Sunday, 13 December 2009

CD Review: Master Of Puppets, by Metallica (1986)

Master Of Puppets, Metallica's 3rd studio album is similar in many respects to 1984's Ride The Lighting: eight tracks; one long instrumental; lengthy songs; an acoustic introduction; and the title track settling in to the second spot on the CD.

But Master Of Puppets suffers from a saggy mid-section. The experimentation here goes awry. The Thing That Should Not Be is a hideous, crushingly boring song that should have never been. Welcome Home (Sanitarium) and Disposable Heroes are average and unmemorable. Leper Messiah is only saved by a brilliant second part that almost removes the boring taste of the unimaginative opening.

But then the middle four songs are not the reason why Master Of Puppets is so well loved. The opening two tracks, Battery and Master Of Puppets, and the closing two tracks, Orion and Damage, Inc., are all masterpieces of metal and define this album.

The opening of Battery builds to a thunderous ovation to metal fans, and the rest of the track proceeds at high speed to brilliance. Closer Damage, Inc. is similar in length and also features a brooding intro that gives way to drum-driven controlled mayhem at an even faster speed.

Master Of Puppets is a metal epic that goes on for more than eight minutes and paints a grand canvass featuring several guitar clinics and drums with remarkable stamina. It also signals the start of the band's serious experimentation with whiplash-inducing start-stops and frequent tempo changes that would come to the forefront and define almost the entirety of ...And Justice For All, the next Metallica CD. Orion also clocks in at over eight minutes and is a grand instrumental track and companion piece to The Call Of Ktulu from Ride The Lightning.

Together, these four tracks completed Metallica's rapid and remarkable journey from underground outfit in 1983 to the most famous metal band in the world, filling arenas with tens of thousands of people in 1986. Lars Ulrich's promise of world domination came to pass, sooner than even he probably imagined.

This was the last Metallica album to feature bassist Cliff Burton, tragically killed when the band's bus crashed in Sweden on September 27 1986. In his short career and on the three Metallica albums that he featured on, Burton established himself as one of the all-time best and most influential heavy metal bass guitarists.


James Hetfield - Guitar, Vocals
Lars Ulrich - Drums
Kirk Hammett - Guitar
Cliff Burton - Bass

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Battery - 10
2. Master Of Puppets - 10 *See Video Below*
3. The Thing That Should Not Be - 4
4. Welcome Home (Sanitarium) - 7
5. Disposable Heroes - 7
6. Leper Messiah - 8
7. Orion (Instrumental) - 10
8. Damage, Inc. - 10

Average: 8.25

Produced by Metallica and Flemming Rasmussen.
Engineered by Flemming Rasmussen.
Mixed by Michael Wagener.

All Ace Black Blog CD Reviews are here.

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