Monday, February 24, 1986

Metallica released Master of Puppets

Master of Puppets


Released: February 24, 1996

Charted: March 15, 1986

Peak: 29 US, 41 UK, 52 CN, 33 AU

Sales (in millions): 6.0 US, 0.3 UK, 10.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: metal


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

  1. Battery [5:13] (8/5/86, --)
  2. Master of Puppets [8:36] (7/2/86, 35 US, 22 UK, 32 CN, 19 AU, 21 DF)
  3. The Thing That Should Not Be [6:36]
  4. Welcome Home (Sanitarium) [6:27] (10/30/86, --)
  5. Disposable Heroes [8:17]
  6. Leper Messiah [5:40]
  7. Orion (instrumental) [8:27]
  8. Damage, Inc. [5:32]

Total Running Time: 54:47

The Players:

  • James Hetfield (vocals, guitar)
  • Kirk Hammett (guitar)
  • Cliff Burton (bass, backing vocals)
  • Lars Ulrich (drums)


4.387 out of 5.00 (average of 21 ratings)


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

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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First posted 2/24/2012; last updated 11/30/2022.

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