By Justin Stockton
As Metallica were riding high on “Ride The Lightning” they were suddenly in a world full of competing thrash metal bands in 1985. During this year, Anthrax released “Spreading the Disease”, Slayer would release “Hell Awaits” easily their most Black Metal sounding album at the time and Megadeth would even release their debut record. Thrash metal indeed was hugely on the rise and the public were heavily taking notice. Metallica decided to trudge on and record their third record entitled “Master of Puppets” which was released March 3rd, 1986. How did this record standout among the countless Thrash metal acts at the time and how did Metallica expand upon their formula into this album? Lets find out.
1.Battery-Opening similarly to how “Fight Fire With Fire” did, this track ops for a more Spanish guitar opening to it and it really builds to the real draw to this song. The sheer power the band lets off is amazing and the production is actually a bit slicker than the previous two records as well. The bridge in the middle is very well done as well and overall makes this an extremely heavy and catchy opener. Believe it or not this was the first Metallica song I have ever heard and what a way to be introduced to this band.
2.Master Of Puppets-Quite possibly Metallica's most famous song, I mean do I even have to talk about it? We've all heard it and we know why it is a classic. It is a well written Thrash Metal track that has one of the catchiest chorus' in history.
3.The Thing That Should Not Be- This is probably the heaviest song on the album as it stays at a mid pace but the down picking riffs are just skull crushing. I like the clean to distortion segments in every verse as well it adds an interesting element. The solo I really dig to it just sounds so evil to me I love it.
4.Welcome Home(Sanitarium)- Like “Fade To Black” this song has more of a ballad feel to it with a lot of softly driven guitar parts. The chorus is again very catchy and the end of the song turns into full on speed metal. Absolutely classic in every way.
5.Disposable Heroes- My favorite song on the album for the sole reason that it is a marathon to listen to. Seriously, I don't think Metallica wrote faster song than they did on this album. The chorus is one of my favorites by the band as well for the sheer power you get from it. One of their heaviest songs too.
6.Leper Messiah-This song is very mid paced as well but with a speed metal segment more in the middle toward the end. The guitar riffs I always hum when I listen to this song because they are so damn catchy to my ears. This is another example where the mid pace makes the song sound a lot more heavy as well.
7.Orion- The second instrumental that Metallica had done as a whole at this point and is my favorite that they had ever done. I like that Cliff has probably the most standout parts as well especially in the slower bits with him playing these intricate bass lines that really add to the song. He even gets a full on bass solo as well. I feel like this was a fitting way for Cliff Burton to go out on. Even if he decided to leave the band it would have been a perfect swan song to what he is known for today.
8.Damage Inc.- The final song on the album and I dont know why but the opening always made me think of a Vietnam or world war II documentary for some reason. But anyways, This song literally grabs your ears, rips them off and burns them to a crisp. It is heavy and extremely fast and done with such precision as well. This is a perfect song for arguably Metallica's heaviest output at this time to go out on.
Overall, I give the album a solid 9.5 out of 10. I loved this record the day I first heard and it and I still love it now. Even though I prefer the production on “Ride The Lightning” as well as the songs overall, this album is still solidly written and there is a reason it is regarded as a classic as well. Unfortunately this would be the last album featuring Cliff Burton before he would be tragically killed in a bus accident. Later in '86 we would see the introduction of Flotsam and Jetsam bassist Jason Newsted, and their next output entitled “...And Justice For All” in 1988.
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