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NOD TO THE GODS: Metallica, ‘Fight Fire With Fire’
April 13, 2014
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Each and every Sunday night when the clock hits eight, The Strombo Show takes over CBC Radio 2. It's music for music lovers by music lovers. To kick off the program, we always tip our hats to the legends, the noisemakers and the ground-breakers in a segment that we like to call: Nod to the Gods.

It was 30 years ago in the summer of 1984 that Ride The Lightning, Metallica's sophomore record, dropped. With distortion and raw power, James Hetfield barked about nuclear annihilation and the world in the moments before the nuclear apocalypse. If you were a cold war kid, you'd know exactly what that felt like. 

Produced by Flemming Rasmussen, who went on to produce Master of Puppets and ...And Justice For All, Ride the Lightning was the last album to feature former lead guitarist Dave Mustaine in the credits. Although he was kicked out of the band prior to the recording of their debut album Kill 'Em All, his songs managed to creep through their early discography. Last season, Mustaine reflected on his career with Megadeth, religion and his political beliefs, in the red chair.

The phrase "fight fire with fire" has a long history. Shakespeare used the idea back in the 16th century in King John:

Be stirring as the time; be fire with fire;
Threaten the threatener and outface the brow
Of bragging horror

Although the Bard might have been among the first to put the notion on paper, he didn't use the exact phrasing that has become so common. The current version is believed to date back to 19th-century settlers in the United States, who attempted to guard against grass or forest fires by deliberately setting small controllable fires.

There have been countless tributes to Metallica — like the Polish death metal band Vader or classically trained cellists like Apocalyptica. One spoken word tribute in particular poignantly captures the feeling of the song. In 2009, when Metallica were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Flea, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, delivered a memorable speech chronicling the band's history and impact. After their performance, Metallica were joined by Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Ronnie Wood and Joe Perry of Aerosmith to cover Train Kept A Rollin.

For further musical musings, new and old, join the collective for The Strombo Show on CBC Radio 2, every Sunday night at 8PM. And if you'd like to catch up or relisten, all of the episodes are archived here.


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