Ride The Lightning – Metallica

Writing this in the middle of a spell of self-isolation is strange. I’m not sure if I’m going to write a communication covering what I think of the current Covid-19 nightmare we seem to be in. I’ve started writing something, not sure it’ll be coherent at all. Anyway, back to what I think about Ride The Lightning.

This album is a MONSTER. It’s raw and powerful.

  • Fight Fire With Fire – amazing opening track Lovely.
  • Ride The Lightning – possibly about being electrocuted in the chair. I don’t know, I don’t listen to lyrics.
  • For Whom The Bell Tolls – look, it has a bass guitar melody. What more do you need. Brilliant song.
  • Fade To Black – what all the latter Metallica songs are based on and they can fuck off. This is an amazing song.
  • Trapped Under Ice – freezing. Dying. Horror.
  • Escape – Possibly the least interesting song on here. But it’s still good.
  • Creeping Death – Jesus, this is an amazing song. One of the times I saw Metallica they opened with this and it is a stunning song. Die, Die, Die, Die, Die.
  • The Call Of Ktulu – an instrumental. Still great. SR was playing this once on the balcony of her holiday apartment in the Canary’s and it got strange looks. I don’t know why it’s genius.

This is an amazing album and it has that power to keep being great all this time later. I won’t pass on any of these songs when they crop up.

Master Of Puppets – Metallica

It’s hard to write about an album which affected me so much. There are a few that have had that effect and the first three Metallica albums definitely gave me something new from music. This was a new style for me, I expect I listened to this in the late 80s after getting into Iron Maiden and AC/DC. The sounds of this album and the thematic experience were beyond my then understanding of what heavy metal was.

I used to think that Metallica took the “chug” sound and made it into a note. They took melody and turned that into rhythm. It felt like a whole new way of writing music and it shook me [but not all night long].

For music to be where it is today you have to have all the bands who now bore me. You have to have the big four. Without them music would be different. Although someone else would have got there, I’m not obsessive enough to think that the creativity of humans is so poor that only a few people are capable of changing the world. If not Metallica then another band. If not Picasso then another artist. That seems quite logical to me.

Every song on this album is an artwork. It is a classic. This is an album that should be owned and played by all. It’s stunning. Yet, now, it bores me. My music has moved on and while I can appreciate this album for the genius that it is I rarely play it and consider it almost a part of history. I would rarely seek this album out. I still play AC/DC and some other bands so I’m not sure what it is about this that does that.

If you asked me to list the top ten metal albums I don’t think this one would make it for me. I’d rather have the first Metallica album. I understand that is a controversial choice and I also understand why but the first album is raw. This album is somewhat polished and I’m not so keen on that sound. Which is ironic given my current propensity for electronic industrial music!

Go listen to this. It’s a classic. It’s just history now.

Kill ‘Em All – Metallica

I’ll keep posting album reviews here while I suffer from such anxiety and anger about the current state of politics in this country and the world. The entire Brexit bullshit needs to be mostly ignored else I’ll get too worked up and angry about it all. An electorate who were lied to with illegal spending and Russian money voted to leave an organisation it knew mostly nothing about because of a systematic campaign over thirty years by right wing newspapers to remove cooperation and friendliness between countries. If you aren’t sure about that last bit then have a look at this website. It’s a list of all the lying claims by the UK press.

Now it’s time to be happy about reviewing this album. This album starts a small series of “Kill” albums that are bloody amazing and ground-breaking. Kill ‘Em All is the fist studio album by a tiny band called Metallica and while they are shit now this collection of songs is bloody amazing. The sheer raw power and energy in the songs is more than in anything else they have produced. It is probably something to do with Dave Mustaine having helped write a lot of it. Once you get to the Black Album it’s all gone wrong. I’ll review that one in about a year I guess.

I was asked recently what is the last decent Metallica song. I took some time and went with “Harvester Of Sorrow”. The question asker plumped for “Shortest Straw”. Fair play. Blackened is also a choice for that but the rest of “Justice” aren’t that good.

Back to “Metal Up Your Ass”. This album, in my view, helped create thrash metal as a genre and introduced chugging as a “note” to be used below lyrics rather than the swinging bouncy guitars used by Iron Maiden.

Hit The Lights – starts with a crash ending of a song and I’ve always loved that. It’s hard and busy.

The Four Horsemen – smashes you in the face with it’s blistering pace and makes you want to rush into the pit.

Jump In The Fire – would be great to sing out loud. It’s got a good moshing pace and plenty of Hetfield trademark “yah!”.

Pulling Teeth – blows my mind. The noise and cacophony that Burton pulls from the basss guitar makes me smile and wonder at the talent. When Ulrich enters the drums create a rhythm perfectly matched that gives a good swing to this bass solo.

Whiplash – I can remember playing this at top volume in school. We were in the sixth form and there was a music box in the common room, which was opposite the staff room. We would open the windows, put Whiplash on full volume and leave the common room leaving the music playing as loud and obnoxiously as possible to the staff trying to enjoy their break time away from those pesky kids. Fast, heavy and a standard song in thrash. Seeing Newstead play this at Download in 2013 was brilliant.

No Remorse – chugs away with a canter. Brilliant. No regrets.

Seek and Destroy – I don’t think you can get better on this album than this song. It’s my favourite and I love it. I once saw Metallica at Milton Keynes bowl and I think the concert was broadcast live on Radio 1. I got a friend to record it from the radio for me and the version they played there crunched away in my head for years. Brilliant.

Metal Militia -we all are aren’t we? Why don’t normal people “get” this music? Why is it that when you play metal to someone who doesn’t understand you can hear their brains pop? You can see the disconnect in their minds as they struggle with the noise. I’ve tried to persuade people to metal over the years and now I don’t bother. I’ve tried playing aggrotech to people but they don’t get that either. It’s all fine by me. Being at a music festival with eighty thousand people all enjoying the same music gives a kinship.

Garage Inc – Metallica

I do own both CDs of this double album, but I have no idea what is on the first one. I didn’t want to listen to it. I was more interested in having a digital version of Garage Days Re-Revisited. I used to listen to a tape of these songs when I was younger and I was always impressed by the songs and the sound. The songs are cover versions, played to introduce Jason Newsted to the band.

Garage Days Re-revisited:

  • Helpless (Diamond Head)
  • The Small Hours (Holocaust)
  • The Wait (Killing Joke)
  • Crash Course In Brain Surgery (Budgie)
  • Last Caress / Green Hell (Misfits)

All of these are great songs and I am happy to have seen Diamond Head play and also Killing Joke.

Other songs of note on this CD are:

  • Am I Evil?
  • Blitzkrieg
  • Breadfan
  • The Prince
  • So What

The rest are boring.

All of these written in this communication are worth listening and playing over and over obnoxiously loud.

Mentallica – The Intrepid Fox

Went with Smith to see Mentallica play last night at The Intrepid Fox [there used to be a link here, but the pub/venue is demolished for railway, it is no more] in London (St Giles High Street).

So, it was a tiny venue and packed with metal fans. Brilliant. The music was loud and heavy. All in all it was an enjoyable evening. I wanted more kick from the bass drum and “Hetfield”‘s guitar was rather quiet. The snare sounded quite “St Anger” and that can’t be good. So, apart from some minor points I rather enjoyed the whole thing.

The big problem is that Metallica or any other band of that type are rather safe nowadays. They used to be rebellious and dangerous but I don’t think they hit the mark any more. Slipknot and Rammstein filled that bill for a little while but now my allegiances have moved towards EBM and Industrial. See a future communication about what I feel about this.

It’s quite weird going from a small quiet leafy village in Kent to the bustling metropolis of London and seeing how busy everything is all around the clock! I used to live there and have forgotten what it’s like.

We had a Chipotle burrito for dinner and I really enjoyed mine. Seemed good value and vaguely healthy. Smith suffered with his! Oh dear.

. . . And Justice For All – Metallica

This is the first album by Metallica that I really heard. I was in the lower sixth form at secondary school and was already into Iron Maiden and AC/DC. Someone introduced me to the song “One” from this album and I never looked back. I have a copy of “One” the single on music cassette (cassingle) the cover of which might have a burn hole in it!

This was Metallica’s first studio album since their bassist, Cliff Burton, died. Although they released an EP and it had a good mix with the bass nice and loud this album turned Jason Newstead down. You can barely hear him. It’s a shame as he’s a good player.

“Blackened” is your classic metal/thrash environmental protest song. Hey, it happened a lot in the 80s, we were concerned about that sort of thing. Not that anyone actually did anything. It’s surprising how far humans have come in the last 30 years. Now we have people denying it actually is happening!

The song “. . . And Justice For All” is alright but I find the opening quite childish. “One” is brilliant although just an updated “Fade To Black”. I really like “Harvester of Sorrow”, just really appreciate its pace and riffs. The last three songs I can live without. I’m pretty sure they only wrote “Dyers Eve” so that they still sounded fast. The problem is the best songs are written at the end of your teenage years and after that it’s all about growing up! The anger gets replaced with money and comfortableness!

It’s not a bad album and not Metallica’s worst but it’s not in the top four.