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4.53 | 296 ratings | 20 reviews
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Album · 1986

Filed under Thrash Metal


1. Battery (5:11)
2. Master of Puppets (8:38)
3. The Thing That Should Not Be (6:39)
4. Welcome Home (Sanitarium) (6:27)
5. Disposable Heroes (8:21)
6. Leper Messiah (5:42)
7. Orion (8:27)
8. Damage, Inc. (5:31)

Total Time: 54:59

Expanded Edition CD 1 - The Original Album Remastered

Expanded Edition CD 2 - Riffs, Demos, Rough Mixes & Interviews:
1. Battery (Early June 1985 Demo) (4:42)
2. Master Of Puppets (Late June 1985 Demo) (8:21)
3. The Thing That Should Not Be (September 1985 Drum Room Demo) (6:22)
4. Welcome Home (Sanitarium) (Late June 1985 Demo) (9:02)
5. Disposable Heroes (May 1985, Writing In Progress II) (5:42)
6. Leper Messiah (1985, From James' Riff Tapes II) (0:56)
7. Orion (November 1985, Work In Progress Rough Mix) (8:23)
8. Damage, Inc. (1985, From James' Riff Tapes) (1:55)
9. The Money Will Roll Right In (Work In Progress Rough Mix) (2:58)
10. The Prince (Work In Progress Rough Mix) (4:50)
11. Metal Madness Magazine Interview With Cliff by Scott Heller (19:30)

Expanded Edition CD 3 - Live From The Damage, Inc. Tour:
1. Battery (Live) (4:40)
2. Master Of Puppets (Live) (8:25)
3. For Whom The Bell Tolls (Live) (5:15)
4. Ride The Lightning (Live) (6:16)
5. Welcome Home (Sanitarium) (Live) (6:00)
6. The Thing That Should Not Be (Live) (6:16)
7. (Anesthesia) - Pulling Teeth (Live) (2:58)
8. Damage, Inc. (Live) (4:07)
9. Fade To Black (Live) (6:33)
10. Seek & Destroy (Live) (6:18)
11. Creeping Death (Live) (6:03)
12. The Four Horsemen (Live) (5:01)
13. Am I Evil? (Live) (3:38)
14. Whiplash (Live) (4:44)


- James Hetfield / Rhythm Guitar & Vocals
- Kirk Hammett / Lead Guitar
- Cliff Burton / Bass
- Lars Ulrich / Drums

- Jason Newsted / Bass, Backing Vocals (Expanded Edition CD 3 tracks 4, 5, 10 and 12)
- John Marshall / Rhythm Guitar (Expanded Edition CD 3 tracks 3, 13)

About this release

Release date: March 3, 1986
Record label: Elektra/Vertigo
Producers: Flemming Rasmussen and Metallica
Cover Art: Don Brautigam
Cover Concept: Metallica and Peter Mensch
Mixing: Michael Wagener with assistance from Mark Wilzcak.
Engineered by Flemming Rasmussen with assistance from Andy Wroblewski.

Expanded Edition with 3 CD's released on November 10, 2017. Deluxe Edition Box Set listed as a separate entry under reissues & compilations.

Thanks to metalbaswee, Pekka, adg211288, diamondblack, Unitron for the updates


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One of those albums you know upon first listen as a masterpiece. Now, I’m going to start off by saying it’s only my second favorite Metallica album, and I wouldn’t put it anywhere near my favorite metal albums of all time or anything. There are hundreds of bands out there that cater to my taste more than Metallica – probably a hundred Thrash bands alone.

The thing is, this album just has that sort of magic anyone can identify. Dare I say, a sort of objective quality that one can appreciate, if there was such a thing. This is one of the closest albums I’d award the term flawless to. It’s not that every song is a 5-star masterpiece, however, there simply aren’t any glaring, or even hidden, flaws. The musicians, as always, are fantastic; the dual guitars deliver a combination of incredible riffs and solos, the bass gets time to shine, and Lars on drums sounds better here than he ever had before or would since. James sounds fantastic, using his melodic singing more here than before (and acing it) while still giving us a healthy dose of aggressive yelling. The lyrics here are all great too, referencing literature, war, mental illness, and more.

The music itself is very consistent for an album that mixes a lot together. There is pure heavy, thrashing aggression; there is slow, moody darkness; there are even emotionally compelling and beautifully melodic moments. Every song is a complete package with tons of great riffs, solos, and a couple have complete mood/tempo changes. Despite this, they are all very memorable and deliver something unique. No one can go wrong with this album when looking for a masterpiece.
‘Master of Puppets’ is without a doubt one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time. Taking what they started on ‘Ride the Lightning’ and pumping it full of steroids, this takes all the best elements of Metallica's previous album and magnifies it a thousand times over, firmly placing Metallica amongst metal's royalty.

A nice combination of heavy and melodic, ‘Master of Puppets’ mirrors its predecessor very closely, but at the same time it manages to maintain its own identity. Opening track ‘Battery’ is very similar to ‘Fight Fire with Fire’, starting with a nice clean guitar harmony, followed by riffs of complete chaos that'll destroy all your senses. ‘Welcome Home (Sanitarium)’ takes the ballad concept started on ‘Fade to Black’ and pushes it further than anyone thought possible, and ‘Orion’ is a nice eight minute instrumental that can go toe to toe against ‘The Call of Ktulu’ any day.

Despite the similarities, ‘Master of Puppets’ shows a band becoming more mature with each release. The lyrics are even more grim and darker than before, and the song-writing, especially on tracks like ‘Master of Puppets’ and ‘Welcome Home’, shows a band that has developed closer over the years to become as tight as they can be, with Hetfield and Hammett's guitars working in perfect harmony with Burton's bass-lines and Ulrich's (somewhat limited) drum skills.

Often cited as the single greatest metal album in history, it’d be hard to disagree.
Vim Fuego
Listening to ‘Master of Puppets’ for the first time is something of a rite of passage for metal fans. Do you remember the first time you listened to it? I do. I even know the date- January 16th, 1990. I wrote the date on the cassette cover. It was a day to remember. It was the day I first encountered a metal legend.

I’d spent most of the previous year wearing out my copies of ‘…And Justice For All’, ‘South of Heaven’ and ‘So Far, So Good…So What!’, but I’d never heard ‘Master of Puppets’. I’d heard the hype about it, but didn’t really believe it. Sure, ‘…And Justice For All’ was amazing, but there’s no way Metallica could have recorded another album to rival it. It would have to sound something like Iron Maiden or Motley Crüe, or just be disappointing. Was I fucking clueless, or what!

Do you know that feeling you get when you’re hoping something will be good, expect it to be disappointing, and then get blown away when it surpasses even your wildest dreams? That was and is ‘Master of Puppets’. Those calm, relaxing classical acoustic chords are so familiar, but even on a first listen, decades past, it was obvious they would be body-slammed by something heavy. And it happens, a pay-off beyond belief for that sweet anticipation, with those first crushing chords and booming drums. “Battery” is fast, heavy, and James Hetfield’s vocals are clarion clear. Kirk Hammett’s solos are sparing, and get the air-guitar fingers twitching, until he busts loose with some of thrash metal’s most vital shred in the final third of the song.

“Master of Puppets” blasts in, in a similar vein to “Battery”, but just a touch slower. The somewhat oblique lyrics of the first verse lead into one of the best choruses in all of metal. And then just when you think the song is going to be a headlong charge from beginning to end, a desperate chant of “master, master” breaks down into a semi-acoustic, mellower section. And this is what lifts this album far above the masses. The contrast gives the heavier sections so much more weight. The dynamics and song construction are judged to perfection. Add in the sub-sonic rumble of Lars Ulrich’s double kick-drums, and then Kirk’s distinct solo. And you didn’t even notice that song was eight and a half minutes long.

The H.P. Lovecraft-inspired “The Thing That Should Not Be” thunders like the Great Old One Cthulhu himself. The simple mid-paced riff is a blueprint for what Metallica did five years later to such great commercial success on the self-titled black album. However, this song is also a million miles removed from any possible suggestion of mainstream ambitions. It is simply too heavy and crushing, and Hammett’s counterpoint guitar is too jarring.

“Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” starts like many a power ballad, until Hetfield starts singing. Power ballads are usually about love lost and lamented, not minds twisted and tortured. The melodic initial verses build, until the plaintive cry of “just leave me alone!” evokes a feel of pathetic desperation. What started as a gentle, calm song has shot off on a psychotic tangent, escalated into an almost uncontrolled avalanche of schizophrenic paranoia.

“Disposable Heroes” crashes straight in , with a chunky, yet understated riff, but hints at further violence to come. It does, in some of the most vicious, wrist snapping blasts Hetfield’s rhythm guitar has ever produced. That’s not to say this song is all about speed. The vocal melodies are simple, yet memorable, emphasising the powerful anti-war lyrics, which decry the dehumanizing effect of unthinking military discipline.

“Leper Messiah” is another huge beast of a song, pounding away like an old fashioned mining trip hammer, smashing the hypocrisy of televangelist preaching. The chant of “lie, lie, lie!” echoes the “Die, die, die” of “Creeping Death” from the ‘Ride the Lightning’ album.

“Orion” is Cliff Burton’s song. Yes, there’s some great leads on it from Kirk, and James’ riffs are as powerful as ever, but if you ever get the chance, find a recording of just the bass track. This goes above and beyond what any other metal bass player was doing at the time. The psychedelic trippiness of the song should seem strange on a hard driving metal album like this, but it works. Don’t try to fathom why, it just does. There is no loss of momentum, and no urge to skip the lengthy instrumental, and is an incredible set-up for the last thrashing dash of “Damage Inc.”

“Damage Inc.” is a good old fashioned thrasher. It’s a fast, heavy adrenaline rush, violent and simple. The big finish, with no drawn out fucking around, leaves you wanting more. And that is the sign of a great album. The moment it’s finished, you want to play it again.

‘Master of Puppets’ remains Metallica’s most accessible thrash album. It proved very difficult for Metallica to follow up. Cliff Burton was tragically killed six months after its release, which derailed the band in more ways than one. ‘…And Justice For All’ followed two years later, ostensibly following and evolving from what Metallica had produced here. While many appreciate it for being the powerful album it is, it left many fans scratching their heads, with its over-long, cryptic songs, and its dry, almost bass free sound. It was perhaps Cliff’s influence which had kept Metallica grounded, despite the fact he was musically the most adventurous of the quartet.

The legacy of ‘Master of Puppets’ continues to this day. It still inspires young musicians to pick up instruments to try to emulate their heroes. For older fans, beyond the reach of hero worship, ‘Master of Puppets’ is still just a joy to listen to. It is an old friend which never lets you down.
You might be surprised, but I never knew anything about progressive rock or progressive music until 2010. Yes, after 28 years of listening to various kinds of artists I had only ever heard the term “progressive rock” mentioned by Dr. Evil’s son, Scott, in an Austin Powers movie. But once I understood what it meant to play progressive rock or progressive music, I soon thought that Metallica should be included and the album that made me think so was “Master of Puppets”.

I was introduced to Metallica sometime during ‘84/’85 and thought that “Ride the Lightning” was the coolest album I had ever heard since Judas Priest’s “Screaming for Vengeance”. So, when a friend of a friend told me and said friend that the new Metallica album was out and let us listen to the beginning of “Leper Messiah”, I was thrilled and dying to get a hold of the album. In fact, for two weeks until I could purchase my own copy, the main riff to “Leper Messiah” refused to fade from my memory.

“Master of Puppets” was and is such a wonderful step in the evolution and progression of Metallica’s early music. “Kill ‘em All” was delightfully speedy and thrashy with a rawness that was meant to deliver this new development in metal with full intensity. “Ride the Lightning” featured acoustic guitar and a step forward in music complexity. “Master” proved to be not only heavier but more mature and more sophisticated than its predecessors. For me, this is the ultimate Metallica album.

“Battery” told you right from the start that this was “Ride the Lightning” Metallica with the heaviness turned up and all the fury and intensity still faithfully loaded. But it was the stunning title track that exhibited the band’s song-writing skills at their height. The song is masterfully constructed with an intro to blow you out of the water and a riff that should be one of the coolest in 80’s metal. The song cruises rapidly as you’d expect from thrash but with the balls to keep the pace less break neck enough for you to follow the lyrics, which I have always somewhat proudly interpreted as a song warning of the hazards of cocaine use. Hey, when parents in the eighties were constantly on about how heavy metal was turning their kids to drugs, my friend and I (neither of us ever touched anything stronger than cough syrup and only in the recommended doses) were right proud to point out the meaning of the lyrics.

Then there’s this totally unexpected slow down with clean guitar and Kirk Hammett plays this melodic solo that is truly beautiful. A guitarist once told me that the key to great solos was not shredding or blazing through some tricky technique, but rather playing something along with the melody of the song. Hammett establishes a melody on the lead and then solos over where the melody is established to be. In the “Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage” movie, Hammett talks about Alex Lifeson’s phrasing on “The Villa Strangiato” and how it impressed him. He certainly learned from it as Hammett pulls off some great melodic solos on this album, the first of the better ones to be heard here on the title track. The song goes on to build in tension and intensity and after a fiery thrash-shred solo, the song returns to the main riff with bludgeoning brutality. It’s an awesome thing. Hammett said of Rush’s “2112” that it took him on a journey. Well, I feel that Metallica accomplished creating a journey here on the song “Master of Puppets”.

“Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” is another song that has its own structure and story in the music. By the end of side one, I feel that Metallica worked hard to create individual songs that could each stand up on their own, and they did so on “Master” better than on “Ride the Lightning”.

“Disposable Heroes”. I was surprised to find out this song is over eight minutes long. Back in the cassette days, we didn’t care about song length so much. You had your three-digit counter that had nothing to do with keeping time. Heck, I didn’t know that “Child in Time” was over eleven minutes or that Pink Floyd’s “Dogs” was over 17 minutes. They were just songs that had in them what they required to be what they were. They were complete as they were and the time length wasn’t a concern for us. So side two opened with another thrasher but in parts that were not just verse/ chorus but actually introduced two contrasting choruses. One sang from the field commander’s perspective as he shouts to the young soldier to get out and die: “Back to the front / You will do what I say when I say / Back to the front / You will die when I say you must die”. The other sang from the remorseless, matter of fact send off of the deceased soldier: “Soldier boy made of clay now an empty shell / 21 only son but he served us well / bred to kill not to care / do just as we say / finished here, greetings Death / he’s yours to take away”. Writing about the waste of life in war is nothing new but metal bands had and have a way of being very cynical, honest, and at times ironic in how they deliver their message about the wastefulness of human life in war.

The song with the unforgettable riff, “Leper Messiah” was next. A funny thing, I was listening to this song on my Walkman for the first time in the dark of one early morning as I delivered newspapers and suddenly I heard the voice counting in the song and it startled me. I froze in my tracks and scanned the darkness, searching for the person who was possibly calling out to me. But it was just the cassette. Man, I still love this song, even though the theme is another fairly common metal target: evangelism that encourages cash for God’s favour. It brings to mind Rainbow’s “Man on the Silver Mountain” at least in lyrical subject.

Then comes the fantastic instrumental, “Orion”. Introduced by a growling organ sound with a drum beat driving along, the music turns heavy with a thunderous riff and then goes thrash. In the middle, it all breaks down to a slow and mysterious segment with an almost sexy guitar solo that could work for a strip tease if it were longer. The music remains melodious with more of that moving lead guitar work. Then a bass solo by that incredible musician who was Cliff Burton. The music returns to its thundering thrash riff again in the last minute.

At last, after such a memorable journey through what surely must be called progressive thrash metal to be understood clearly, we close the album with a bass solo performed by volume dial adjusting and then enter the intense thrash tune that is “Damage Inc.” What a fine way to end the album, bookended by two very heavy and blistering tunes.

I actually had a ticket to see Metallica on the “Master of Puppets” tour but James Hetfield broke his wrist skateboarding and the show was cancelled. Then later they had their tragic bus accident that killed Cliff Burton. When they finally came to Vancouver, Burton was no longer among them, and I couldn’t attend the concert anyway. The next best thing was going to collect the newspaper delivery monthly fee from a customer on my route, who played the drums, and meeting his friend who played guitar. The two of them performed “Master of Puppets” for me, a flawless and jaw-dropping performance, right in the drummer’s living room. As far as I could tell, they totally nailed it. All I knew was the main riff and I couldn’t play it fluidly.

Speaking of drumming, one thing that I have noticed in recent listens is Lars Ulrich’s drumming. The 1980’s had a lot of stale drumming, just a steady 4/4 beat with a drum fill coming in just ahead of the chorus or at the end of a solo. After all the creativity and skill that developed in drumming throughout the sixties and seventies, the eighties seemed to drive it all into flatline. But what I hear on “Master of Puppets” at least is how Ulrich’s drumming is used almost instead of a lead guitar. For example, in the title track or in the rhythmically un-complex “The Thing That Should Not Be”, when the guitars are chugging along steadily and without variation, the drums will add some colour with some well-placed hits on the toms and a cymbal crash. It would be easy to imagine throwing in some lead guitar notes or other effects, but Metallica use the drums to spruce up these parts. This had me playing closer attention to these two songs as I listened to them today and I realized how Ulrich was skipping beats in places only to add a double beat after or some slightly more complicated drum bit. It just struck me as using the drums to more creative effect, in a more progressive approach than a standard song would have.

After 30 years now almost, this album still stands out for me as one of the best examples of a metal album of all time. And one of the things I admire most about it is the high level of musicianship coupled with the advanced thinking toward song structure and melody, something that most thrash bands of the day would not have dared to attempt.
siLLy puPPy
This is largely regarded as a masterpiece and all I have to say is that not only is this third release from METALLICA cutting edge in progressively advancing thrash metal into the limelight but also deserves some credit for forwarding the doom aspect of metal. I can't think of anything more Sabbathy than the depressingly downtuned intros to “Battery,” “The Thing That Should Not Be,” and “Welcome Home.” Although doom metal was taking root in bands like Pentagram and Candlemass, it was METALLICA who really brought the sound to the masses which contributed to its expansion in the 90s. Phenomenal album that everyone already knows about unless you live on Mars or something.
It's hard to talk about a masterpiece like this because it feels like everything has already been said, and I would just be adding different ways of saying "I like it", and "it's so awesome, dude." But I will say, from the standpoint of a Progressive Metal fan, if you are into Progressive Metal and you haven't heard this album, GO LISTEN TO IT. Stop what you're doing. Right now. This is historically one of the albums from which Progressive Metal spawned. It is the inspiration behind, and influence of, some of the most well known Progressive Metal bands. If you want to understand how Progressive Metal came about, listen to this album.
Master of Puppets represents that tantalisingly brief moment in time when Metallica attained a perfect balance of thrashy aggression and bombastic pomp to create a fusion greater than the sum of its parts. This is evident right from the start of the opening track, Battery, with its martial march giving way to a furiously angry thrash workout, and persists through to the end, with the prog-metal instrumental Orion giving way to album closer Damage Inc. in a final one-two punch. Truly a peak both of Metallica's career and of the mid-1980s thrash scene as a whole, this one must surely compete with Slayer's Reign In Blood for the title of best and most influential thrash metal album ever.
In many ways Master of Puppets is the perfection of the epic metal ambitions of Ride The Lightening. A personal preference for the latter makes me rate this one just a tad lower, but obviously this is an exceptionally strong album from the days when Metallica made really exciting music.

Again, the most convincing songs sit in the first half. Master Of Puppets especially is a outrageous riff-onslaught. It’s ambitious, inspired and a truly masterful composition with variation, balance and powerful riff progressions. This sure is leagues above their humble Iron Maiden meets Motörhead beginnings. Also The Thing and Welcome Home are essential and decidedly progressive songs.

The second side fails to maintain the same level of excellence and is the main reason for chopping off one star. The instrumental Orion should not be overlooked though, especially not by Prog Metal fans.
Continues with excellence

Master of Puppets is the next step in the development of Metallica as one of the main bands in thrash metal. The genre of the album is pure thrash metal as the predecessor - Ride the Lightning. And yet both albums are different to each other, despite the same genre. In Master of Puppets the sound is more compact and homogeneous, while in Ride the Lightning it is more scattered. It's hard for me to judge which's better, but I suppose I slightly prefer Ride the Lightning.

There aren't weak songs here on Master of Puppets as in Ride the Lightning. Probably the musicianship here is in its peak for the band. Album is less progressive than its predecessor, but contains the instrumental Orion, which is a reminder of prog music. Because of its importance, Master of Puppets is slightly overrated in my opinion, because I don't think it's the best metal album, but yet landmark in metal music. After this album Cliff Burton passed away in accident and the other members have produced the real magnus opus of Metallica - ...And Justice for All! Master of Puppets - around 4 stars!
The Angry Scotsman

Battery. Begins with some wonderful acoustic guitar and melody before the thrash begins. Aside from a small break with melody this lasts for most of the song. One of the better solos from Kirk is in this song, and this is a rare song of good drumming from Lars, (who is merely adequate in my book). Really great song.

Master of Puppets. The title song is pretty much a mid tempo song. There is a beautiful melodic section in the middle. It builds to a more shred solo from Hammett. The songs ends well enough.

The Thing that Should not be. A slower song, it has some cool sounds as well as nice slow heaviness, but overall is just kind of boring. One of those infamous Metallica songs that just goes for too long.

Welcome Home (Sanitarium). My favorite song on the album. A slow, ballad-esque song with some just great melody in it, and James' vocals are great as usual, really works in this song.

Disposable Heroes. A nice contrast with the previous song, this one is quite thrashy and tells the story of our youth going off to die in war. Some of the best vocals on the album as James shouts, "You will do, what I say, when I say, back to the front! You will die, when I say, you must die, back to the front!" Powerful.

Leper Messiah. A slow, heavy churning song that peaks, then takes us back with a chuggy outro.

Orion. A very intriguing song, and perhaps the most progressive on the album. Quite a journey, though a bit too long.

Damage,Inc. Starts off nice before slamming us with non stop, no mercy thrash metal till the end!

Overall, a great album. As with all of Metallica's work James is the unsung hero. His rhythm guitar work is really the backbone of the album, and his vocals are superb. As usual Kirk is good, showing his shred capability but also melodicism. Lars is mediocre, not good nor bad but he gets the job done at least. Cliff is good, but I don't hear the bass too much. Frankly, he impresses me more as a musician than virtuoso anyway.

Like all their works, "Master of Puppets" is greater then the sum of its parts. Metallica's stability and musicianship make this album so great. A classic metal album that is one of the best examples of musicianship. A great blend of thrash metal and progressive rock that is done quite well. Only real knock is that some parts simply drag on for too long.

Four and a Half Stars

Members reviews

Metallica's legendary "Master Of Puppets" is without the glimpse of a doubt a record any true metal maniac should sooner or later have in his or her collection. Without questioning the great status of this record, I must though admit that the record has always been a little bit flawed by the fact that it is a weaker copy of the groundbreaking previous "Ride The Lightning" album. Still, the quality of this copy has a standard of the grandest kind but this is the reason why this record is only very good but not excellent to me.

The song structures, the way the track list is composed and even some topics are comparable on both records and each one has some advantages and disadvantages. As both albums are very similar, I think that a direct comparison makes a good sense for this special and exceptional occasion.

Let's start with the positive facts first. The title track "Master Of Puppets" is better than the great thrash metal anthem "Ride The Lightning" because of its more progressive structure, its well developed details and its epic length. Still, both tracks are close to perfection in their unique ways and essential moments of thrash metal. The great and often underrated epic thrash monster with interesting lyrics called "Disposable Heroes" easily beats its direct concurrent from the "Ride Of Lightning" record which is "Trapped Under Ice". A third definite highlight of "Master Of Puppets" is the very diversified and addicting instrumental track "Orion" that never bores for a second and surpasses the very solid but not outstanding "The Call Of Ktulu" from Metallica's second strike.

On the other side, I think that the mad thrashing head bang monster "Battery" lacks of some kind of fond atmosphere which "Fight Fire With Fire" had on the previous record. It's the same thing as one compares the great "The Thing That Should Not Be" with the even greater and more atmospheric doom thrasher "For Whom The Bell Tolls". It's a very tough decision to choose between the hypnotizing and slightly psychedelic "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" and the beautiful half ballad with acoustic parts which was "Fade To Black" but the latter one has the certain plus of magic and experimental courage for that time which the other doesn't have. Another tough decision is the duel between "Leeper Messiah" and the underrated and often criticized "Escape" that sounds maybe too commercial and chorus orientated for some thrash metal hardliners. It's not because of pure opposition that I would go for the latter one but because I think that the song is simply different, more unique and more addicting. Finally, I think that "Damage, Inc.", a solid but not outstanding track overall, is beaten by one of Metallica's classics to me which is "Creeping Death".

In the end, "Ride The Lightning" wins my direct comparison with five to three points after all but it's really a close ride and both albums are exceptional. On the other side, for the first and only time, Metallica didn't try out something new between two albums and stagnated on a very high level after all. That's why I think that "Ride The Lightning" should inherit the status of a cult classic in a fair world and not the slightly overrated "Master Of Puppets". Nevertheless, both albums are milestones I don't want to miss that rotate quite often in my sound system when I need a good dose of some classic but already quite complex, elaborated and maybe even progressive thrash metal. Let's also add that the authentic production and the great vintage cover artworks are the best Metallica have ever done to date and add a little supplementary bonus to the powerful spirit of the music.
Battery has a beautiful acoustic guitar opening. Good shock effect when it changes. Then exemplary thrash metal. Same goes for Master of Puppets until the middle section which is great. By contrast The Thing That Should Not Be is slow and heavy – love it. Nice opening and a lighter approach for Welcome Home (Sanitarium). Another good track. Half way through it gets heavier and faster. Disposable Heroes takes up where the previous track left off. A good start then more exemplary thrash. Leper Messiah is slower but still thrashy. But then Orion – a masterpiece – enough said. A different start for Damage Inc then more thrash. Not my favourite Metallica album but clearly seminal.
The album Metallica will be remembered for for the rest of existence. This is a great album but does slump a little more than Ride the Lightning which only did once(Escape) with this one they slump twice(The Thing that Should Not Be and Leper Messiah). Battery, The Title Track, and Damage Inc. are all great songs but this album doesn't seem much difference between this and the previous album. Overall, a great album but not really a favorite or standout to me. 4 and a half stars. Highlights: Battery, Master of Puppets, Welcome Home(Sanitarium), Disposable Heroes(underrated classic), and Damage Inc.
Master... Masterpiece...

I start saying that I'm not a fan of Metallica. I grew up listening to their 90's material and I never dig into them. Just too much of showing off personalities and Hetfield voice was too plain for me. BUT, when I explore the band better, is undeniable why they are one of the main references to most of the metal bands of this generation. And to be honest, this is really THE metal masterpiece, the reference to whoever wants to make metal. So, lets see.

Everything you expect from metal is there: heavy and tight guitar riffing, many great and fast guitar solos, "in your in face" attitude, dark themes, heavy and loud songs, soft and dark passages, just everything in the right place and quantity.

One thing is undeniable, Hetfield is the best riffing guitar player in history. All his riffs are memorable and I don't know if he have a robotic arm but it's impossible to play that fast, that accurate, that creative and still sound great. The rest of the band is really on the level. Remember this is the last album before the death of Cliff Burton. The highlights of the album are Master of Puppets, Disposable Heroes, Damage Inc. and the great moody instrumental "Orion".

I really recommend this album to anyone who wants to understand why Metallica is so important to music in general. This is the album that explains it all. The only things that I don't like from the album is Hetfield voice, which is always the same, he is not a great vocalist and the sound quality is too rough, but that's the way of metal. Not too sharpy or "beauty", the goal is the attitude and the music. Of course we are talking of 1986, and the sound is not that great, but the quality of the songs are all over it.

If you haven't heard this album and you think you are a metalhead, you should check it out... you can't pass by with out hearing the masterpiece of metal. 5 stars... period...
Back in 1986, when “Master of Puppets” was released, the music market was flooded with so-called ‘thrash metal’ outfits, who seemed to compete with each other for the award of fastest band on the block. Frantic, furious riffing underpinned by relentless double-bass drumming, aggressive, in-your-face vocals often reminiscent of punk, violent, apocalyptic lyrical themes, and cover art veering from the gothic to the positively shocking…. In spite of the enduring popularity of heavy metal in the mid-Eighties, nothing produced in the past could effectively be compared to the sonic onslaught wreaked by bands whose very names seemed to embody the nature of the music they played: Anthrax, Slayer, Exodus, Megadeth….

Hailing from the Bay Area, in those days a veritable cauldron seething with talent, right from the start Metallica seemed to stand out from the pack. Their line-up stabilized after the entry of lead guitarist Kirk Hammett (who replaced the volatile genius that was Dave Mustaine), they had already produced a near-masterpiece in their second album, “Ride the Lighting”. Young, hirsute and loud like their myriad contemporaries, more than competent at their respective instruments, but certainly no virtuosos (with the notable exception of bassist Cliff Burton), they had nonetheless a depth to them which went beyond the explosion of pure energy that characterized the whole genre. The lyrics to “Ride the Lightning”, dealing with the last moments of a man sentenced to the electric chair, were a gigantic leap forward from the nihilistic fury displayed on their debut album, “Kill’Em All”. Metallica were not afraid to show that they had brains as well as brawn.

The cover of “Master of Puppets” immediately sets the scene. No gory, tasteless vignettes (like their debut album), no dragons or monsters, no sci-fi scenarios - only a bleak expanse of white crosses held by almost invisible strings projecting from the band’s monolithic, ominous logo. None of the eight tracks lasts under 5 minutes, making the album one of the longest ever released at the time. Clocking in at almost 55 minutes, it marks a sharp contrast with other masterpieces of that era, such as Megadeth’s “Peace Sells…. But Who’s Buying?” and Slayer’s “Reign in Blood” - both around 30 minutes in length. Like most milestone albums, it is not 100% perfect, but its strengths definitely outnumber any weaknesses it may possess.

As my readers may know by now, I set a lot of store by an album’s opening and closing tracks, since in many cases they are the ones that (even though for different reasons) will most impress the listener. Much like Rush, Metallica seem to specialize in extremely strong, memorable openers, while the closers are sometimes a bit hit and miss – and “Master of Puppets” is no exception. The aptly-titled “Battery” first deceives the listener with its acoustic guitar intro, then launches into a full-tilt assault on the ears powered by manic, razor-sharp riffing, machine-gun drumming, and Hetfield’s fearsome bark. The title-track is one of three 8-minute-plus tracks that display the band’s more authentically progressive bent, with plenty of instrumental twists and turns, changes in tempo, and even classical breaks. Two slower numbers follow: “The Thing That Should Not Be” has a plodding, Sabbath-like pace that reinforces the Lovecraft-inspired lyrics, though in my view it is not as successful as the instrumental “The Call of Ktulu” in conveying the same atmosphere of underwater terror; wile the mournful “Welcome Home Sanitarium”, with its slow, melodic introduction building up towards a heavier crescendo that reflects the anguished lyrics, closes the former A-side of the album.

The second part of the album opens with “Disposable Heroes”, possibly my favourite song on the album, mainly on account of its strongly anti-militaristic lyrics. Those who think heavy metal is only about Satan and wild sex should listen to this song, particularly the scathing chorus… “You will do/What I say/When I say/ … You will die/When I say/You must die… You coward, you servant, you blindman.” Hetfield bites off the words, and the crushingly heavy, oppressive riffing matches the mood of the song to a T, while the guitar solo at the end injects some beauty in this landscape of bleakness and despair. The other highlight of the former B-side (and probably of the whole album) is the 8-minute-plus instrumental “Orion”, a fully progressive offering full of melody and interesting textures, providing Cliff Burton (who would tragically die soon after the album’s release) with plenty of opportunities to display his skills as a four-stringer. On the other hand, “Leper Messiah” and closer “Damage Inc.” come across as the weaker links in the chain, though they detract in no way from the overall strength of the disc.

A landmark album indeed, and influential way beyond the restricted confines of speed/thrash metal, "Master of Puppets" can also be considered one of the cornerstones of progressive metal. Even a cursory listen of any Dream Theater album will reveal the overwhelming influence of “Master of Puppets”. However, unlike the New Yorkers and their countless followers, Metallica were never interested in displays of technical skill to the detriment of the songwriting. The dense, claustrophobic atmosphere of this album rings authentic, bolstered as it is by lyrical themes that sound much closer to gritty reality than anything penned by DT or any of the bands following in their wake. “Master of Puppets” cannot by any means be called virtuosic, but everything about it screams ‘masterpiece’.

I bought this album when it first came out, and I have loved it ever since. Unfortunately, I am aware that many people will not go beyond that ‘metal’ in the band’s name when approaching it, therefore denying its status of masterpiece not only of heavy metal, but of rock music as a whole.

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