If Kill 'Em All, in all it's headbanger adoring, fanboy glory, was the birth of thrash, Ride the Lightning is its bar-mitzvah. Gone are the feelgood anthems to headbanging, drag racing, and legions of denim clad brothers-in-arms and in their place sit songs about nuclear war, the death penalty, suicide, drug addiction, and the doomsday cult monsters. Straight off the bat the album is heavier, faster, darker, and harder than Kill 'Em All. As a sophomore effort it cranked up the intensity a huge notch and let fans know that the "Four Horsemen" weren't just a bunch of heshed out drunks but skilled and socially aware musicians with something to say. All bullshit aside, this album kicks ass. Opening slow on "Fight Fire" and then blasting into a thrashed out rant on mutually destruction and execution, the first two tracks are a banger's (as well as a sampler if you're good enough...) wet dream. On top of the fact that out of 8 songs anybody off the street, metalhead or not, can recognize at least 3/4ths of the album by sound if not name should say a lot. Definitely listen to the first side as a whole for the full effect but if you're looking for the real highlights "Fade to Black" is the first (and one of the only) respectable thrash ballads while for whom the bell tolls is the creepiest intro since Black Sabbath / Black Sabbath. On side two "Creeping Death," especially the breakdown will blow your speakers with its might and the closer gives that last little hint of the Mustaine influence with some sweet Cliff Burton highlights. Comes in the original picture sleeve. This shit's real, no joke. Highly recommended.
- 180 gram vinyl pressing
- music label: Blackened Recordings 1984 / 2016
reviewed by Newjack 04/2008