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Ride The Lightning Ride The Lightning

Ride The Lightning   Ride the Lightning
  Release Date: August 1984
  Released by: Megaforce & Elektra Records
  Produced by: Metallica
  Recorded at: Sweet Silence Studios, Copenhagen, Denmark
  Chart Position: #100 (USA)
  Album Sales: 5 million (USA)

Line Up:

James Hetfield - Guitar, Vocals
Lars Ulrich - Drums
Cliff Burton - Bass, Background Vocals
Kirk Hammett - Guitar

Tracks:
Song Titles link to the Lyrics.

1. Fight Fire With Fire (4:45)
2. Ride The Lightning (6:36)
3. For Whom The Bell Tolls (5:09)
4. Fade To Black (6:57)
5. Trapped Under Ice (4:04)
6. Escape (4:23)
7. Creeping Death (6:36)
8. The Call of Ktulu (8:53)

Singles:

Fade to Black - Promo released in 1984
For Whom the Bell Tolls - Promo single released with two versions of the song
Creeping Death

Album Notes:

The album was re-released in 1989 and it was remastered in 1995. This is the only album that the band produced themselves.

James: "Overall, I'd have to say Ride the Lightning is my favorite. Kill 'Em All , our first album, was already written when we went into the studio but Ride... was the first next step, when we started to discover the studio and what we could do in it. That was kinda the fun bit, and it still is."

Lyrics and Song Info Lyrics and Song Info

FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE

Fight Fire With Fire is a song about revenge and Armageddon. The focal point of the lyrics is the counter blow of a nuclear war which would cause the end of the world - Armageddon.

Do unto others as they've done to you
But what the hell is this world coming to?
Blow the universe into nothingness
Nuclear warfare shall lay us to rest

Fight fire with fire
Ending is near
Fight fire with fire
Bursting with fear

We all shall die
Time is like a fuse, short and burning fast
Armageddon's here, like said in the past

Fight fire with fire
Ending is near
Fight fire with fire
Bursting with fear

Soon to fill our lungs, the hot winds of death
The gods are laughing, so take your last breath

Fight fire with fire
Ending is near
Fight fire with fire
Bursting with fear

Fight fire with fire

Fight

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RIDE THE LIGHTNING

The lyrics of Ride The Lightning are written from the perspective of someone who is forthcoming the death by electrocution although he didn't commit the crime.

In an interview in a Guitar Magazine James said: "I believe in capital punishment, but it was more about the idea of being strapped in the electric chair even though you didn't commit the crime."

Guilty as charged
But damn it, it ain't right
There's someone else controlling me
Death in the air
Strapped in the electric chair
This can't be happening to me

Who made you God to say,
I'll take your life from you?

Flash before my eyes
Now it's time to die
Burning in my brain
I can feel the flame

Wait for the sign
To flick the switch of death
It's the beginning of the end
Sweat, chilling cold
As I watch death unfold
Consciousness my only friend

My fingers grip with fear
What am I doing here?

Flash before my eyes
Now it's time to die
Burning in my brain
I can feel the flame

Someone help me
Oh please, God help me
They are trying to take it all away
I don't want to die

Time moving slow
The minutes seem like hours
The final curtain call I see
How true is this
Just get it over with
If this is true, just let it be

Wakened by horrid scream
Freed from this frightening dream

Flash before my eyes
Now it's time to die
Burning in my brain
I can feel the flame

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FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

The song is about a scene from the Ernest Hemmingway novel where one morning five soldiers were taking a position on a hill and they get killed by an air strike.

The lyrics of the song are based on the same titled Ernest Hemmingway novel, For Whom The Bell Tolls which is about an American who is given the job of taking out a bridge held by the Fascist army in the Spanish Civil War - the precursor to the World War II. He fell in love and then found out very disturbing things about life and death.

Make his fight on the hill in the early day
Constant chill deep inside
Shouting gun, on they run through the endless gray
On they fight, for they are right, yes, but who's to say?
For a hill, men would kill. Why? They do not know
Suffered wounds test their pride
Men of five, still alive through the raging glow
Gone insane from the pain that they surely know

For whom the bell tolls
Time marches on
For whom the bell tolls

Take a look to the sky just before you die
It's the last time he will
Blackened roar, massive roar, fills the crumbling sky
Shattered goal fills his soul with a ruthless cry
Stranger now are his eyes to this mystery
He hears the silence so loud
Crack of dawn, all is gone except the will to be
Now they see what will be, blinded eyes to see

For whom the bell tolls
Time marches on
For whom the bell tolls

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FADE TO BLACK

The song's subject matter is about loosing the will to carry on. The song was written by James just after the band's equipment was stolen at a show in Boston, MA in 1984. Among all the stuff which has been stolen was a Marshall amp, which was very valuable to the band. They had to search two continents for a replacement amp with quite the same sound. The song has to do with loosing gear and finding a way to keep on moving. Therefore the song has been interpreted to be about a person who decides that suicide is the solution.

Life, it seems, will fade away
Drifting further every day
Getting lost within myself
Nothing matters, no one else

I have lost the will to live
Simply nothing more to give
There is nothing more for me
Need the end to set me free

Things not what they used to be
Missing one inside of me
Deathly lost, this can't be real
Cannot stand this hell I feel

Emptiness is filling me
To the point of agony
Growing darkness taking dawn
I was me, but now he's gone

No one but me can save myself, but it's too late
Now I can't think, think why I should even try

Yesterday seems as though it never existed
Death greets me warm, now I will just say goodbye

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TRAPPED UNDER ICE

The song is a nightmarish epic that uses a person simultaneously drowning and freezing to death to symbolize a person who is living zombie-like, burnt out and perhaps even drug addicted.

I don't know how to live through this hell
Woken up, I'm still locked in this shell
Frozen soul, frozen down to the core
Break the ice, I can't take anymore

Freezing, can't move at all
Screaming, can't hear my call
I am dying to live
Cry out
I'm trapped under ice

Crystallized as I lay here and rest
Eyes of glass stare directly at death
From deep sleep I have broken away
No one knows, no one hears what I say

Freezing, can't move at all
Screaming, can't hear my call
I am dying to live
Cry out
I'm trapped under ice

Scream from my soul
Fate mystified
Hell forevermore

No release from my cryonic state
What is this? I've been stricken by fate
Wrapped up tight, cannot move, can't break free
Hand of doom has a tight grip on me

Freezing, can't move at all
Screaming, can't hear my call
I am dying to live
Cry out
I'm trapped under ice

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ESCAPE

The song is about an escaped prisoner on the run which can also be interpreted as an escape from everything which is preventing you from doing what you want to or even from being as you want to be.

Feel no pain, but my life ain't easy
I know I'm my best friend
No one cares, but I'm so much stronger
I'll fight until the end

To escape from the true false world
Undamaged destiny
Can't get caught in the endless circle
Ring of stupidity

Out for my own, out to be free
One with my mind, they just can't see
No need to hear things that they say
Life's for my own, to live my own way

Rape my mind and destroy my feelings
Don't tell me what to do
I don't care now 'cause I'm on my side
And I can see through you

Feed my brain with your so-called standards
Who says that I ain't right?
Break away from your common fashion
See through your blurry sight

Out for my own, out to be free
One with my mind, they just can't see
No one to hear things that they say
Life's for my own, to live my own way

See them try to bring the hammer down
No damn chains can hold me to the ground

Life's for my own, to live my own way
Life's for my own, to live my own way

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CREEPING DEATH

Metallica was inspired by the second half of Charlton Heston's film The Ten Commandments which is based upon the bible tale of the plagues which bestowed upon the Egyptians.

Throughout the song there is made mention of more of the ten plagues. There is the line "Blood running red and strong, Down the Nile." This is the first of the ten plagues. The Final darkness is also made mention of in the song.

The title of the song was created when, while watching the movie, bassist Cliff Burton stated "Whoa, that's like creeping death!"

Slaves
Hebrews born to serve, to the pharaoh
Heed
To his every word, live in fear
Faith
Of the unknown one, the deliverer
Wait
Something must be done, four hundred years

So let it be written, so let it be done
I'm sent here by the chosen one
So let it be written, so let it be done
To kill the first born pharaoh son
I'm creeping death

Now
Let my people go, land of Goshen
Go
I will be with thee, bush of fire
Blood
Running red and strong down the Nile
Plague
Darkness three days long, hail to fire

So let it be written, so let it be done
I'm sent here by the chosen one
So let it be written, so let it be done
To kill the first-born pharaoh son
I'm creeping death

Die by my hand
I creep across the land
Killing first-born man

Die by my hand
I creep across the land
Killing first-born man

I
Rule the midnight air, the destroyer
Born
I shall soon be there, deadly mass
I
Creep the steps and floor, final darkness
Blood
Lamb's blood, painted doors, I shall pass

So let it be written, so let it be done
I'm sent here by the chosen one
So let it be written, so let it be done
To kill the first-born pharaoh son
I'm creeping death

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The Call of Ktulu

A reference to H.P. Lovecraft's fictional character Cthulhu features a riff which was written by Dave Mustaine while he was a member of the band, which he later used in the Megadeth song "Hangar 18", from Rust in Peace.

Instrumental

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