Monday, February 24, 1986

Metallica released Master of Puppets: February 24, 1986

Originally posted February 24, 2012.

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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


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