I explained earlier here why I enjoy buying vinyl albums. I have a decent amount of albums now so I figured I might as well go through and review the albums I have and new ones I get along the way.
I picked up this gem about a year ago. To me it is one of the greatest albums all time. A significant amount of people will put Master Of Puppets ahead of Ride The Lightning, and while they are easily Metallica’s best 2 albums, I put Ride The Lightning slightly ahead.
Starting with the cover, I do have to admit that it isn’t quite up to album art standards nowadays but it’s still pretty good for being from the 80’s. The lightning and the electric chair also scream “being metal”. The vast amounts of blue isn’t terrible but its not great. Their band logo is always great. It has to be one of the most recognized logos out there. The album title, on the other hand, is pretty damn boring. I don’t think they could have picked a more boring font that that. Arial? Times New Roman?
The back has the song list as you would expect along with a picture for each of the band members. Each picture is showing the band member playing their instrument “hard as fuck.”…… Or at least they are trying to. I am pretty sure Lars can try as hard as he wants to and will never look anywhere close to being badass. Cliff on the other hand, looks to be going off like a madman. Fucking awesome!
Sometimes the inserts in record come with really cool artwork or a bunch of interesting pictures of the band. Some I have even come with band posters. This insert has what looks to be a professional picture of the band along with a couple others of the band. The back has the lyrics for the songs on the album. Pretty generic stuff. Pretty meh. The record itself is also pretty plain; going with generic black vinyl. Unlike the insert I see this as a good thing. I can’t imagine Metallica (especially old Metallica) being a band that puts out picture discs or colored vinyl. So plain black vinyl is perfect for Ride The Lightning.
I am not going to go into too much depth for the music side of this record since it has probably been reviewed thousands of times. I would really like to talk about how it is put together and how they have progressed along musically at this point in their career. Starting off with the fast and heavy “Fight Fire With Fire,” Metallica comes at you with fury. This, along with “Ride The Lightning” and “Trapped Under Ice” are the typical thrash sounding songs on the album. These songs could have easily been off of Kill ‘Em All.
“For Whom The Bell Tolls” and “Creeping Death” are the two masterpieces for me on this album. They are melodic but still heavy at the same time and Hammett is at the top of his game. I can’t think of many songs out there that get me as pumped up as these two. The songwriting, vocals and musicianship are other worldly.
“Fade To Black” sits right in the middle of the album. It suiting since it is the slowest and most melodic Metallica song on the album. It really is foreshadowing for some of the songs on “Master Of Puppets” and especially the songs on “…And Justice For All“. Don’t get me wrong; I love this song it is just the start of Metallica’s exodus from thrash.
The album finishes with the instrumental: “Call Of The Ktulu.” It is epic, heavy and fast all at the same time. It is slightly ahead of “Orion” as the best Metallica instrumental for me and is a perfect way to end an epic album.
I recommend this album to anyone that is interested in metal or vinyl. It is one of my favorite albums of all time and is great for any mood or situation.