Metallica “Master of Puppets” (1986)

    1986 would prove to be a huge year for metal music, and I think the epicenter of that metal mania was the 2nd Floor North of McCowen Hall at the University of Northern Colorado.  My freshman year in college will always be remembered as the year we blended old friends with new.  At our school, in our dorm, and even on our floor, there was an interesting integration of pre-existing friend groups from high school.  Our pack from Ponderosa eventually merged in with a group from Smoky Hill, Boulder Fairview, and a smaller contingent from Lewis Palmer to form one extended society of dudes that remains connected and friends to this day.  We all brought our own interests and influences to the scene, but I will never forget the forced entry of Metallica, primarily from the Boulder Fairview group, into our hazy world.  I will give those guys credit, they had the best stereo on the floor, and were never shy about using it.  “Master of Puppets” by Metallica rocked the foundations of our building for many months, whether we wanted to hear it or not.  Admittedly it was an acquired taste, but by the end of freshman year, I had grown fond of the metalheads from Boulder as well as Metallica.  “Master of Puppets” is considered a masterpiece by many, as it is the last album featuring Cliff Burton on bass and is rated as the #97 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. It is also the #2 rated heavy metal album of all time on loudwire.com.

     This album feels more complex and yet more pure to their roots when compared to “Ride The Lightning”.   Similar in structure as it opens with the soft and haunting acoustic intro from “Battery”, the album then explodes into the title track.  “Master of Puppets” is one of the defining moments and songs of this highly influential band, and it is an intense and powerful ride.  The opening riff is dramatic and sets the tone for the rest of this great track.  This entire album is an insane cacophony of guitar, drums and bass.  Aside from the title track, the three most powerful, and also my favorite tracks, are “Disposable Heroes”, “Leper Messiah”, and “Damage, Inc.”  The furious tempo is blinding, and at one point on “Disposable Heroes”, the band is playing at 220 beats per minute.  Again, the creative leadership of the band comes from guitarist and vocalist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, although both Kirk Hammett and the classically trained Cliff Burton bring a lot to the mix with their talents.

     I will never hear “Master of Puppets” and not be immediately transported back to 1986 and room 205, wondering what the hell was going on across the hall.  I’m glad I took the time to find out…

Published by tacopepper

A music fan...

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