Monday, February 24, 1986

Metallica released Master of Puppets: February 24, 1986

Originally posted February 24, 2012.

image from 100xr.com



Master of Puppets “was the realization of all the promise Metallica, and thrash metal music in general.” GW However, the album’s true testament is that it has been “hailed as a masterpiece by critics far outside heavy metal’s core audience.” AMG

“On their final recording with bassist Cliff Burton (who would die in a tour bus accident) they reinforced everything good about heavy metal (the velocity of the playing, the emotional release of the vocals) while undermining at least a few of the cliches.” TL “Metallica fully recasts metal as thinking-person’s music” TM by expanding “metal’s ritualistic pummeling with music of impressive, even daunting, intricacy.” TM The group effectively plays “metal as modern-day classical music, offering up harmonically and structurally complex arrangements that convey a stunning range of ideas and emotions.” GW

Thematically, the album focues on “the concept of power and abuses thereof.” AZWelcome Home (Sanitarium) is from the point of view of an institutionalized inmate and Disposable Heroes is the perspective of a soldier.” AZ “They also got in digs at…head banging conformists” TL and “primal, uncontrollable human urges” like rage and drug use, such as in the “unmistakably anti-drug” TL title track.





“This eight-song album clocks in at over an hour, which makes it all the more impressive that not one moment on this recording is boring.” AZ “The arrangements are thick and muscular, and the material varies enough in texture and tempo to hold interest through all its twists and turns.” AMG Like predecessor Ride the Lightning, the album was produced by Flemming Rasmussen, who had previously engineered works by Cat Stevens and Bert Jansch. His only “previous heavy-metal production experience lay with Rainbow’s Difficult to Cure (1981), but his uncluttered style is perfect for the visceral assault of Metallica.” TB

It is “thrash metal’s finest moment” GW and has even been called “the best heavy metal album ever recorded; if it isn’t, it certainly comes close.” AMG




Awards:

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Saturday, February 1, 1986

Alan Parsons Project Stereotomy released

Stereotomy

Alan Parsons Project


Released: February 1, 1986


Peak: 43 US, -- UK, 32 CN, 50 AU


Sales (in millions): --


Genre: progressive rock lite


Tracks:

Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Stereotomy [7:15] v: John Miles (1/18/86, 82 US, 5 AR)
  2. Beaujolais [4:27] v: Chris Rainbow
  3. Urbania (instrumental) [4:34]
  4. Limelight [4:39] v: Gary Brooker (4/86, --)
  5. In the Real World [4:17] v: John Miles
  6. Where's the Walrus? (instrumental) [7:34]
  7. Light of the World [ 6:22] v: Graham Dye
  8. Chinese Whispers (instrumental) [1:02]
  9. Stereotomy Two [1:18] v: John Miles
All tracks written by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson. The ‘v’ after the song listing indicates who does lead vocals.


Total Running Time: 41:58


The Players:

  • Alan Parsons (production, engineering, assorted instruments)
  • Eric Woolfson (vocals, keyboards, piano)
  • Ian Bairson (guitar)
  • Stuart Elliott (drums, percussion)
  • David Paton (bass)
  • Richard Cottle (keyboards, synthesizer, saxophone)
  • Gary Brooker, Graham Dye, Steven Dye, John Miles, Chris Rainbow (vocals)
  • The Philharmonia Orchestra, arranged and conducted by Andrew Powell

Rating:

3.190 out of 5.00 (average of 16 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

"The Alan Parsons Project’s conceptual grandeur began to lose its potency right around the mid-‘80's.” AMG On Stereotomy, "one must really pay attention to the profound lyrics and loose structuring of the music to attain the concept that Parsons metaphorically dances around.” AMG “The theme circles around the way in which the modern world molds the personality, the character, and the livelihood of the human being. People are but a slave to their lifestyle and their environment, and they are destined to be thrown into this situation at birth.” AMG

"Stereotomy‘s identity as an album…was so dilute as to be nonexistent…the lack of unity and cohesion means that [this] is merely a collection of good songs and not a work in its own right.” DV "The elegant, Appolonian keyboard-based sound of albums like Eye in the Sky and Vulture Culture was gone, replaced with a drum and bass-heavy throb on the opening track. The production was still crisp and clean, the engineering exquisite,” DV but "in many ways this was the end of any pretensions that Alan Parsons' was progressive rock…this was a stripped down and…almost…funky?…Project.” DV

"John Miles’ angriness on the title track kicks things off, and his forceful voice makes for a passable rock tune.” AMG This time around, the song notched a fitting place on the album rock tracks (#5), but once again was shunned by pop radio, peaking at a mere #82.

This is followed by the "new wave-tinged dance of Beajolais,” DV a decent, but not overly memorable song.

"Limelight is almost Broadway in its sheer power.” DV It is a beautiful song and one of the rare highlights on the album.

"Again with the help of Miles’ assertiveness,” AMG In the Real World is a "vocal standout” AMG and "one of the greatest rock songs you've never heard.” DV This song should have followed “Stereotomy” on to the album rock charts.

"Light of the World is a passionate, powerful ballad about spiritual seeking and longing.” DV

"Two of the album’s instrumentals, Where's the Walrus? and Urbania, conjure up mood and keep the listener slightly poised, causing some musical buoyancy among the blandness of the other tracks.” AMG “The synth-laden wistfulness of Chinese WhispersDV make up the third (!) instrumental on the album.

While The Project’s instrumentals may be a selling point to many fans, the presence of three of them, not to mention a very unnecessary reprise of the title cut, make the album feel lazy. Coupling that with Parsons’ growing weakness for presenting readily apparent concepts well supported by the songs makes for a mediocre effort. "Parsons's genius can be better investigated on numerous past releases, as this album proves to come up short. AMG


Notes: A 2008 reissue included alternate versions of “Stereotomy” and “Light of the World” along with a demo of the unreleased “Rumour Goin’ Round.”

Resources and Related Links:


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 9/23/2021.