Metallica
Master of Puppets


5.0
classic

Review

by Brendan Schroer USER (129 Reviews)
February 17th, 2018 | 482 replies


Release Date: 1986 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Is something controlling you?

There’s something about Master of Puppets that you may not catch the first time around, or perhaps even the tenth time around, but it’s something that’s always present. In fact, you could practically slap the “concept album” label on it because of this. And what would “this” be" Control. Control. As if the album title didn’t outline that fact enough, nearly every song exhibits the theme of control in some way, whether it’s “Leper Messiah”’s expression of control through religion and televangelism, or it’s the title track’s condemnation of the tight grip drug use can have on a person. The reason I bring this up is because the theme lends itself to how well-constructed Master of Puppets is. Metallica’s 1986 effort truly is one of the most well-rounded and tightly-arranged thrash albums you’re likely to hear, which is pretty damn amazing considering its 55-minute runtime. While the first two records’ tracklists felt much more arbitrary with song placement, Master of Puppets seems consciously constructed to be played from start to finish so you experience the fullest extent of its dense songwriting and flirtations with progressive rock. And sure, …And Justice for All may be more dense and more progressive, but it doesn’t quite maintain the razor-sharp focus and deliberate song progression we get here. In essence, this is both a continuation and refinement of the groundwork that Ride the Lightning laid out for the band two years earlier; every one of the band’s figurative tools has been sharpened this time around, from James Hetfield’s incredibly precise rhythm guitar stabs and chugs to the late bassist Cliff Burton practically being given a new role as a third guitarist/soloist with his instrument.

But what really struck me about Master of Puppets was how its concept and imagery was reflected in the music itself. The beginning of what I consider the album’s highlight, “Disposable Heroes,” is kicked off with a punchy bass drum attack – as well as high-speed tremolo riffing in the next big riff - that resembles the kind of war zone that the song describes; on the other side, you have the slow downtuned sludge of “The Thing That Should Not Be,” whose Sabbath-drenched riffing makes you feel like you’ve descended into hell itself. The same goes for the faster tracks too, as “Battery” and “Damage Inc.” are just as furious and headbang-inducing as the violent imagery that Hetfield spews out with his gruff delivery. Of course, the high-energy shredding from Kirk Hammett and the solid rhythm section (yes, I said something positive about Lars here) elevate things even further. Actually, I have to give Kirk Hammett a lot of credit on these older Metallica albums. He may get ridiculed quite a bit, but it’s quite impressive how he can switch between blues, classical, and all-out thrash bits on the lead guitar so fluidly. Master of Puppets is a great showing of that, as well as many of the new effects and technology that Kirk would use – and unfortunately tend to abuse – later down the road (can anyone say “more wah-wah”"). And of course, Cliff Burton is just on another level here. Not only are his solos fantastic, but he was also quite the master of atmosphere. The melodic framework he gave the soft section of “Orion” lends a beautifully spacey texture to the piece; it almost feels ethereal in a sense, and the minimal accompaniment from the other members really gives Cliff a lot of space to shine as a soloist. I’m going to close things out by talking about the only song I haven’t mentioned yet, “Welcome Home (Sanitarium).” The title should give a good sense of what the song is about, but the music gives such a strong feeling of being trapped in a mental cage. The clean guitar work is eerie and foreboding, the slow tread of the drums is both haunting and anxious, and Hetfield’s vocal delivery is an incredible balance of desperation and anger. And that, my friends, is how Master of Puppets can truly be summed up. Look at yourself in the mirror. What kind of flaws do you have" Do you feel controlled and tethered by your personal demons" Chances are, Metallica have come up with something that’s relatable to you on Master of Puppets. And chances are, they complimented it with some of the best metal music ever written.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DivergentThinking
February 16th 2018


6047 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This rewrite was a LONG time coming

Doctuses
February 16th 2018


1880 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

niceeee review dawg, and yeah kirk should get alot of credit for his solos on these albums, they rock

Doctuses
February 16th 2018


1880 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

he's a meme now tho

DivergentThinking
February 16th 2018


6047 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks man! Yeah, I think Kirk gets too much shit in general

Wildcardbitchesss
February 16th 2018


2594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

he fucked up one when I saw them in june

Wubs
February 16th 2018


589 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review, good emphasis on how tight and focused this album is.

Digging: Xiu Xiu - Girl with Basket of Fruit

DominionMM1
February 16th 2018


17752 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

love the redux dude well done

Kaiwaz
February 16th 2018


8737 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

No comments about Coke, c'mon man, you're killing me here!



Digging: Slowdive - Souvlaki

MikePornToy
February 16th 2018


35 Comments


Lars! The second greatest drummer of all time!

Doctuses
February 16th 2018


1880 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think its just a lack of respect for how good he WAS, which is in part due to the fact that he's worse than awful now. it would be like if james only played the same three block power chord progression on every single song fucking he wrote since the 90s. like the stuff they do in pop punk like blink 182 and green day. that's how bad gimmicky krik has become. what's worse is that he's just terrible at performing now. so actually it would be like if james only wrote those same powerchords but fucked them up in every single concert. fuck.

DivergentThinking
February 16th 2018


6047 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, Kirk is pretty bad these days. That performance he did with Meshuggah was pretty funny

Doctuses
February 16th 2018


1880 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

how the fuck did this get a 0.5

Desdinova
February 16th 2018


634 Comments


mmm whatcha say

Desdinova
February 16th 2018


634 Comments


i not bullshit men, album is my best for this time! what band can do this of this time ? not one single one i say men,, thank,,

Darius the Great
February 16th 2018


19761 Comments


mmm that you only meant well...

Desdinova
February 16th 2018


634 Comments


hey meyhem is like this band soon? i think he ike if he listen for a few song. give me time for putting a song to you for playing. it is Orion, like the nebula in the sky men!

DivergentThinking
February 16th 2018


6047 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@Doctuses: Bitc|-| just really hates this band ;-)

Darius the Great
February 16th 2018


19761 Comments


Orion is good song yes men

Darius the Great
February 16th 2018


19761 Comments


Hey Desdinova, I just want to tell you that you make me happy. You really do.

good user :]

Desdinova
February 16th 2018


634 Comments


men it is about that and when Lars play the drum it is no secret he is best drummer of the time !



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