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Master of Puppets (album)

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Master of Puppets
Master of Puppets (album)
Released 3rd March 1986
Recorded 1st September 1985 – 27th December 1985 at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark
Length 54:58
Number of tracks 8
Label Elektra Records (USA)
Music for Nations (Europe)
Formats LP, Cassette, CD, ITunes
Genre Thrash Metal
Chronology
Previous Album
Ride the Lightning
Next Album
...And Justice for All

Master of Puppets is the third studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica. It was released on March 3, 1986 through Elektra Records and was met with high critical reception. Master of Puppets is now considered a classic thrash metal album by fans, critics, and the band members themselves alike, and is considered one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time. It reached #29 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart and was the band's first Gold record for sales of 500,000 copies. This was done without any radio airplay or the release of a single or music video.

Master of Puppets marks the last recording by bassist Cliff Burton, who was killed in a bus accident while on tour to promote the album.

The album has sold 6 million copies and was certified 6x Platinum by the RIAA.

Reception and legacyEdit

Allmusic's Steve Huey commented that Master of Puppets was "the band's greatest achievement." "Some critics have called Master of Puppets the best metal album ever recorded," Huey noted.

Master of Puppets has been featured on several "greatest albums of all time" lists. The album is present in the list "The All-TIME 100 Albums", published by TIME magazine in November 2006. In TIME critic Josh Tyrangiel's opinion, "Metallica didn't bother with hooks or pop discipline" in writing Master of Puppets. IGN ranked it number 1 in a list of the "Top 25 Metal Albums" issued in January 2007. The album is featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and Q magazine counted it among the 50 heaviest albums of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 167 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Music critic Piero Scaruffi ranks Master of Puppets as the second best metal album of all time, just after Type O Negative's Slow, Deep and Hard and before Kyuss' Blues for the Red Sun. In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at number 90 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s". Many have regarded Master of Puppets as the most influential and important metal album ever made, surpassing Black Sabbath's popular album Paranoid. The album has frequently been tagged by critics as "one of the most influential thrash metal albums of all time."

As an early parody of the PMRC's "explicit lyrics" warning labels, many prints of Metallica's 1986 release of Master of Puppets featured an octagonal sticker on the front stating:

"The only track you probably won't want to play is Damage, Inc. due to the multiple use of the infamous F word. Otherwise, there aren't any Shits, Fucks, Pisses, Cunts, Motherfuckers, or Cocksuckers anywhere on this record" (six of George Carlin's Seven Dirty Words).

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of its release, Metallica played the album in its entirety on its Escape from the Studio '06 tour for the first time ever at the Rock am Ring festival on June 3, 2006. These concerts included the first-ever complete performances of the instrumental "Orion" (previously, only portions of the song's lengthy middle section had been performed onstage, as part of instrumental medleys and bass solos).

The title track was ranked number 51 on The Greatest Guitar Solos from Guitar World. In 2006, the album was voted the fourth "greatest guitar album of all time" in Guitar World. The April 5th edition of Kerrang! was dedicated to it, providing readers with the cover album Master of Puppets: Remastered. In March 2007, the guitar magazine Total Guitar ranked it in the 100 greatest riffs of all time and the main riff of the album's title track was ranked number one.

"Damage, Inc." is the last of four songs to feature writing from all members of Metallica while Cliff Burton was still a living member of the band.

All of the songs from the album, with the exceptions of "Leper Messiah" and "Damage, Inc." are playable on the music video game Guitar Hero: Metallica. The song "Battery" is also featured as a playable track on Rock Band 2.

ESPN has used the title track, "Master of Puppets", to promote the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

The album's title track is also featured in the 2003 comedy film Old School, starring Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell.

ThemesEdit

The album as a whole has a central theme of powerlessness and being helpless. "Battery", the opening track of the album, discusses the control that anger can have over one's behavior. The title track, "Master of Puppets", is about being helplessly addicted to drugs, unable to break free of their grip even if it kills you. "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" is about a man being held in a sanitarium. "Leper Messiah" is about being a slave to false religion while their "messiahs" make a profit of them. "Disposable Heroes" is about the military draft system and being forced to the front lines. "Damage, Inc." revolves around senseless violence and destruction.

LiveEdit

The song "Master of Puppets" is a frequent part of the band's live setlist. The songs "Battery", "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" have also been played live hundreds of times. Less frequently, "The Thing That Should Not Be", "Leper Messiah", and "Damage, Inc.". But rarely songs like "Orion" and "Disposable Heroes" have been played. In 2006, at Rock am Ring, the album was played in its entirety.

Track listingEdit

No. Title Composer Length
1. Battery James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich 5:12
2. Master of Puppets James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Cliff Burton 8:33
3. The Thing That Should Not Be James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett 6:34
4. Welcome Home (Sanitarium) James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett 6:27
5. Disposable Heroes James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett 8:16
6. Leper Messiah James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich 5:40
7. Orion James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Cliff Burton 8:26
8. Damage, Inc. James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Cliff Burton 5:31
Total length:
54:43

iTunes Bonus TracksEdit

No. Title Composer Length
9. Battery (Live 29.08.1989 in Seattle, The United States) James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich 4:53
10. The Thing That Should Not Be (Live 29.08.1989 in Seattle, The United States) James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett 7:02
Total length:
66:35

PersonnelEdit

Metallica

Technical personnel

  • Flemming Rasmussen – producer, engineer
  • Metallica – producers, cover concept
  • Andy Wroblewski – assistant engineer
  • Michael Wagener – mixing
  • Mark Wilzcak – assistant mixing engineer
  • Mike Gillies – mixing of digital reissue bonus tracks
  • George Marino – mastering, remastering on 1995 reissue
  • Peter Mensch – cover concept
  • Don Brautigam – cover illustration
  • Ross Halfin – photography
  • Rich Likong – photography
  • Rob Ellsi – photography

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