Metallica – Ride the Lightning vs. Master of Puppets

Metallica – Ride the Lightning vs. Master of Puppets
or: Why “Ride” is the better record.

Cover artwork

Ride the Lightning captivates in beguiling blue, but Master of Puppets’ cover is so iconic that the point goes to “Master“.

Ride: 0 Master: 1

Intro

The intro to “Fight Fire with Fire” is a permanent part of my life, and since I heard it when the first snow fell in 1985, I always think of this epochal album when I hear snow.
Musically, the intro to “Master of Puppets” is even more exciting and dramatic. This point also goes to “Master”.

Ride: 0 Master: 2

First song

“Fight Fire with Fire” or “Battery”? A decision is not possible, both get one point.

Ride: 1 Master: 3

Second song

“Master of Puppets” is better composed, but “Ride the Lightning” is harder and more dramatic.
One point each for both.

Ride: 2 Master: 4

Third song

“The Thing that Should Not Be” is awesome, but “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is one of the greatest band anthems.
One point for “Ride”.

Ride: 3 Master: 4

Fourth song, the ballad

“Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” is great, but “Fade to Black” is godlike.
One point to “Ride”.

Ride: 4 Master: 4

Fifth song, opener of the B-side.

“Trapped Under Ice” goes off like a rocket, but “Disposable Heroes” is then an angry, desperately accusatory work of absolute excellence.
Point to “Master”.

Ride: 4 Master: 5

Sixth song, the “Filler”.

Of course, if we’re talking about a weaker song here, that means these two songs would only get 10 out of 10 points, not 11 out of 10.
“Leper Messiah”, despite its lengths, is better than “Escape” with its inexplicable drumbeats beside the line, though.

Ride: 4 Master: 6

Eighth or seventh song, the instrumental.

“Orion” is breathtaking, sombre and touching. However, it is no match for the song of the century “Call of Ktulu”, perhaps the best Metal instrumental in 200,000 years of human history.

Ride: 5 Master: 6

Seventh or eighth song – what’s left over

“Damage, Inc.” is cool, but “Creeping Death” is one of the greatest band anthems ever.
I was in Lisbon at a Workers’ Party street party. What did the band play there? Of course “Creeping Death”, not “Damage, Inc.”!

Ride: 6 Master: 6

Sound

The very compressed sound on “Master of Puppets” really gets on my nerves and doesn’t stand a chance against the unpolished brute sound of “Ride the Lightning”.

Ride: 7 Master: 6

Overall impression

Two milestones, two adorable works of the century.
But the raw elemental power and impetuosity of “Ride the Lightning” was lost afterwards.

Ride: 8 Master: 6

So the winner is clearly “Ride the Lightning”!
“Kill Em All” I love idolatrously, but I didn’t rate it here, as I only wanted to review the two albums that compare so closely.
“… And Justice For All” would very well be comparable, but for me it falls completely out of the running due to its long-windedness and cheekiness towards Jason.
“Metallica” is a great, fantastic heavy rock hit album, but doesn’t fit in this place.
All the other albums are far from brilliant, but they are also quite good; I listen to them once or twice a year. All of them, including “Lulu” and “St. Anger”. They are not that bad.

(merula)

Die Apokalyptischen Reiter – Soft & Stronger


Die Apokalyptischen Reiter – Soft & Stronger
Ars Metalli
40:02 min
Reiter Metal

The story of the best band begins with a horse whinny, and that’s a good thing.
Sure, before that there was a spectacular demo and a story about the actual formation of the band that was as coincidental as it was endearing and worth believing, but a horse whinny plus bass guitar tones introduce the album that paved the way for the Thuringian formation to a world-spanning career.
“Iron Fist” shows the way, but it’s not until the next song “The Almighty” that the equestrian folk pull out all the stops: varied, hefty and crude death metal with epic interludes, classical piano passages and, above all, the ingenious, defining alternating vocals between deep growls (Eumel) and deviant screeching (Skell).
The wild hunt continues with “Execute” and “Downfall” up to “Metal will never die”, one of the greatest hymns to metal itself. Unfortunately, not everyone understood at the time that the song was meant just as seriously as similar songs by Manowar and thought it was all an annoying joke. Mendacious lot – like listening to “Fast as a Shark” with the corners of your mouth hanging down at the disco at the weekend!

In this early phase, of course, the band didn’t play as mature and balanced as they did from the 2000s onwards, often hacking away wildly, but that was exactly what was so extraordinary about this unique combo: In a world where you thought everything about Black, Death, Heavy, Thrash, Speed Metal had already been said, four guys impetuously pushed their way from their rehearsal room straight to the front row, on and on. Impressive to this day – and in this one certain way also their best album. Revolutionary.
It couldn’t be duplicated, and the clever Reitervolk knew that, and from then on they followed a path of metallic vicissitudes that can be perceived as ingenious or exhausting, depending on taste, but never as mediocre.

(merula)