Review Summary: Best Tracks:
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Fade to Black
The Call of Ktulu
Track to Skip:
Escape2 of 6 thought this review was well written
The war still rages on as to whether Ride the Lightning is better than Master of Puppets and vice versa. And as much as I hate to do this I'm going to have to say that in my opinion it's a tie. I can see where some people like Master of Puppets better because technically it is a better album. Better vocals, For the most part it is just has better music, and the production is much better as well. But I can also see where people would like Ride the Lightning; The music for the most part is more melodic and some of the tunes are well written and sound more catchy.
Ride the Lighning somewhat strays from how fast paced Kill em' All was and goes for a more of a structured and melodic sound. That's not to say the songs aren't thrash because aside from Fade to Black they are all very much thrash but there is just a much better rythm to a lot of the songs than there is on most of the tracks on Kill em' All.
Fight Fire With Fire-----If you were a big fan of Kill em' All then you're probably going to put in this album and scratch your head at the beginning of Fight Fire With Fire. It opens with very soft acoustic guitars and then fades with drums into an onslaught of face paced riffs and violent drumming. This is the most fast paced song on the album and it's also one of the best. It's a song that goes by very fast if you're into it and it really sets the tone for the rest of the album. 4.5/5
Ride the Lightning-----The title track is one of the best on the album, It is one of two songs to have Dave Mustains writing credit on this album. This songs relies very much on guitar work as the first two verses and choruses end very early in the song leaving about 3 minutes for guitar solo. This song feels very technical, and at some times the vocals are a little annoying this is one of James' finest screaming moments and those of you who enjoy the screaming James then this should be the track for you. 4/5
For Whom the Bell Tolls-----Now we come to what is (In my opinion) the best song on the whole album. This is some of Metallica's best work; This song has quite possibly the best intro the band has ever come up with. It is guranteed to send goosebumps up your arms, whether it be the awesome bass that sounds like guitar or just the guitar for that matter. The riffs are so good that you completely forget that there isn't really any solo to speak of in this whole song. I would go as far as to call For Whom the Bell Tolls some what of a masterpiece, it is some of Cliff Burton's best work, You're never bored by it, and the vocals are amazing. 5/5
Fade to Black-----This is what is considered to be Metallica's first ballad, and I don't mean like some Tesla or Poison power ballad, this is a ballad like you've never heard before. This is probably Metallica's most beautiful song, The acoustic opening to the heavy chorus to what is said to be one of the best bridges of all time. This ballad was followed by "Sanitarium" and "One" and most people will tell you that "One" is the greatest thing since sliced bread and it is a very good song but if you're looking for Metallica's definitive ballad you shall look no further than Fade to Black. 5/5
Trapped Under Ice-----This is the shortest track on the album and goes hand in hand with the song that follows it. Escape and Trapped Under Ice go kind of hand in hand as they are the two weakest songs on the album but they are also two very different songs. Trapped Under Ice almost feels like a punk song some what, while escape goes more towards generic heavy metal. Even after ten years of listening to Metallica I haven't decided which of the two is the weakest link because they are both good enough songs, but Trapped Under Ice seems to offer more good instrumental work. 4/5
Escape----This is Metallica's least played song, they've never performed it live to my knowledge, it is never spoken about by the band, and it is probably the most skipped song in the bands history. This track sounds almost like and Iron Maiden song and strays away from thrash more into a heavy metal sound and that's not necessarily a bad thing (At least it wasn't at the time) The song has a very catchy chorus and a deliciously evil sounding bridge and outro. It is probably the weakest song on the album but give it a try just because it's the weakest link doesn't quite mean it's bad. 4/5
The Call of Ktulu-----This is Metallica's seconds instrumental and yes it is more than just bass. The Call of Ktulu has always been compared to Orion and just like the albums they're on there has always been a conflict on which instrumental is better. I would say I prefer Orion but it's an extremely close race. The Call of Ktulu is more like a journey with it's own different sections of the song. It's like a plot to a book or a movie the rising conflict, the climax, and finally the resolution. Along with The Four Horseman this is probably the best thing Dave Mustaine ever contributed to Metallica. This is a great way to end an album and if you didn't like instrumentals before you probably will after listening to this track. 4.5/5
All in all this was a huge step forward for Metallica after Kill em' All. This is one of two of the most legendary Metal albums ever made and it is a must buy for any Metallica or Metal fan out there.