Metallica - Ride the Lightning 
Music Disc Reviews Audio CD
Written by Jerry Del Colliano   
Tuesday, 22 February 2000

DCC Reissue
performance 9
sound 8
released 2000

Musically, everything changed for me in 1984. Prince’s Purple Rain, Van Halen’s 1984 and Metallica’s Ride The Lightning all inspired me to pick up my ax and rock out. I have never quite recovered.

Ride The Lightning is the first well-made record from the then-soon-to-be rock gods Metallica. Kill Em All, their first record, which was supposed to be entitled Metal Up Your Ass before Elektra Records intervened, was very much a fun thrash-fest, but it was poorly (if at all) produced. Ride The Lightning was the first example of Metallica’s understanding of complex melodies and classically-inspired layering. This isn’t their S&M record by any means. Ride The Lighting – a reference to being executed in the electric chair – is a serious rocker, complete with some of Lars Ulrich’s most bitchin’ fills and kick-ass solo work from Kirk Hammett. It is hard to believe that this is the same James Hetfield we know singing. He sounded so much more high- pitched back then. More modern Metallica records show his effort to become less of a screamer and more of a dynamic and versatile singer.

Some of the best tracks on Ride The Lightning include: "For Whom The Bell Tolls," "Fight Fire With Fire" and the title track, "Ride The Lightning." The most righteous of all songs on Ride The Lighting is "Creeping Death." It features a most strident "Die… Die.. Die" chant section that so epitomizes metal rock. If I only still had some leather pants and a lighter… The bass work of Cliff Burton is well highlighted on this recording, as is some of the songwriting of Dave Mustaine, who was an original member of Metallica, but who was kicked out to later form Megadeth.

Much like the recently reviewed DCC re-master of Master of Puppets, Ride The Lighting is a gem. Sonically it is very warm and not CD-sounding at all. There is no comparison between the original CD and the re-master. If you love to rock, Ride The Lightning the DCC re-issue is a must-have for your collection.

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