Hot on the heels of Kill ‘Em All’s 33rd anniversary on Monday comes the 32nd anniversary of the sophomore release Ride The Lightning. It’s weird to remember those days when a band released albums after a couple of years, let alone 12 months. It’s been nearly eight years since their last album Death Magnetic surfaced and rumours are abound of the tenth release appearing later on 2016 or maybe 2017.
Depending on what mood I’m in on any given day Ride can be my second or third favourite release. Always number one will be the flawless genius of Master Of Puppets and this is on a par with “my” Metallica album …And Justice For All.
I say “my” album as I tend to veer towards the album that I was first in a position to buy on release days as usually my favourite by that artist. For me there seems to be that air of nostalgia for the first slab of vinyl, or later on compact disc, that I physically had to make the effort to head to town – an hours bus ride away as a kid – to pick it up from a record shop. Back then it would’ve been Lotus or Mike Lloyds Music, with my money earnt from my newspaper round before and after school, seven days a week, rain or shine. Metallica is one of a few anomalies to that rule as the previous release is always top of the pile but I didn’t have it until a few years after its release.
I’m pretty sure I mentioned it previously, but just for you – yes you – my new reader, I’ll say it again. Ride The Lightning was one of the very first metal albums I heard along with Iron Maiden’s Killers and Somewhere In Time back in the summer of 1987. It’s weird to think in twelve months time I’ll have been indulging in the “hobby” for three decades.
Since I first saw the band live in 1990 I’ve seen seven of the eight songs featured on this album in the live arena. The only one I’ve not seen is Escape, a track much maligned by James Hetfield especially. I know a lot of fans who want to hear experience it but it has only ever been played once during Metallica’s very own curated, but ill fated Orion Festival in 2012.
With its deceiving forty second intro lulling you into a false sense of security before the bludgeoning guitars kick in, Fight Fire With Fire is the albums opening volley. This version is taken from the Orgullo, Pasión, y Gloria: Tres Noches en la Ciudad de México DVD / CD set released in 2009. I’ve got a couple of copies littered around the house, but I don’t think I’ve actually sat and watched it. That needs to be rectified.