Ride the Lightning

Don’t let that classical-guitar-ish opening to “Fight Fire with Fire” fool you–Ride the Lightning packs a heavy-metal wallop. While not as ambitious as the subsequent Master of Puppets, this early Metallica album is indubitably one of their best. Thematically, it explores death and dying from myriad points of view: nuclear war (“Fight Fire with Fire”), electric-chair execution (the title track), and drowning (“Trapped Under Ice”). Interestingly, the best track on this album is probably “Fade to Black,” a slower, more introspective song about suicide. There’s also “Creeping Death,” which remains a concert favorite. An excellent mix of rapid-fire guitar riffs, rip-roaring solos, and singer James Hetfield’s trademark growl, this is thrash metal at its finest. Very highly recommended. –Genevieve Williams

1. Fight Fire with Fire
2. Ride the Lightning
3. For Whom the Bell Tolls
4. Fade to Black
5. Trapped Under Ice
6. Escape
7. Creeping Death
8. Call of Ktulu

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