Album Review: Master Of Puppets by Metallica

Posted on February 15, 2012 - 10:05pm by Ben Be Jamin

Previous Metallica reviews:

Kill Em' All

Ride The Lightning

Man, 1986 may be the greatest year for the American heavy metal genre. All of the “Big Four” released highly influential and well done albums during this year. Megadeth's Peace Sell... But Who's Buying?, Slayer's Reign In Blood, Anthrax's Among The Living, and lastly Metallica's Master Of Puppets, are all landmarks of the genre in some way, and are some of the bands finest pieces of work. Among all of those, Master Of Puppets may just be the greatest...

Master Of Puppets(1986) by Metallica

I'm not sure what this cover is about. But if I were to guess, I would say it's influenced by the “Disposable Heroes” mentioned in the song of the same name. Anyway, whatever the influence is, doesn't change the fact that it's pretty damn cool looking. I love the way the white cross shaped gravestones contrast the red sky and clouds. Probably my favorite album artwork done by Metallica.

Battery – Metallica

This album is widely considered Metallica's second best album, behind their self titled “masterpiece”. And this common opinion, isn't one without evidence. This album blends the fast, heavier style, with the slower, less heavy type of music, better than Ride The Lightning does. Unlike it's predecessors, most of Master Of Puppets tracks are written like orchestra pieces instead of commercial songs. By like orchestra pieces, I mean they change pace and tone many times throughout a single song, getting softer and heavier on many different occasions(more on this later). The album, in my opinion, sounds a lot faster than it's predecessor. While still not as fast as Kill Em' All, it's still pretty darn fast.

(Kirk Hammett playing Battery)

The band seems more in sync than they did in their previous albums. The compositions are a lot more complicated than before. “Master Of Puppets” and “Orion” are the best examples of this. I can't hum a single part of “Orion” to you because the composition changes so much during the song you that you might only hear one rift once or twice in the entire 8 minutes. “Master Of Puppets” is a often praised as having one of the best guitar solos of all time. While I disagree, it's still top notch. Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield are at their best in this album. Sadly, this album is also the last album to have the fantastic bass player Cliff Burton, for he died in a car crash on a promotion tour for this album. It's a shame too because he's far better than any other bassist they've hired. Lars Ulrich does his job on the drums as well.

Master Of Puppets – Metallica

The subject matter of the tracks are not as clear as the ones in earlier albums. “Orion” is an instrumental, so who knows what it's about. “Master Of Puppets” as James put it, “deals pretty much with drugs. How things get switched around, instead of you controlling what you're taking and doing, it's drugs controlling you.” “Battery” is probably a reference to the term “battery” as in assault and battery”. For the rest, your guess is as good as mine. Although, it is said that the overall theme of this album has to do with control. Which makes sense given the title Master Of Puppets.


Recommendations? All of them with the exception of “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” which isn't as good as the others. My favorites are as follows: “Master Of Puppets”, “Battery”, “Disposable Heroes”, “Leper Messiah” and ”Orion”. My favorite out of the bunch being “Disposable Heroes”.

Disposable Heroes – Metallica's

The Thing That Should Not Be – Metallica

(Oh 80's heavy metal.  How we love you and your rediculous hair...)

Leper Messiah – Metallica

If there's one thing that makes me mad about this album, it is lack of singles artwork.  Oh well, besides this, it's definitely Metallica's finest. I know I said Ride The Lightning was before, but once I listened to this again, I had a change of heart. It also is the last time you will hear bass playing of this caliber on any of their albums.

Rating: 9.25/10


Like last time, I'll end with a wonderfully done instrumental:

Orion – Metallica

After this groundbreaking record, can Metallica without their premier bass player, produce something on the same level as this again? Can they create multilayered compositions as well as they did on this album? Can I stop asking cliché, over dramatic, questions? Find out next time when I take a crack at ...And Justice For All.

Don't be afraid to comment, ask questions, or disagree!


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