightning; but it's slower, darker, heavier and more mature than "Kill `Em All." James' voice is somewhat lower than it was, and his lyrics are improved. As the above Amazon editorial review mentions, James discusses several different ways to die: Armageddon, capitol punishment, suicide, being trapped under ice, etc.

"Fight Fire with Fire" has the aforementioned acoustic intro, but it's just a tease-it doesn't last. The power chords fade in and the song becomes a breakneck speed, with rip-roaring, almost Slayer-esque guitar work. Lyrically, this songs seems to be about the Apocalypse.

"Ride the Lightning" is the album's most popular single. It's another thrashy number, with booming rhythms, fiery chug and churn riffs (which go from fast to faster to slow to fast), and an awesome, lengthy Hammett solo. "Ride the Lightning" has good lyrics about being executed by the electric chair, and it also has a surprise ending, but most of this song is an instrumental.
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