Skip to comments.Metallica's Master Of Puppets Turns 25
Posted on 03/04/2011 10:48:23 AM PST by qam1
Considering how immediate the best of it feels, it's always a little bit surprising how well metal music ages. While not everything still sounds fresh, many of the genre's cornerstone releases hold up extremely well. Slayer's Reign in Blood still sounds as fresh and vital as it did when it first came out, and Black Sabbath's Paranoid remains top-shelf. While not all of their albums hold up well, Metallica's Master of Puppets which came out on this day in 1986, a full 25 years ago remains a stone cold classic and an album by which other metal albums should be judged.
The thing that stands out about Master of Puppets all these years later is how hard the whole thing is. Every chord crunch, every drum hit and every bellow from the throat of frontman James Hetfield is jagged and punishing, like the musical equivalent of a steel-toed boot constantly stomping on your face. Even the slower, slightly quieter moments (most notably on "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)") are infused with a snarling menace that permeates everything. Most people consider Metallica's self-titled 1991 album (the one with "Enter Sandman") to be their crossover, but Metallica is a full-on heavy album (a vibe they would inhabit for the remainder of the '90s). Master of Puppets is hard, and in retrospect, it actually does a better job than Metallica of splitting the difference between what the band was (the thrash-happy noisemakers of Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning and ...And Justice For All) and the band they were becoming (a stadium-filling anthem machine of epic proportions).
Indeed, it's the fact that Master of Puppets is so undeniably catchy that stands out more than anything else. Sure, the pounding rhythms of "Disposable Heroes" and the epic shred jam "Orion" are for hardcores only, but "Master of Puppets and "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" are absolute singalongs. You can clearly hear the roots of more obvious crowd-pleasers like "Sad But True" and "The Unforgiven," and it's pretty thrilling to be able to heard a band at the top of its game evolving in real time.
Of course, there's a lot of sadness attached to Master of Puppets, as it ended up being the final album the band recorded with original bassist Cliff Burton, who died in a bus accident on September 27, 1986. A certain era of Metallica was over, and a new one began shortly thereafter with the arrival of bassist Jason Newsted (and the creation of Metallica, of course). There's also an argument that Master of Puppets was the last great metal album of the '80s, which is not unreasonable (although fans of Tesla's The Great Radio Controversy would probably raise a stink). And considering Nirvana's Bleach came out only a year after Master of Puppets, change was already in the air for all of rock music. If Master of Puppets sounds like the end of days and it does that's probably because it sort of was.
I'm with you there. Fortunately, it is also the anniversary of little Stevie Winwood leaving the Spencer Davis Group to begin his years with Traffic and Blind Faith. It is hard to believe he started playing with SDG when he was only 14.
25 years ago, I was blowing my eardrums out with this album.
I still listen to it today.
I also found the orchestral version of this album to be very good as well. It can be found on YouTube.
I like Justice better than Puppets although Puppets is a great album. I thought Black was good and if you just think that it was like a Metallica cover band with some of their own Original hits, it's not bad.
Generals gathering in their masses.
Just like witches, at black masses.
Ozzy really knew how to turn a rhyme ; P
Sarah Palin..."Give me Fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire!!!! Drill BBY DRILL!
Lars is an IDIOT
Mustane is better than Hammett
“One” is there best song
Discuss amongst yourselves.....
“Hey, Im still trying to shake off King Crimson!”
Funny you should say that! One of my most recent CD purchases was the remaster of Larks’ Tongues in Aspic.
25 years? I must be getting old...
But this album STILL packs a mighty punch after all this time.
“Lars is an IDIOT”
What is understood need not be discussed.
“Mustane is better than Hammett”
Only if you like mindless doodling with no discernable melody.
“One is there best song”
No, that would be “The Thing That Should Not Be.”
I only like Justice songs live. For the album Lars was using those awful electric drums, whole freaking album sounds like he’s banging on cardboard boxes with pencils. They’re good songs, but that “tick-tick-tick” drumming is so wrong for metal. When they play the songs live he uses real drums (apparently having gotten over the whole electric thing) and the songs sound like proper metal.
Can’t believe Master is 25. That makes next year my high school 25th. Must be gettin old.
You'll really feel old when you realize that 'Who's Next' and 'Led Zeppelin IV' both turn 40 this year.
I own the album, it’s a classic. But, it’s the only album of theirs that I own. Any suggestions on “must own” albums by Mettalica?
All their songs sound the same.
Wow...I feel old.
UP THE IRONS!!!
Kill ‘Em All (1983)
Ride The Lightning (1984)
Master of Puppets (1986)
...And Justice for All (1988)
Metallica AKA The Black Album (1991)
The Black album in and of itself rocks pretty hard, and if it were any other band’s debut, it would be a classic itself. As it stands its my least favorite album of the ones I have.
After that, nothing worth buying has been released by Metallica.
Mega-dittos to that!
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