METALLICA FAN 1: Hey man, which one do you think is better? Ride The Lightning or Master Of Puppets? I like Ride The Lightning the best.
METALLICA FAN 2: Well, I like Master Of Puppets better. It's just so much better.
*The two then begin to argue about the subject*
The debate still rages on to this day. In 1984, Metallica progressed from doing all speedy, thrash monsters to doing songs with more melody and that were slower, but still keeping that fast, thrashy sound. The name of this album was Ride The Lightning
. Two years later, Metallica took the same album, and expanded on it. It was longer, thrashier, and just simply better. Many people will argue on this. And there are also people out there who will try and tell you that St. Anger
is better than either of the two albums. But I think that these two albums are Metallica's two best albums. Comparing and contrasting has always been something that is easy, and sometimes fun for me to do. Because of this, I shall compare and contrast many aspects of Ride The Lightning
and Master Of Puppets
. Personally, I prefer the latter any day over Ride The Lightning, but I consider both to be classic metal albums. So without further ado, let the battle begin!
RIDE THE LIGHTNING VS. MASTER OF PUPPETS
Master Of Puppets wins this one hands down. There are quite a few similarities between Fight Fire With Fire
, but the latter surpasses the former in almost every way. Both begin with acoustic intros, and they build up and become heavy. Fight Fire With Fire is very misleading. The melodic introduction has a very light classical feel to it, but then, it builds up and we have one of the most doomish songs in Metallica's catalogue. Battery, however, has a Latin-esque introduction, with no other instruments. Just acoustic guitar. But then, we have another melodic riff, but this one is heavy. Battery continues to impress as the song goes on and on. It's fast and thrashy, with everything Metallica fans love about Metallica in it. I could not have thought of a better way to start off Master Of Puppets.
Master Of Puppets
THE TITLE TRACK
Ride The Lightning follows the opener just as Master Of Puppets does the same. Once again, the title track of Master Of Puppets wins. That track is at least two minutes longer than Ride The Lightning's, and perhaps that is why it's better. Ride The Lightning is a speedy track that draws you in right from the start, but it fails against Master Of Puppets both lyrically and musically. Master Of Puppets starts off with that classic, unmistakable riff that everyone knows, and then the verse kicks in, but what is also impressive with this song is the melodic solo played by Kirk Hammett. It is slow and beautiful, unlike anything on the title track of Ride The Lightning. But rest asured speed metal fans, the speed does indeed catch back up. During the last few seconds of the song, we have bassist Cliff Burton yell out a devilish "MUWAHAHAHA", and the song comes to a close. So in conclusion, I think we know which song wins.
Master Of Puppets
THE WEAKEST LINK
Every album has a weak link. Even albums like Revolver
have a "weak link". The song does not have to have anything particularly wrong with it. It's just that it's the worst song on the album. Ride The Lightning and Master Of Puppets do have weak links, and in this section, I will telling you which one I think is best. Escape
and The Thing That Should Not Be
are these two songs. The main problems with the former is that it just doesn't hold up when compared to everything else on that album. It's short, and the chorus is pretty light. But the song is very catchy though. I do in fact enjoy the song, but it is the worst song on Ride The Lightning. The main problem with The Thing That Should Not Be is that it's boring, and doesn't have many exciting moments. What is this song even about? The riffs are slow and repetitive, and the song repeats itself many times. If it would have been cut down a few minutes, I might just enjoy it slightly better. In this area, Ride The Lightning wins.
Ride The Lightning
The fourth track of Ride The Lightning is its ballad, entitled Fade To Black
. The fourth track on Master Of Puppets is also its ballad, entitled Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
. The term "ballad" may turn some people off, but these two songs are not like any other ballads that were being made at the time. They're not anything like Every Rose Has Its Thorn or something like that. They don't at all deal with love. Anyway, as for which one is better, this is tough. I happen to love both songs, but overall, I would have to go with Sanitarium. It's heavier, and it has better riffs, and the subject matter of the song is flat-out cool
. Songs dealing with death are a dime a dozen, but Sanitarium is about, well, sanitariums. Cool, right? Heh heh. Anyway, as far as acoustic work goes, I would say Fade To Black is better, but in terms of which song I enjoy more, I would have to go with Welcome Home.
Master Of Puppets
The final three Metallica albums of the 80's all had extremely lengthy instrumental songs. The Call Of Ktulu
, (based off of a poem written by H.P. Lovecraft, whom Cliff Burton was a huge fan of), and Orion
, are the two instrumentals. This is a very difficult decision to make. Both consist of superb musicianship and extremely technical solos and impressive riffs. The former is a build-up track. It begins with an acoustic guitar, and then slowly works its way up, going from slower to fast, from fast to slower. Both happen to be amazing tracks though. It's songs like these two that people should listen to if they say that the members of Metallica have no talent. Orion is also quite the song as well. Every single member of Metallica does their best. Cliff Burton's bass is involved and very noticeable. Kirk and James are pulling off some fantastic guitar parts, and Lars, despite the criticsm he receives, drums quite well actually. Burton is shining especially on this track. He was one of the best bass players ever, and here is proof. His bass solo is marvelous. The song continues to go on, and then it ends.
I will give points to both, because this is pretty tough. I am leaning more towards Master Of Puppets however.
There are many, many other aspects of both albums that I could compare and contrast, and I will. Musically, Master Of Puppets surpasses Ride The Lightning in almost every way possible. Burton's bass is distinct and far more involved. Get in a car and turn up the volume. You will be able to feel the "thump" of his bass on your feet (or at least I can). Vocally, this is better. James Hetfield has a superb voice on Master Of Puppets. It is mainly due to him taking lessons between the two albums. Many will argue that Ride The Lightning is far more better than Master though. Many will say that it set the ground for Master, and I can see why one would say this. The album is similar in many, many ways to Lightning, but like I said before, the band took Lightning, and expanded on it and perfected almost everything that was wrong with it. Even the production sounds better. So now, the results are in.
Battery, of Master Of Puppets
Best Title Track:
Master Of Puppets, of Master Of Puppets
Best Weak Link:
Escape, of Ride The Lightning
Welcome Home (Sanitarium), of Master Of Puppets
Tie between The Call Of Ktulu and Orion, of Ride The Lightning
and Master Of Puppets
Best Musicianship: Master Of Puppets
Best Vocals: Master Of Puppets
THE WINNER IS....
MASTER OF PUPPETS
So there you have it. Master Of Puppets is better than Ride The Lightning. If you haven't heard either of them, then I highly suggest getting them both, but the better album is Master Of Puppets. It is a classic of heavy metal, thrash metal, and in my opinion, it is one of the greatest albums ever recorded. It is not for everyone, but it is essential to every metal collection. If you need to get into the genre, this is a perfect album to start off with. It is one of my favorite albums, and if you haven't heard it, listen to it. I'll be hoping that it becomes one of your favorites too.