Released just over a year after their “Kill ‘Em All” debut album, Metallica’s sophomore effort “Ride The Lightning” was delivered to their growing fan base on this day thirty years ago. Where has the time gone? Now I think that I mentioned in my Milestone for the band’s first album that around this time I was NOT the biggest Metallica fan out there. There were a few reasons for this and the biggest was perhaps only a couple of people I knew were listening to them, while others were getting more on the NWOBHM track. Anyway, I am going left of center here but I should admit that when I started to listen to “Ride The Lightning” I found a lot more appreciation of the bands talents and efforts on behalf of Metal music. Let’s talk a little bit about the album.
The album was released to the world on Megaforce Records, who were a growing independent label back then and one that willing to give music like this a chance. You can extol worlds of thanks upon Marsha and Johnny Zazula for this at any time in case you felt like it. It would be the last Metallica album to feature writing by Dave Mustaine while also being the first to feature guitarist Kirk Hammett as a writing contributor. The thing that I remember most about hearing this album way back then was the way that certain tracks would hit certain friends in my circle. Some liked the drive of “Fight Fire With Fire” while others felt in tune with the more solemn “Fade To Black”. I actually caught Metallica during one of their three night stints at L’Amour in Brooklyn way back in 1985. These shows also featured W.A.S.P. and Armored Saint and while I was really most interested in Blackie and his boys I remained for as much of Metallica as I could before passing out. I had the flu that night and was literally melting in my leather jacket. Oh well, still saw enough and recall it being a great night that made spending the next four days in bed worth it. Yes, I got into trouble for being this foolish.
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
Reviewing the tracks on the album I can easily admit to liking what amount to the “key tracks” of “For Whom The Bell Tolls”, “Fade To Black” and of course the seminal number “Creeping Death”. Now, let me add my appreciation of stuff like “Escape” which had an almost commercial sensibility to it. The great thing is how all of these tracks still hold up to the test of time. What did you think about this album and how has it impacted you as a Metal fan. Let me know in the comments which have been left open for some discussion.
I’ll admit a little surprise at the lack of a special edition remaster of such an influential Metal album but these days it’s very tricky to figure out who is planning what for our hard earned shekels. I remember reading something about Metallica running their own label releases not too long ago but I could not find the original information. I believe something will be coming sooner or later.