Review Summary: Metallica hit their peak on a fabulous piece of beautifully crafted thrash metal.
Metallica. Perhaps the most influential thrash metal band. They created the genre, a little known fact. Many people consider them to have hit their peak on their third album. I agree with this. The album was entitled Master Of Puppets and contains eight songs of nothing more than thrash metal at its best and most aggressive. Stylistically this was pretty much a superior version of the album's predecessor, Ride The Lightning. The riffs are in the same mid-paced thrashy vein for the most part, the drums are quite simplistic and the vocals are absolute roars of hate. This song even has the token instrumental and ballad that Metallica felt the need to put on many of their early albums.
Each of these songs is a Metallica classic for their own reason. Battery continues their tradition of opening with a acoustic intro that they started on the previous album. It is a fast paced thrash number with some awesome riffing in the verse and one of Kirk's signature pentatonic solos. Following this is the legendary title track. Master Of Puppets has some of the most instantly recognizable riffs in thrash metal, from the chromatically descending introduction to the awesome verse riff. It also has a beautiful clean section in the middle that leads perfectly back into a heavy part with a lightning fast solo. Each of these songs is awesome, but this is probably the best song the band has ever written.
This is an album that is pretty much devoid of any dip in quality. Leper Messiah, the most often maligned track from here, redeems itself with an awesome riff during the chorus. Also worth noting on this song is how bad-ass James sounds when he shouts "bow to leper messiah" and the riff that follows. This is a song that gets too much hate for no particular reason. It is also one that perfectly fits in here. Another song that picks up some criticism off of some people is The Thing That Should Not Be. On this song, the band slows things down a bit and the song drags on for a long time but makes great use of this time. The riffs are ball-breaking, the lyrics awesome and the vocals chaotic.
The performances from each member of the band is awesome here, but they come to a pinnacle on the instrumental song Orion. Cliff Burton has a notorious ego-boosting bass solo here that could perhaps go down in the top 5 Metallica moments ever. Both James and Kirk put in fantastic performances here, with some great riffs that progress marvelously as the song moves forward. The drumming from Lars is something that is pretty well known for not being the best thing ever, but on this album he at least attempts to silence those that would bad mouth him. He uses a lot of double-bass on the faster cuts here, such as Damage Inc which closes the album off brilliantly.
Metallica's Master Of Puppets is just one of those thrash classics that is hard to ignore or deny the power of. The album paces itself brilliantly, knowing when to slow things down with tracks like Leper Messiah. It has a fast as Hell opener and closer, with another really quick track named Disposable Heroes, and even the songs themselves go through numerous speed changes. Damage Inc in particular is one of their best tracks, from the furious riffing to James' angry and aggressive lyrics. This is an album any thrash fan should have heard and should love, and anyone who hasn't heard it needs to do so as soon as possible.