Ride the Lightning was where Metallica really became Metallica. James Hetfield’s vocals were more nuanced and confident, and thanks to a sympathetic producer (Flemming Rasmussen) and input from Cliff Burton and Kirk Hammett, the band’s music achieved a greater depth, complexity and power, with tracks like “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “The Call of Ktulu” and “Fade to Black” demonstrating that there was more to Metallica (and to thrash metal, in general) than just pushing the boundaries of speed and volume. Dan Epstein
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