METALLICA's Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett spoke to RollingStone.com about the band's classic sophomore album, "Ride The Lightning", which celebrated its 30th anniversary this week. Asked if METALLICA was trying to do something different, musically, after 1983's "Kill 'Em All", Ulrich replied: "It was the first time that the four of us wrote together and we got a chance to broaden our horizons. I don't think it was a conscious effort to break away from anything musically. Obviously, listening to songs like 'Fight Fire' and 'Trapped Under Ice', we were obviously still into the thrash type of stuff. But we were realizing you had to be careful that it didn't become too limiting or one-dimensional."
He continued: "All four of us were so into so many different things. And 'Kill 'Em All' was primarily written with James [Hetfield, guitar/vocals] and I and [Dave] Mustaine [former METALLICA and current MEGADETH mainman]; so Kirk and Cliff [Burton, late METALLICA bassist] didn't really contribute to any of the songs on 'Kill 'Em All'. 'Ride The Lightning' was the first time that both Cliff and Kirk got a chance to add what they were doing. They just came from a different school, especially Cliff, who came from a much more melodic approach."
Kirk spoke about the fact that riffs from songs by his previous band, EXODUS, "Die By His Hand" and "Impaler", found their way into "Creeping Death" and "Trapped Under Ice", respectively. "What I think happened was when Lars and James were thinking about getting rid of Dave [Mustaine], our sound guy, Mark Whitaker — who was EXODUS' manager — gave them EXODUS' demos," Kirk said. "I think 'Die By His Hand' might have caught their ears. So when they were writing 'Creeping Death', they went, 'Great. 'Die By His Hand'. Put it right there.' It was definitely not me going, 'I have a riff here in this EXODUS song, and it needs to be here in this METALLICA song.' By the way, I wrote that 'Die By His Hand' riff when I was, like, 16 years old."
Ulrich also talked about the initial response to "Ride The Lightning" from METALLICA's hardcore fan base, a portion of which was less than pleased with the more melodic nature of some of the material on the record.
"There was an odd reaction to 'Fade To Black' and to the variety of the record," Lars said. "It did surprise us a little bit, I guess. People started calling us sellouts and all that type of stuff. Some people were a little bit bewildered by the fact that there was a song that had acoustic guitars. That was kind of funny because every great BLACK SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE, IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, MERCYFUL FATE record, that was part of their arsenal, too. The fact that we followed down that path surely couldn't have surprised anybody."
Thirty years later, "Ride The Lightning" "holds up very well," said Lars. "There's kind of a youthful energy that runs through the record. [laughs] A good portion of these songs are still staples of our live set. And between 'For Whom The Bell Tolls', 'Creeping Death', 'Fade To Black' and 'Ride The Lightning', that's not a bad batting average."
Read more at RollingStone.com.