Ride the Lightning

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Ride the Lightning
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 27, 1984 (1984-07-27)
RecordedFebruary 20 – March 14, 1984
Studio Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark
Genre Thrash metal
Label Megaforce
Metallica chronology
Kill 'Em All
Ride the Lightning
Master of Puppets
Singles from Ride the Lightning
  1. "Creeping Death"
    Released: November 23, 1984

Ride the Lightning is the second studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica, released on July 27, 1984, by the independent record label Megaforce Records. The album was recorded in three weeks with producer Flemming Rasmussen at the Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark. The artwork, based on a concept by the band, depicts an electric chair being struck by lightning flowing from the band logo. The title was taken from a passage in Stephen King's novel The Stand . Although rooted in the thrash metal genre, the album showcased the band's musical growth and lyrical sophistication. This was partly because bassist Cliff Burton introduced the basics of music theory to the rest of the band and had more input in the songwriting. Instead of relying strictly on fast tempos as on its debut Kill 'Em All , Metallica broadened its approach by employing acoustic guitars, extended instrumentals, and more complex harmonies. The overall recording costs were paid by Metallica's European label Music for Nations because Megaforce was unable to cover it. It was the last album to feature songwriting contributions from former lead guitarist Dave Mustaine, and the first to feature contributions from his replacement, Kirk Hammett.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Metallica American heavy metal band

Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, California, by drummer Lars Ulrich and vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield, and has been based in San Francisco, California for most of its career. The group's fast tempos, instrumentals and aggressive musicianship made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. Metallica's current lineup comprises founding members Hetfield and Ulrich, longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassists Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted are former members of the band.

Megaforce Records is an American independent record label founded in 1982 by Jon Zazula and his wife Marsha Zazula to publish the first works of Metallica. It has offices in New York City and Philadelphia. The label is distributed in the United States by RED Distribution, having previously been distributed by Atlantic Records from 1982 to 1987 while Anthrax' recordings from 1988 to 1993 were marketed by Island Records.


Ride the Lightning received positive response from music critics, who saw it as a more ambitious effort than its predecessor. Metallica promoted the album on the Bang That Head That Doesn't Bang European tour in late 1984, and on its North American leg in the first half of 1985. The band performed at major music festivals such as Monsters of Rock and Day on the Green later that year. Two months after its release, Elektra Records signed Metallica to a multi-year deal and reissued the album. Ride the Lightning peaked at number 100 on the Billboard 200 with no radio exposure. Although 75,000 copies were initially pressed for the American market, the album sold half a million by November 1987. It was certified 6× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2012 for shipping six million copies in the United States. Many rock publications have ranked Ride the Lightning on their best album lists, saying it had a lasting impact on the genre.

The Ride the Lightning Tour was the second tour by American thrash metal band Metallica, supporting their second album Ride the Lightning.

Monsters of Rock Former heavy metal music festival

Monsters of Rock was an annual hard rock and heavy metal music festival held in Castle Donington, England from 1980 to 1996, taking place every year except 1989 and 1993. It later branched into other locations such as the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Sweden, Argentina, Brazil, the United States and the former Soviet Union.

Day on the Green was a recurring concert in Oakland, California, presented by promoter Bill Graham and his company Bill Graham Presents. Held at the Oakland Coliseum, these events began in 1973 and continued into the early 1990s. The last Day on the Green overseen by Graham took place the same month as his death in a helicopter crash in 1991. There was a series of Day on the Green shows the following year in the wake of Graham's death and there were other shows in 1994-97 at the Oakland Coliseum Stadium - namely U2, Pink Floyd, and the Rolling Stones.

Background and recording

Metallica released their debut album, Kill 'Em All , on the independent label Megaforce Records on July 25, 1983. [1] The album helped to establish thrash metal, a heavy metal subgenre defined by its brisk riffs and intense percussion. [2] After finishing its promotional tour, Metallica began composing new material, and from September, began performing the songs that were to make up Ride the Lightning at concerts. Because the band had little money, its members often ate one meal a day and stayed at fans' homes while playing at clubs across the United States. [3] An incident occurred when part of Metallica's gear was stolen in Boston, and Anthrax lent Metallica some of its equipment to complete the remaining dates. When not gigging, the band stayed in a rented house in El Cerrito, California, called the Metallica Mansion. [4] Frontman James Hetfield felt uneasy about performing double duty on vocals and rhythm guitar, so the band offered the job to Armored Saint singer John Bush, who turned down the offer because Armored Saint was doing well at the time. Hetfield gradually built confidence as lead vocalist and kept his original role. Metallica started recording on February 20, 1984 at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark. The album was produced by Flemming Rasmussen, the founder of Sweet Silence Studios. Drummer Lars Ulrich chose Rasmussen, because he liked his work on Rainbow's Difficult to Cure (1981), and was keen to record in Europe. [5] Rasmussen, who had not heard of Metallica, agreed to work on the album, even though his studio employees questioned the band's talent. Rasmussen listened to Metallica's tapes before the members arrived and thought the band had great potential. [6] Metallica rehearsed the album's material at Mercyful Fate's practice room in Copenhagen. [7]

<i>Kill Em All</i> 1983 studio album by Metallica

Kill 'Em All is the debut studio album by the American heavy metal band Metallica, released on July 25, 1983, by the independent record label Megaforce Records. Kill 'Em All is regarded as a groundbreaking album for thrash metal because of its precise musicianship, which fuses new wave of British heavy metal riffs with hardcore punk tempos. The album's musical approach and lyrics were markedly different from rock's mainstream of the early 1980s and inspired a number of bands who followed in similar manner. The album did not enter the Billboard 200 until 1986, when it peaked at number 155, following Metallica's commercial success with its third studio album Master of Puppets; the 1988 Elektra reissue peaked at number 120. Kill 'Em All was critically praised at the time of its release and in retrospect, and was placed on a few publications' best album lists. It was certified 3× Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 1999 for shipping three million copies in the United States. The album generated two singles, "Whiplash" and "Jump in the Fire".

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead guitar work. The lyrical subject matter often deals with criticisms of The Establishment, and at times shares a disdain for Christian dogma resembling that of their black metal counterparts. The language is typically quite direct and denunciatory, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

Boston State capital of Massachusetts, U.S.

Boston is the capital and most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States. The city proper covers 48 square miles (124 km2) with an estimated population of 694,583 in 2018, making it also the most populous city in New England. Boston is the seat of Suffolk County as well, although the county government was disbanded on July 1, 1999. The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area known as Greater Boston, a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) home to a census-estimated 4.8 million people in 2016 and ranking as the tenth-largest such area in the country. As a combined statistical area (CSA), this wider commuting region is home to some 8.2 million people, making it the sixth most populous in the United States.

Metallica appeared second and played ten songs at the sold-out show at New York City's Roseland Ballroom on August 3, 1984. Roseland-front.jpg
Metallica appeared second and played ten songs at the sold-out show at New York City's Roseland Ballroom on August 3, 1984.

Before entering the studio, Metallica collected ideas on "riff tape" recordings of various jam sessions. Hetfield and Ulrich went through the tapes and selected the strongest riffs to assemble into songs. Instruments were recorded separately, with Hetfield playing only rhythm guitar. [8] Rasmussen, with the support of drum roadie Flemming Larsen, taught the basics of timing and beat duration to Ulrich, who had a tendency to increase speed and had little knowledge of rhythm theory. [4] Drums were recorded in an empty warehouse at the back of the studio, which was not soundproof, and caused reverberation. [7] Although four tracks were already arranged, the band members were not used to creating songs in the studio, as they had not done so for Kill 'Em All. [9] "For Whom the Bell Tolls", "Trapped Under Ice" and "Escape" were written from scratch in Copenhagen, and the band put finishing touches on "Fight Fire with Fire", "Ride the Lightning", "Creeping Death", and "The Call of Ktulu", which were already performed live. [4] Lead guitarist Kirk Hammett took the album's name from a passage in Stephen King's novel The Stand . [10] The cover art, displaying an electric chair in the midst of lightning bolts, was conceived before recording began. [11] Metallica initially had sound problems, because its gear was stolen three weeks before the band arrived in Copenhagen. [12] The band members slept in the studio by day as they could not afford a hotel and recorded by night, because the studio was booked by other artists during the daytime. Because the group was looking for a major label deal, several A&R representatives from different labels visited the studio. At first, it seemed that Metallica was going to sign with Bronze Records, but the deal fell through, because Bronze executive Gerry Bron did not appreciate the work done at Sweet Silence Studios, and wanted the US edition to be remixed by engineer Eddie Kramer, and even considered re-recording the album in another studio. Metallica was put off by Bron's failure to share the band's artistic vision and decided to look for another label for the US release, in spite of the fact that Bronze had already advertised Metallica as one of their bands. [6]

Timing in music refers to the ability to "keep time" accurately and to synchronise to an ensemble, as well as to expressive timing—subtle adjustment of note or beat duration, or of tempo, for aesthetic effect.

Reverberation, in psychoacoustics and acoustics, is a persistence of sound after the sound is produced. A reverberation, or reverb, is created when a sound or signal is reflected causing a large number of reflections to build up and then decay as the sound is absorbed by the surfaces of objects in the space – which could include furniture, people, and air. This is most noticeable when the sound source stops but the reflections continue, decreasing in amplitude, until they reach zero amplitude.

For Whom the Bell Tolls (Metallica song) 1984 Metallica song

"For Whom the Bell Tolls" is a song by American thrash metal band Metallica. It was first released on the group's second album, Ride the Lightning (1984). In 1985, Elektra Records released it as a promotional single, with both an edited and full-length versions. The song is generally regarded as one of their most popular; by March 2018, it ranked number five on Metallica's live performance count. Several live albums and video albums include the song.

Metallica had to record quickly because of European shows scheduled 29 days after it entered the studio. Recording finished on March 14, and Megaforce released the album on July 27. [13] Although the original album budget was $20,000, the final expense was above $30,000. [6] Metallica's European label Music for Nations paid the studio costs because Megaforce owner Jon Zazula could not afford them. [5] Metallica was unhappy with the lack of promotion by Megaforce, and decided to part ways with Zazula. Major label Elektra Records employee Michael Alago noticed Metallica at The Stone gig in San Francisco, and invited Elektra's chairman and the head of promotion to see the August show in New York. The performance at Roseland Ballroom, with Anthrax and Metallica opening for Raven, pleased the Elektra staff, and the band was offered a contract the following morning. [14] On September 12, Metallica signed with Elektra, who re-released the album on November 19. Cliff Burnstein and Peter Mensch of Q Prime were concurrently appointed as the band's new managers. [13] Ride the Lightning was the last Metallica album to feature co-writing contributions from former lead guitarist Dave Mustaine, who received credit on the title track and the instrumental "The Call of Ktulu". The album also represented the first time Hammett was given writing credits. [15]

Music for Nations is a British independent record label focusing mainly on rock and metal. It was a subsidiary of the larger label distributor Zomba Records, which was a division of BMG and later Sony Music Entertainment.

Jon Zazula, also known as Jonny Z, is the owner of New Jersey's Rock'n Roll Heaven record store and founder of record label Megaforce Records. Zazula's record store in East Brunswick, New Jersey made him a central figure of the East Coast metal scene, regularly playing demo tapes sent to him through his underground tape-trading network which included the likes of Brian Slagel of Metalblade Records, Ron Quintana, and producer Mark Whitaker. He was also somewhat of a mentor to Eddie Trunk.

Elektra Records American record label

Elektra Records is an American record label owned by Warner Music Group, founded in 1950 by Jac Holzman and Paul Rickolt. It played an important role in the development of contemporary folk music and rock music between the 1950s and 1970s. In 2004, it was consolidated into WMG's Atlantic Records Group. After five years of dormancy, the label was revived as an imprint of Atlantic in 2009. As of October 2018, Elektra was detached from the Atlantic Records umbrella and reorganized into Elektra Music Group, once again operating as an independently managed frontline label of Warner Music.

Music and lyrics

Music writers opine that Ride the Lightning exhibited greater musical maturity, with sonically broader songs than Kill 'Em All, which was noted for its one-dimensional sound. This was partially because of bassist Cliff Burton's knowledge of music theory. He showed Hetfield how to augment core notes with complementary counter-melodies and how basic guitar harmony worked, which reflected on the song compositions. [16] Hetfield developed more socially aware lyrics, as well as ominous and semi-philosophical references. [17] Ulrich explained that Metallica opted not to rely strictly on fast tempos as on the previous album, but to explore other musical approaches that sounded powerful and heavy. [18] Grinder magazine's Kevin Fisher summarized the album as "ultimate thrash, destruction and total blur" that reminded him of the speed and power of Kill 'Em All. [19] Music journalist Martin Popoff observed that Ride the Lightning offered "sophistication and brutality in equal measure" and was seen as something new at the time of its release. [20] Discussing the album's lyrical content, philosopher William Irwin wrote: "After Kill 'Em All, the rebellion and aggression became much more focused as the enemy became more clearly defined. Metallica was deeply concerned about various domains in which the common man was wrongfully yet ingeniously deceived. More precisely, they were highly critical of those in power". [21]

Cliff Burton American musician, member of Metallica

Clifford Lee Burton was an American musician and songwriter, best known as the bass guitarist for the American band Metallica from December 1982 until his death in September 1986.

Martin Popoff is a Canadian music journalist, critic and author. He is mainly known for writing about the genre of heavy metal music. The senior editor and co-founder of Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, he has additionally written over twenty books that both critically evaluate heavy metal and document its history. He has been called "heavy metal's most widely recognized journalist" by his publisher. Popoff presently lives in Toronto, Ontario.

William Irwin is Professor of Philosophy at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and is best known for originating the "philosophy and popular culture" book genre with Seinfeld and Philosophy: A Book about Everything and Nothing in 1999 and The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer in 2001.

The major-key acoustic introduction to "Fight Fire with Fire" displayed Metallica's evolution towards a more harmonically complex style of songwriting. The fastest Metallica song in terms of picking speed, it is driven by nimbly tremolo-picked riffs in the verses and chorus. The extended solo at the end dissolves in a sound effect of a vast nuclear explosion. [22] The main riff was taped during the Kill 'Em All Tour and the acoustic intro was something Burton was playing on acoustic guitar at the time. [23] The song discouraged the "eye for an eye" approach, and its lyrical themes focused on nuclear warfare and Armageddon. [20] "Ride the Lightning" was Metallica's first song to emphasize the misery of the criminal justice system. The lyrics were written from the perspective of someone who is anticipating execution by the electric chair. The song, one of the two album tracks that credited Mustaine, begins in a mid-tempo which gradually accelerates as the song progress. [22] One of the riffs in this song, originally composed by Mustaine, was simplified because Hetfield and Hammett were unable to play it the way Mustaine had written it using more advanced left-hand fingering. It features an instrumental middle section highlighted by Hammett's soloing. [20] According to Hetfield, the song was not a criticism of capital punishment, but a tale of a man sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit, as in the opening lyrics: "Guilty as charged/But damn/It ain't right". [24]

"For Whom the Bell Tolls" begins with a bell tolling, followed by a marching riff and high-register bass melody. The chromatic introduction, which Burton wrote before he joined Metallica, is often mistaken for an electric guitar but is actually Burton's bass guitar augmented with distortion and a wah-wah pedal. The lyrics were inspired by Ernest Hemingway's 1940 novel of the same name, which explores the horror and dishonor of modern warfare. [25] "For Whom the Bell Tolls" was released as a promotional single in two versions, an edit on side A and the album version on side B. "Fade to Black" is a power ballad whose lyrics contemplate suicide. Hetfield wrote the words because he felt powerless after the band's equipment was stolen before the January 1984 show in Boston. [5] Musically, the song begins with an acoustic guitar introduction overlaid with electric soloing. The song becomes progressively heavier and faster, ending with multi-layered guitar solos. [26] The ballad's arpeggiated chords and reserved singing was incongruous for thrash metal bands at the time and disappointed some of Metallica's fans. The song's structure foreshadows later Metallica ballads, "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)", "One" and "The Day That Never Comes. [27] "Fade to Black" was released as a promotional single in 1984, in glow in the dark green. [28]

"Trapped Under Ice" is about a person who wakes from a cryonic state. Realizing there is nowhere to go, and no-one will come to the rescue, the person helplessly awaits impending doom. The song is built on a fast-picked galloping riff, reminiscent of the album's opener. [26] It was inspired by a track Hammett's former band Exodus had demoed called "Impaler", which was later released on that band's 2004 album Tempo of the Damned . [29] "Escape" was originally titled "The Hammer" and was intended to be released as a single due to its lighter riffs and conventional song structure. The intro features a counterpoint bass melody and a chugging guitar riff that resolves into a standard down-stroked riff. [30] "Escape" is Hetfield's most hated Metallica song, due to it being the result of their record company forcing Metallica to write something more radio friendly. Authors Mick Wall and Malcolm Dome felt the song was influenced by the album-oriented rock of 1970s bands such as Journey and Foreigner, but fans perceived it as an attempt for airplay at rock radio. [6] Metallica performed "Escape" live only once, at the 2012 Orion Music + More festival, while performing Ride the Lightning in its entirety. [31]

"Creeping Death" describes the Plague of the Death of the Firstborn (Exodus 12:29). The lyrics deal with the ten plagues visited on Ancient Egypt; four of them are mentioned throughout the song, as well as the Passover. [30] The title was inspired by a scene from The Ten Commandments while the band was watching the movie at Burton's house. [23] The bridge, with its chant "Die, by my hand!", was originally written by Hammett for the song "Die by His Hand" while he was playing in Exodus, who recorded it as a demo but did not feature it on a studio album. Journalist Joel McIver called the song a "moshpit anthem" due to its epic lyrical themes and dramatic atmosphere. [7] "Creeping Death" was released as a single with a B-side titled Garage Days Revisited made up of covers of Diamond Head's "Am I Evil?" and Blitzkrieg's "Blitzkrieg". [32] "The Call of Ktulu", tentatively titled "When Hell Freezes Over", was inspired by H. P. Lovecraft's book The Shadow over Innsmouth , which was introduced to the rest of the band by Burton. [33] The title was taken from one of Lovecraft's key stories featuring Cthulhu, The Call of Cthulhu , although the original name was modified to "Ktulu" for easier pronunciation. The track begins with a D minor chord progression in the intro, written by Mustaine (Mustaine later re-used the chord structure on Megadeth's track "Hangar 18") followed by a two-minute bass solo over a rhythmic riff pattern. [33] Conductor Michael Kamen rearranged the piece for Metallica's 1999 S&M project and won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 2001. [34]

Reception and legacy

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [35]
Chicago Tribune Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [36]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal 10/10 [37]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [38]
The Guardian Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [39]
Pitchfork Media 10/10 [40]
Q Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [41]
Rock Hard 10/10 [42]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [43]
Sputnikmusic 5/5 [44]

Ride the Lightning received widespread acclaim from music critics. According to Q magazine, the album confirmed Metallica's status as the leading heavy metal band of the modern era. The magazine credited the group for redefining the norms of thrash metal with "Fade to Black", the genre's first power ballad. [41] British rock magazine Kerrang! stated that the album's maturity and musical intelligence helped Metallica expand heavy metal's boundaries. [41] Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune described Ride the Lightning as a more refined extension of the group's debut. [36] In a retrospective review, Sputnikmusic's Channing Freeman named it as one of the few albums that can be charming and powerful at the same time. He praised Hetfield's vocal performance and concluded that Metallica was "firing on all cylinders". [44] AllMusic's Steve Huey saw the album as a more ambitious and remarkable effort than Kill 'Em All. He called Ride the Lightning an "all-time metal classic" because of the band's rich musical imagination and lyrics that avoided heavy metal cliches. [35] The Rolling Stone Album Guide viewed the album as a great step forward for the band and as an album that established the concept for Metallica's following two records. [43] Colin Larkin, writing in the Encyclopedia of Popular Music , singled out "For Whom the Bell Tolls" as an example of Metallica's growing music potential. [38] Popoff regards Ride the Lightning as an album where "extreme metal became art". [45] "This literally was the first album since (Judas Priest's 1976) Sad Wings of Destiny where the rulebook has changed. This was a new kind of heaviness; the soft, billowy but explosive production was amazing, the speed was superhuman", stated Popoff. [7] Reviewing the 2016 reissue, Jason Anderson of Uncut considers Ride the Lightning the second best Metallica album which set the pace for metal in the years to come. [46]

Megaforce initially pressed 75,000 copies of the album for the US market, while Music for Nations took care of the European market. [47] By the autumn of 1984, Ride the Lightning had moved 85,000 copies in Europe, resulting in Metallica's first cover story for Kerrang! in its December issue. [48] After signing Metallica, Elektra released the single "Creeping Death" in a sleeve depicting a bridge and a skull painted grey and green. The album peaked at number 100 on the Billboard 200 with no radio exposure. [7] In 1984, the French record label Bernett Records misprinted the color of the album cover in green, rather than blue, and 400 copies with the green cover were produced. Because of their rarity, these green albums have become collectors' items. [49] Ride the Lightning went gold by November 1987 and in 2012 was certified 6× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipping six million copies in the US. [50] The album, along with Kill 'Em All, was reissued in 2016 as a boxed set including demos and live recordings. [51] Many rock publications have ranked Ride the Lightning on their best album lists. The album placed fifth on IGN Music's "Top 25 Metal Albums" list. [52] Spin listed it as a thrash metal essential, declaring it "the thrashiest thrash ever". [53] According to Guitar World , Ride the Lightning "didn't just change the band's trajectory—it reset the course of metal itself". [29] Corey Deiterman of the Houston Press considers Ride the Lightning the most influential Metallica album, saying it had a lasting impact on genres such as crossover thrash and hardcore punk. [54] In 2017, it was ranked 11th on Rolling Stone 's list of "100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time". [55]


Metallica (pictured in 2009) began using Ennio Morricone's music as its concert introduction in 1984. James Hetfield Madrid 2009.jpg
Metallica (pictured in 2009) began using Ennio Morricone's music as its concert introduction in 1984.

After recording was completed, Music for Nations founder Martin Hooker wanted to arrange a triple bill UK tour in March / April 1984 with Exciter, Metallica, and The Rods. The Hell on Earth Tour never materialized because of poor ticket sales. [7] To promote Ride the Lightning, Metallica commenced the Bang That Head That Doesn't Bang European tour on November 16, in Rouen, France, with British NWOBHM band Tank as support. The tour continued with dates in Belgium, Italy, Germany, and the Nordic countries to an average crowd of 1,300. After a Christmas break, the group embarked on a 50-date North American tour, firstly as a co-headlining act with W.A.S.P. and then as headliners with Armored Saint supporting. [56] At a gig in Portland, Oregon, Metallica covered "The Money Will Roll Right In" by Fang, with Armored Saint onstage. The American leg ended in May 1985, and the band spent the following two months working on the next studio album, Master of Puppets , whose recording sessions were scheduled to begin in September. Metallica performed at the Monsters of Rock festival held at Castle Donington in England on August 17 in front of 70,000 fans. The band was placed between Ratt and Bon Jovi, two glam metal groups whose sound and appearance were much unlike Metallica's. At the start of the set, Hetfield pronounced to the audience: "If you came here to see spandex, eye make-up, and the words 'oh baby' in every fuckin' song, this ain't the fuckin' band!" Two weeks later, Metallica appeared on the Day on the Green festival in Oakland, California, before 90,000 people. The last show Metallica played before recording began was the Loreley Metal Hammer festival in Germany, headlined by Venom. [7] Metallica finished 1985 with a show at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium on December 29 opening for Y&T, and a New Year's Eve concert at the Civic Auditorium in San Francisco on a bill with Metal Church, Exodus, and Megadeth, the first time Metallica and Megadeth shared a stage. At this gig, Metallica premiered "Master of Puppets" and "Disposable Heroes", songs from the then-upcoming third studio album. [57]

Track listing

All lyrics written by James Hetfield (Kirk Hammett also contributed to lyrics for "Creeping Death"). The bonus tracks on the digital re-release were recorded live at the Seattle Coliseum, Seattle, Washington on August 29 and 30, 1989, and later appeared on the live album Live Shit: Binge & Purge (1993).

Side one
1."Fight Fire with Fire"4:44
2."Ride the Lightning"
3."For Whom the Bell Tolls"
  • Burton
  • Ulrich
  • Hetfield
4."Fade to Black"
  • Burton
  • Hammett
  • Ulrich
  • Hetfield
Side two
5."Trapped Under Ice"
  • Hetfield
  • Hammett
  • Ulrich
  • Hetfield
  • Ulrich
  • Hammett
7."Creeping Death"
  • Burton
  • Hammett
  • Ulrich
  • Hetfield
8."The Call of Ktulu" (instrumental)
  • Ulrich
  • Mustaine
  • Burton
  • Hetfield
Total length:47:25


Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes. [15] [59] [60]





Australian Albums Chart [61] 38
Dutch Albums Chart [61] 20
Finnish Albums Chart [61] 9
French Albums Chart [61] 126
Italian Albums Chart [61] 66
New Zealand Albums Chart [61] 32
Norwegian Albums Chart [61] 40
Swedish Albums Chart [61] 22
Swiss Albums Chart [61] 78
UK Albums Chart [62] 87
US Billboard 200 [63] 48


RegionCertification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA) [64] Platinum70,000^
Canada (Music Canada) [65] Platinum100,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark) [66] 2× Platinum40,000^
Germany (BVMI) [67] Platinum500,000^
United Kingdom (BPI) [68] Gold100,000^
United States (RIAA) [69] 6× Platinum6,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

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Metallica is the fifth studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica. Released on August 12, 1991 by Elektra Records, it received widespread critical acclaim and became the band's best-selling album. Metallica produced five singles that are considered to be among the band's best-known songs, which include "Enter Sandman", "The Unforgiven", "Nothing Else Matters", "Wherever I May Roam", and "Sad but True". A sixth song, "Don't Tread on Me", was also issued to rock radio shortly after the album's release, but the song did not receive a commercial single release. The album marked a change in the band's sound from the thrash metal style of the previous four albums to a slower and heavier one rooted in heavy metal. Metallica promoted the album with a series of tours. In 2003, the album was ranked number 255 on Rolling Stone's 500 greatest albums of all time.

<i>Load</i> (album) 1996 studio album by Metallica

Load is the sixth studio album by the American heavy metal band Metallica, released on June 4, 1996 by Elektra Records in the United States and by Vertigo Records internationally. The album showed more of a hard rock side of Metallica than the band's typical thrash metal style, which alienated much of the band's fanbase. It also featured influences from genres such as Southern rock, blues rock, country rock and alternative rock. Drummer Lars Ulrich said about Load's more exploratory nature, "This album and what we're doing with it – that, to me, is what Metallica are all about: exploring different things. The minute you stop exploring, then just sit down and fucking die". At 79 minutes, it is Metallica's longest studio album.

Megadeth American heavy metal band

Megadeth is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson formed the band in 1983 shortly after Mustaine's dismissal from Metallica. Along with Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer, Megadeth is one of the "big four" of American thrash metal, responsible for its development and popularization. Their music features complex arrangements and fast rhythm sections, and lyrical themes of death, war, politics, and religion.

<i>...And Justice for All</i> (album) 1988 studio album by Metallica

...And Justice for All is the fourth studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica, released on August 25, 1988, through Elektra Records. It is the first Metallica studio album to feature bassist Jason Newsted after the death of Cliff Burton in 1986.

<i>The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited</i> 1987 EP by Metallica

The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited is an EP by American heavy metal band Metallica, released on August 21, 1987 by Elektra Records. It consists entirely of covers of late-'70s and early-'80s new wave of British heavy metal bands and punk rock music rehearsed in Lars Ulrich's soundproofed garage and then recorded in Los Angeles over the course of six days. It is the group's first release following the death of bassist Cliff Burton and the first to feature his replacement, Jason Newsted.

James Hetfield American musician

James Alan Hetfield is an American musician, singer, and songwriter known for being the co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and main songwriter for the American heavy metal band Metallica. Hetfield is mainly known for his intricate rhythm playing, but occasionally performs lead guitar duties and solos, both live and in the studio. Hetfield co-founded Metallica in October 1981 after answering a classified advertisement by drummer Lars Ulrich in the Los Angeles newspaper The Recycler. Metallica has won nine Grammy Awards and released ten studio albums, three live albums, four extended plays and 24 singles.

<i>Cliff Em All</i> 1987 video by Metallica

Cliff 'Em All is a compilation of video footage by the American thrash metal band Metallica. It was released in 1987 as a tribute to Metallica's bassist Cliff Burton, who died in a tour bus accident on September 27, 1986, at the age of 24, near Ljungby, Sweden during the European leg of their Damage, Inc. Tour. Its title is derived from Metallica's debut album, Kill 'Em All. The home video also features a performance with former guitarist Dave Mustaine on March 19, 1983, shortly before his ousting from the band for heavy drug and alcohol abuse.

Fade to Black (song) 1984 single by Metallica

"Fade to Black" is a song and the first power ballad by American heavy metal band Metallica, released as the first promotional single from its second studio album, Ride the Lightning. The song was ranked as having the 24th best guitar solo ever by Guitar World readers.

Master of Puppets (song) single

"Master of Puppets" is a song by American heavy metal band Metallica, released in July 2, 1986 as the only single from the band's 1986 studio album of the same name. It was also issued as a promo single in the US by Elektra Records.

<i>The Metallica Collection</i> 2009 box set by Metallica

The Metallica Collection is a digital box set by the American heavy metal band Metallica. It was released to the iTunes Store on April 14, 2009. The box set features all of the band's studio albums and extra material from 1983 to 2008. The box set was later released to other digital music stores such Amazon MP3 and UOL Megastore.

<i>Limited-Edition Vinyl Box Set</i> (Metallica album) 2004 box set by Metallica

Limited-Edition Vinyl Box Set is a vinyl box set by the American heavy metal band Metallica. It was released on November 23, 2004.

The Kill 'Em All Tour was the first major concert tour by American thrash metal band Metallica. The tour, which was sponsored by their record label, Megaforce Records, was in support of their debut album, Kill 'Em All, released two days before the start of the tour. Metallica supported Raven, Venom and Twisted Sister while supporting acts for Metallica included Anthrax and Armored Saint. Tour setlists consisted of songs off their debut album, cover songs including Diamond Head's "Am I Evil?" and Blitzkrieg's self-titled song, and songs that would be released on Ride the Lightning.


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