Metallica. The biggest metal act pretty much ever. You’d have to be living under a rock beneath a cement slab with a building built on top of it not to know this band. They launched metal in the 1980’s in a period where rock n roll was defined by big haired leather pants glam and created one to the most devoted fan bases a band has ever known.
MASTER OF PUPPETS, the third album of the quartet who at that stage consisted of James Hetfield (principle songwriter & rhythm guitar), Kirk Hammett (lead guitar), Cliff Burton (bass) and Lars Ulrich (drums), represents a band at their absolute prime. It displays not only an aggressive technical virtuosity but also showcases a flair for disciplined and powerful riff writing which still resonates today.
From the blistering opener of BATTERY to the ripping closer of DAMAGE INC you’re in for a 55 minute musical experience that embodies everything that gave metal movement of the 1980’s such power. Tackling topics such as addiction, alienation, mental illness, war and isolation in the big machine of the modern world MASTER OF PUPPETS is as powerful now as it was when it exploded on music scene back on February 24, 1986.
This is a must have album and to further attest to its endurance MASTER OF PUPPETS is featured in TIME’s All Time Top 100 albums, is forever turning up in Metallica set lists (The title track MASTER OF PUPPETS is their most played song live) to this day and is widely regarded by fans globally as their best album.
Hetfield, Hammett, Burton and Ulrich pay no notice to the rock sensibilities of the time, the shortest song is 5 mins 12 with the average length running between 6-8 minutes. It also features one of the best instrumental tracks around (and a personal fave) ORION, an 8 minute atmospheric interlude, whilst also freely allowing huge guitar solos throughout its songs. This isn’t simply verse-chorus-verse. This is a showcase of musical phrases expertly crafted and powerfully delivered.
The album went 6 times platinum in the United States and Canada whilst also going platinum here in Australia. What makes this all the more impressive is that at this point in time Metallica were never played on commercial radio nor did they have any music videos. All they had were are devout legion of fans and live show pedigree that couldn’t be matched.
If you haven’t heard this album then you’re in for a real treat. It still sounds like it was made today. If you haven’t heard it in a while then welcome back to MASTER OF PUPPETS…