(this is a blog entry from another blog of mine now defunct; originally posted 8/25/05)
Master of Puppets (1986)Produced by Metallica and Flemming Rassmussen
One of the best albums ever, in my opinion. This was Metallica when they started to take over the world.I first heard Master of Puppets shortly before the release of ...And Justice For All. A friend of mine loved Metallica and kept telling me to listen to them, but I wouldn't because another friend of mine who was a huge Iron Maiden fan told me they sucked. Eventually I gave in and borrowed a tape of Master of Puppets. I was amazed that something with that much power and heft was coming out of my cheap stereo. For the next two or three weeks I listened to it non-stop, very loud, over and over again. (My father was pissed!)
What struck me about Master of Puppets initially was how heavy and fast it sounded (at least back in 1988 or so when I heard it). The songs seemed very well-developed and not just a collection of melodies (they almost have a narrative drive behind them). And the lyrics were menacing. I loved it.
The work starts off with Battery, one of Metallica's best songs. There is an acoustic guitar which opens the song--kind of haunting--then the loud electric guitars kick off, picking up the same melody. The rest of the song is like a frenzy, with much power and rhythm.The next song is the classic title track. This is one of the songs on the album which seems to have a narrative drive. There is a purpose to the way the song is structured, with a definite opening, middle and end. The solo in the middle is quite lovely and the "cackles of the damned" at the end add a nice touch.Other songs of note: The Thing That Should Not Be has a very menacing, mesmerizing opening and H.P. Lovecraft-inspired lyrics; Disposable Heroes has a great, driving rhythm throughout the whole song--when you hear the song it feels like going to a war; Orion is a great instrumental with a nice little part by Cliff Burton (bass)--very moody song with a lot of different parts to it (I wish Metallica still did instrumentals); Damage, Inc. closes the album on yet another frenzied note, the song is harsh and ugly (I love it!).
Overall Master of Puppets has a sense of menace, madness, and "hell on earth." Plus it still is one of the heaviest albums I've ever heard.
Cover Art:The cover shows a military cemetery with a reddish sky in the background and giant hands in the sky playing with the puppet strings attached to the crosses on the graves. Very doom-laden cover.
Links:Metallica.com--official website http://www.metallica.com/index.aspThe Metallica Club--fan club website http://www.metclub.com/