This month of March sees the anniversary of Metallica’s Master of Puppets album, one of the most influential heavy metal albums to grace the 80’s.
At the time of its release in 86, this LP could be bought in the U.K for £5.49, on vinyl or the cassette version such as mine here. Pic below.
The format of LP & Cassette propelled Master of Puppets up the U.K charts at number 41 and peaking at 29 on the American Billboard charts. This was done before the band ever released a single or video.
I remember when I first heard this album, especially first track Battery, I was not readily prepared for it. Why? Because at the time it was all the rage to listen to Guns n Roses and Def Leppard. Motley Crue, Wasp & other glossy ‘hair metal’ bands. The M.O.P. record had such a dense sound in its production I had never heard before. Corrosive battery acid riffs with such gravity & nothing committed to tape since on a ‘Tallica album. Now 30 years on it is one of the most worthy albums in my collection, and you know the old question that, if you were to live on a desert island which albums would you take? Well, this one would firmly be clenched in hand to go along with GNR’s Appetite For Destruction.
Master Of Puppets:Tracklist
As an opener goes this one nails it. Talk about calm before the storm. From the acoustic tones that prelude into a thrashtastic assault on the senses. Like a wind-up music box getting shot-gunned into a crescendo of frantic speed.
Master Of Puppets:
The title track is the one all metal players want to learn. To get the spider riff on the fret board isn’t easy for beginners, and to get it right it’s down picks all the way! Good luck with that.
The Thing That Should Not Be:
Like some ominous and gargantuan beast hunting the depths of the Abyss. This one has depth & crushing heaviness with the hypnotic power of slowing down.
Welcome Home Sanitarium:
Like Fade To Black previously on second opus, Ride The Lightning & one is the closest Metallica have come to stepping into ballad territory. Hetfield sings emotively. Big clean sections shimmering away before we take a suffocating journey into a heavily medicated mental institution. Nice.
From the scattered artillery fire palm mutes to the adrenaline rush of Hetfield’s battle cry “I was born for DIE’ YEEEN”, This one grimly reminds us of the futility of young men sent out over the trenches amidst the madness of war.
Like some biblical story as titles go, & the tempo change in the middle is mint.
Instrumental track from the four horsemen. Featuring one hell of a Bass solo, and that’s not to mention the guitar one too!
Another battery to bookend the album with another assault on the senses at the end of the masters album. It’s a damn good ear-bashing to close the album with more aggression than it started.
Master In The Making: Some Facts.
The album was written in a two bedroom bungalow in the East Bay City of El Cerrito, San Francisco. Dubbed the ‘Metallica Mansion’ this place was a dive. Here at 3132 Carlson Boulevard and then owned by Exodus manager Mark Whitaker, Metallica penned their finest work to date. Set amidst a scene of porn and crushed beer cans the place stunk to high hell.
The property had been occupied by the Hetfield & Ulrich since February 1983 and was the scene to Metallica’s very first practice session with late Bassist Cliff Burton.
Most of the record was written in the pre-summer months of May & June Before they accepted to play at England’s Monsters Of Rock Festival on August 17th 1985. Yikes, that’s 31 years ago! If you want to check out A 20th Anniversary Tribute Album for Metallica’s Master Of Puppets released free with Kerrang Magazine then read this.