George Starostin's Reviews



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Pat D. <> (28.04.2002)

Sounds very childish compared to their later stuff, but at least the songs are catchy, and the proudction was decent (unlike any other Metallica album released until TBA). The band sounds less precise than they would later on, and sometimes Kirk Hammett's solos just sound tacked on. Check out how his last solo in "The Four Horsemen" just sort of appears without any competant fade in. You can almost picture some guy at the mixing console hitting play on that track when it happens.

Secondly, although Dave Mustaine's version of "The Four Horsemen" is much faster (entitled "Mechanix"), and i guess because of that more technically impressive, it seems to have much less of an impact. In any case, "Horsemen" is the best song on this album. "Motorbreath" is my 2nd favorite thanks to some blazing speed (at the time it was blazing speed, if nothing else), and despite way too many repetitions of the chorus "Jump in the Fire" is a catchy number with some really cool (if repetitive) Hammett soloing. Overall, i'd have to give it a 7 nowadays like you did because the lyrics are so dumb and the song structures arent anywheres near primo Metallica yet.


Pat D. <> (02.06.2002)

I'm probably the only Metallica fan on this planet that thinks this album is tremendously overrated. Lets go through the songs quickly. 'Fight Fire with Fire' is a great song, with some of the coolest, flowingest Hammett solos ever. 'Ride the Lightning' has an extremely awkward and annoying riff opening the song and boring midtempo thrashing for most of the track. Chorus is really awkward too. Great middle section and Hammett solo though. 'For Whom the Bell Tolls', gotta really disagree here. This song has one of the plainest and most boring Metallica riffs in their catalog. And dont me get started on the ultra-minimalist drumming by Lars on this track. Dull beyond belief.

Moving on, 'Fade to Black' is good, but i would rank this as the worst of their three major epics. The outro is rather boring with a Hammett solo that never seems to go anywhere and a rhythm riff that doesnt really excite me. "Trapped Under Ice" is actually one of my favorites here, thanks to decent Lars drumming and a cool twisting riff. Hammetts solos sound tacked on like parts of KEA tho. "Escape" is pretty decent. By far the pinnacle of this album is "Creeping Death", with one of the coolest riffs ever written by anybody, and another really good Hammett solo. Finally, "The Call of Ktulu" is by far my least favorite of their instumentals. At least "Orion" and "To Live is to Die" eventually get somewhere.

So overall, i give this a 5, although probably everybody on this planet thinks i'm nuts for doing so. The next release was so much better despite using a similar formula its mindboggling. Oh yeah, and on a final note Flemming Rasmussen may be the worst producer and engineer on this planet. The only thing he was ever any good at was engineering the guitars which sound great. Drums sound like trash cans, bass doesnt have much presence, Hetfields voice is ridiculously overprocessed and my lord, the tape hiss. Awful.

AKIUS KATSMAN <> (30.06.2002)

Wow! Great album! I give it a 9 out of 10! All the songs here are so thrashy and headbanging. I cannot stand Anthrax, Slayer or Testament but Metallica had a lot of talent (especially in their riffs). My favourites are "Fight Fire With Fire" and the classic suicide ballad "Fade To Black". But I like the others too. If you're new to Metallica, buy this album, you won't be disappointed.

JM and Angel <> (30.08.2002)

I only really ever listen to the first two Metallica albums, and I think it's pretty much a tossup as to which I prefer. I do however think that the first side of Ride the Lightning is definitely the best work this band has done, and probably their most influential as well. I don't think Metallica is anywhere near the best thrash band, yet the diversity and complexity that can be found in the first four songs of RTL can not be ignored. Some people seem to have a problem with the title track's strange opening riff, but to me it exemplifies the unusual and exploratory depth that is really present on this album. Although Master of Puppets explores pretty much the same territory, I don't think the formula works nearly as well as it does on this sophomore effort. I agree wholehearted, "For Whom the Bell TOlls" is huge, crushing and definitely my favourite Metallica track, proving that one doesn't have to tremolo pick at maximum speed in order to be heavy, that it is so much more evil to be minimal, to forego flashiness in favour of feeling. Anyway, I think that "For Whom the Bell Tolls" has influenced a slew of contemporaries, most notably Bathory, who arguably based their midperiod "Viking metal" sound on the kind of brooding, sustained power chord pounding of that track. Unfortunately the second side seems a little lacklustre in comparrison. The first two tracks are fine, but "Creeping Death" for some reason just doesn't really do it for me, and "Call of Ktulu" is shamefully dull.

David Dickson <> (21.12.2002)

Normally, we don't see eye to eye on anything, George (you gave Goodbye Yellow Brick Road an EIGHT--how could you? *sob*) But this time you hit the nail right on the head. Ride the Lightning's a metal masterpiece--by far their best '80's album and the second best of their career (just a hair worse than Metallica). All the songs are well written, complex, and pretentious as hell. You really get the "Gothic doom" atmosphere here (as opposed to Slayer's "Satan doom" atmosphere). What's really amazing is the fact that all eight tracks work as a unit--it's almost a thrash metal concept album, much more unified and listenable from beginning to end than, say, Master of Puppets or And Justice for All. Not to mention it has what must be the FASTEST metal riff ever devised at the time in "Fight Fire with Fire." And this coming from a group that had just finished Kill 'Em All, an unruly teenage metal band's debut album if there ever was one. I give it five stars out of five--especially for the title track.

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