TITLE: Master of Puppets
YEAR RELEASED: 1986
CHART ACTION: #29 US, #41 UK
SINGLES: Master of Puppets
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The Thing That Should Not Be, Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
LINEUP: James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Cliff Burton, Lars Ulrich
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Their tour-de-force, and quite possibly THE metal album of all time. It’s certainly in the conversation.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: What can you say about this album that hasn’t been said already? Eight standout tracks, all with complicated riffing, the perfect balance of mayhem and control. Add in themes that are universal, and the perfect vocal scream / shout from James Hetfield, and you’ve got near perfection.
The stretch from the title track, to “The Thing That Should Not Be”, to “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” should be what you play to all metal doubters. The versatility, musicianship, feeling, emotion and drive in those songs, one right after another, is among the best stretch in any album ever.
Even the instrumental, “Orion”, isn’t indulgent like many metal instrumentals and is a band showcase that show the strengths of the entire band in composition and playing.
You gotta have this record. Gotta have it, no questions asked.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Sadly, it was during the European leg of the tour for this album that Cliff Burton lost his life in a bus accident.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. There are a couple of live cuts.
GRADE: A+: For me, the key cut is “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”, which shows beauty, emotion and also kicks ass.