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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Metallica - 1984 Ride The Lightning
Metallica - 1984 Ride The Lightning

ARTIST: Metallica
ALBUM: Ride The Lightning
LABEL: Megaforce (USA), Music For Nations (UK)
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1986, Elektra, 9 60396-2, plus many other reissues.


LINEUP: James Hetfield - lead vocals, guitars * Kirk Hammett - guitars * Cliff Burton - bass * Lars Ulrich - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Fight Fire With Fire * 02 Ride The Lightning * 03 For Whom The Bell Tolls * 04 Fade To Black * 05 Trapped Under Ice * 06 Escape * 07 Creeping Death * 08 The Call Of Ktulu

WEBLINKS: www.metallica.com

Metallica's 1984 album 'Ride The Lightning' is perhaps my favourite throughout their discography. I really should've written something about this LP years ago. Having delivered the debut 'Kill Em All' which wrapped up all of their early songs in one bundle, now was the time to surge ahead with new material. Recorded in early 1984 at producer Flemming Rasmussen's Copenhagen studio, Metallica would wait until the summer month of July to deliver their brand new offering, and what a beauty it was.

The Songs
After a brief acoustic interlude, there is some brutal metronomic drumming from Lars Ulrich which leads into 'Fight Fire With Fire'. I'm not sure what the tempo is, but it must be well over 170! The title song 'Ride The Lightning' is all about the nasties of the electric chair (as you see from the album cover). 'flash before my eyes, now it's time to die.. burning in my brain, I can feel the pain'. The big bell intro on 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' reminds me of Ozzy Osbourne's 'Center Of Eternity' from the previous years 'Bark At The Moon'. This track is a killer, and shows that Metallica don't really have to operate at break-neck speed to get their point across. It's a heavy intense affair with a guitar riff that is famous now as it was back then.. 'for whom the bell tolls, time marches on..' To further embellish my point from the previous song, Metallica's first proper ballad 'Fade To Black' shows their fanbase that a power ballad is not beneath them. In fact, FTB is a beautiful acoustic/electric hybrid stretch at a touch on 7 minutes. We return to Metallica sans speed with the terrific 'Trapped Under Ice', while 'Escape' which follows operates at a more sedate pace. Another track that easily finds itself at the top of Metallica's popularity list is the effortless metal of 'Creeping Death', still a great listen all these years later. The closer 'The Call Of Ktulu' is an instrumental, which was also a Dave Mustaine co-write, and is a 9 minute guitar based workout.

In Summary
No two ways about it, 'Ride The Lightning' was a great album which reinforced their stakes and claim to being one of the pre-eminent metal bands of the 80's. RTL's popularity among Metallica fans is still evident today. The band would spiral to new heights with the late 80's pairing of 'Master Of Puppets' and '.. And Justice For All' while 1991's Black album put the band well over the top.

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This article has been tagged
Tags: Metallica 
#1 | reyno-roxx on March 31 2013 17:09:50
I remember seeing Metallica for the first time opening for Venom at a hall in Poperinge, Belgium. I travelled over there by ferry and train with Dave Constable and a Shades regular called John (who introduced us to the early issues of 'Viz' comic and bizarrely amused us with his rather 'out there' political views). That was on 12 February 1984, a month before they made their UK debut at the Marquee Club in London on 27 March. They played another Marquee show on 8 April. Great, great gigs accompanied with some furious headbanging. This was, of course, before all that mosh bollocks started.
'Ride The Lightning' was released in July 1984 and the next time Metallica played in the UK was at the Lyceum in London on 20 December with Tank and Torme. The following year they appeared at Donington....
#2 | dangerzone on March 31 2013 18:20:36
It's amazing how far Metallica came in a year. When you listen to this album it isn't a total exercise in thrash like the debut. Even then Metallica were showing how varied they were capable of being.
#3 | reyno-roxx on March 31 2013 19:21:35
They didn't play in the UK as much as they possibly could have back then, because the next dates they played after Donington in 1985 (that had been preceded by a secret warm-up gig in Birmingham) were in September 1986 on the 'Puppets' tour just before Cliff Burton's tragic death in Sweden towards the end of that month. They had played a heck of a lot throughout the US in 85 and 86 though.
#4 | Eric on March 31 2013 22:43:04
They did a US tour sandwiched between W.A.S.P. and Armored Saint which included clubs, ballrooms and a few hockey arenas.
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