Ride the Lightning, the second studio album from American thrash metal royalty Metallica, released on July 27th 1984 via Megaforce Records, turns 35 years old today. Yes, you read that right. 35 years old today!
Certified 6× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2012 for shipping six million copies in the United States alone, Ride The Lightning needs little introduction; such is its prominence on the metal landscape. But here’s the argument to end all arguments; which is the greater achievement, Ride The Lightning or Metallica’s equally astonishing follow-up, Master of Puppets?
Both are outstanding, groundbreaking albums and both follow the same 8 track format in dynamics and construct but Ride The Lightning just edges it (for us, anyway). Released almost a year to the day after their genre defining debut, Kill ‘Em All, hit the shelves, Metallica’s monumental progression was palpable on their sophomore effort and Ride The Lightning should be revered as Metallica’s greatest achievement.
That’s right! We rank it higher than Master Of Puppets (disparaging comments can be left at the bottom of the page).
From the misleading medieval acoustic intro to “Fight Fire With Fire” – which culminates in one of Metallica’s most neck-wrecking songs – to “For Whom The Bell Tolls” and “Creeping Death”, songs that fully deserve their place in the metal hall of fame, Ride The Lightning remains virtually untouchable.
Sure, “Escape” is mainstream-taunting filler but “Fade To Black” is the quintessential thrash ballad, the title track hits like a freight train and “The Call Of Ktulu” is, potentially, the greatest metal ballad ever committed to tape. The whole damn thing is a work of art, a work of genius, a game-changer of such proportions that the metal world is still reeling from its monumental impact.
Ride the Lightning slayed the competition during the genre’s formative years and laid down an insurmountable challenge to their peers; this is thrash, James Hatfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Cliff Burton roared in your face…..can you beat it? Unsurprisingly, precious few ever could!
As electrifying today as it was 35 years ago.
1. Fight Fire With Fire
2. Ride The Lightning
3. For Whom The Bell Tolls
4. Fade To Black
5. Trapped Under Ice
7. Creeping Death
8. The Call Of Ktulu
Recommended Track: “For Whom The Bell Tolls”. Cliff Burton’s terrifying bass intro firmly sets the scene and his Armageddon-esque atmospherics never the loosen their grip for the entire, suitably epic, song. An all-time great and no mistake.