without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Here it is, the title track from the mighty Master of Puppets. This particular album has been heralded as one of, if not the, greatest metal albums of all time. One of the few Cliff Burton-era Metallica songs you'll hear on FM radio (along with Battery, FWTBT, Fade to Black, Sanitarium, and Seek 'n Destroy if you're lucky).
As a 17 year old hearing this for the first time, it struck me as much heavier than anything else I had heard up to that point (barring the first two Metallica albums which I had previously purchased), and certainly heavier than St. Anger, which I think may have been on the airwaves at that point. Now, fast foward approximately 9 years, and countless metal albums later. Since my high school days, I've immersed myself in all that speed/thrash metal has to offer, including a lot of the more obscure bands found on the Archives. So, with all this in mind, does Master of Puppets stand the test of time? Is it still the pinnacle of thrash achievement?
I'm going to go with a very solid maybe possibly kinda sorta.
First, let's take a look at the song itself as it compares to Metallica's previous releases. The first two LPs had a raw production style, as opposed to the relatively cleaner sound of this record. Now, cleaner production is not necessarily a bad thing. However, the argument is made that the clearer sound takes away from the grittiness of thrash metal in general. It screams of studio-produced mainstream nonsense. I take off a few points for that, as atmosphere is essential to heavy metal of all sorts.
Lyrically, this is a typical track about what appears to be drug addiction and the pitfalls of such addiction. Not a particularly unique subject matter, but the boys make the lyrics somewhat interesting rather than hackneyed and trite. So not going to hold that against them.
The opening riffing is not particularly killer, compared to the other releases of 1986. Even the other tracks on the album have more cause for headbanging than this. The riffing here, at best, is cause for raising your fist, but not giving yourself whiplash. Perfect for catering to the masses, but not for the fanbase that made Metallica what it was.
There are two solos here. The first solo is lyrical, making it a good fit for the melodic middle section (that I like, to hell with everyone else saying that it doesn't fit in thrash metal). The second makes me scratch my head as to why it gets such rave reviews. It appears that the only thing in this solo that is somewhat unique or revolutionary is Kirk accidentally pulling the string off the fretboard and making an interesting sound. I'm certain I've heard the same runs and scales a thousand times before. Kirk can do better than this, I would say. It's not mediocre, and certain challenging, but doesn't deserve the hype it receives.
The bass is there. Not doing anything that radically different from the guitars, but because it's Cliff, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt here.
No thrashy drums here for Lars, just a steady groove that doesn't get too out of control and doesn't do anything too challenging.
Vocal-wise, James isn't taking many risks here. Nowhere to be found are the screams that made Kill 'em All and Ride the Lightning killer. Whether his boozing had started to catch up to him at this point is anybody's guess. Some may argue that this is where his voice cracked and he started to sound more mature, but it lacks an edginess.
Overall, I'd consider this a step down for Metallica compared to their previous releases, and a step in the direction of their later releases of more commercial-friendly heavy metal music. Although essential for any fan of heavy metal in general, one who wishes to delve deeper into the genre may wish to look elsewhere.
From a historical standpoint, this is a song that demands respect regardless how one’s own musical taste buds react to it. The ripples it sent through the already violent pool of mid 80s thrash metal were auspicious not so much because it upped the ante in terms of sheer aggression, but more so because it focused it in a very different way. Indeed, the overall template of the album this song is named after is one of varied experimentation, culminating in results that were musically mixed, but ultimately highly consequential. Herein lays the foundations, and one of the better examples of Metallica’s own brand of epic thrash metal.
Perhaps the biggest flaw at play here, and one that would ultimately haunt Metallica moving forward until their demise as a metal band in the 90s, is an addiction to repetition. While this overindulgent approach to ramming home the point that this song has a great signature riff doesn’t fall flat the way it did on “The Black Album”, it does detract from this song and robs it of its full potential. A few less restatements of a theme or a little more actual variation beyond adding additional instruments here and there is primarily what separates “Master Of Puppets” from a lot of the signature works that dominated “Time Does Not Heal”, and album often derided as a clone of later 80s Metallica rather than an improvement upon it.
Nevertheless, this is a song possessed of some very good ideas and a strong overall template. The notion of a longwinded mid-paced thrasher with heavy hints of the style’s NWOBHM roots still present is a good one when pulled off properly. Particularly noteworthy is the series of melodic themes that occur in the guitars during the quiet, semi-orchestrated session, including one of the more memorable melodic solos I’ve heard from this band. The climax point where Kirk does his usual pentatonic shredding is competent, but largely flat and a little too by the numbers to stand up to the mountain of riffs and melodies going on during the rest of the song. In fact, from start to finish, this song is primarily a celebration of James Hetfield and his uncanny ability to fill a song up with catchy yet hard hitting guitar material and melodic yet raunchy shouts.
One does not recommend songs like these, their reputation speaks for themselves, but reflection upon how ideas first come to pass and are later improved on is key to understanding the history and lineage of what is considered the middle road in the wide spectrum of metal styles. As a song, I go through periods of warming up to it, followed by cooling off periods given that its repetitive nature does not lend itself to perpetual worship, particularly when there are other bands who offer their own unique take on this format. But its easy to see why this song, and the album that bears its name is so universally loved, even though I regard the latter as being the weakest album of this band’s formative years.
Metallica, Master Of Puppets, one of the most revered names in thrash metal. The album and this song in particular became heavily popular in the day and since the last fifteen years or so, when Metallica's fan base has begun to grow like their undying hunger for commercial success, this song has become the poster song for the band. So is the song worth it's hype? Yes it absolutely is, at least in parts.
So we start the song on an excellent note. The intro riff is amazing and so is the main riff during the verses. It is catchy and is used in an excellent way. The fact that the excellent production enables the rhythm to sound crunchy and heavy is even better. The performances by Hetfield, Hammett, and Burton are fairly good. The drumming is very poor and one of the cons of the song. The chorus is absolutely brilliant and so is the chorus riff. "Come crawling faster, obey your master", yeah it sounds as good on the tape as it does on the paper. The song moves through two verses quite efficiently, in this way.
Then just around the 3:40 mark the song suffers a breakdown and for the next two minutes we are treated to the dumbest thing ever thought about by a thrash metal band in the form of a melodic guitar solo. Yeah and it is in literal sense a guitar solo, no drums, no bass, very melodic, something which is a territory of Andre Olbrich, Lanvall, Ritchie Blackmore, certainly not Kirk Hammett. OK back in the day there were no Andre Olbrichs, and Lanvalls and also Kirk Hammett wanted to prove that he was a creative guitarist so anything wrong with that? No, absolutely not. But what is wrong is that he should not have let his 'bigger than his body' ego flow in this song. The mood, tone of this song is an aggressive one and so the solo is totally out of place here. They could have put the solo in one of their instrumentals which actually need something of this sort. The solo ends and then we have a smooth built-up but cheesy one, especially the "master, master" part. Yeah that sounds quite good live with the crowds but here on the record it seems quite odd. Then around 5:40 mark we have another solo, and this completely rocks. Kirk lets loose in this one and it sounds great. Then we have another verse-chorus part. The song ends amazingly with ferocious, evil laughter.
So should you buy the single? I'll say a flat no. Go do yourself a favor and get the whole Master Of Puppets album instead. You can find many other interesting tracks there along with this one of course. Die hard fans of the band and collectors may still try and get it as it will be a shining addition to your rack along with the album.
Metallica's "Master of Puppets" album has astounded listeners for 23 years. The single off of the album which is also the title track, is probably Metallica's most well-known song by fans. I can easily see why it is their most known and probably best song to date.
The intro of the track is probably the best I've ever heard in Metallica's complete history. It absolutely never gets old and it lasts for an amazing 1 minute and 3 seconds. The vocals have obviously improved since the first 2 albums and it is very apparent in this song. After the 1st verse is over, the song goes to the chorus. This chorus is absolutely stunning. It's Metallica at their excellence. It is easily one of the best choruses in thrash metal history. Finally after the 2nd chorus the song slows down. Here Kirk Hammett shows that you don't have to play guitar fast to make it sound awesome.
The first solo is the slowest part of the song but it is also one of the best parts. After this solo James Hetfield delivers the most memorable part of the song. Here you can tell that a build-up is happening as the intensity slowly and increases. After this Kirk throws in another amazing solo, probably the best on the entire album. Finally the track goes back to the verse and chorus and ends with the outro fading out with laughter heard in the background.
The title track of this album leaves you absolutely speechless. With this song Metallica have been compared to bands like Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax. This track is the main reason of why "Master of Puppets" is such a flawless masterpiece.
Taken from the album of the same name, this is seemingly a promo single, hardly listed anywhere. The opening riff is perhaps the best thrash riff ever to be made, and when the drums kick in, and the main riff starts, you know this is gonna be a joyous ride from beginning to end. The verse is badass, and the chorus even more so, not to mention the chorus riff. My GODS! Then, after two verses and two choruses, the song suddenly slows down from its frantic (hehe) pace. An accoustic guitar starts playing, and then there's some beautiful twin leads playing. Damn, this song has it all! After a while, the song starts to build up again, end then a little chant section comes by. "Master! Master! Where's the dream that I've been after!?" Ha, really good stuff. Then we get one more verse and chorus, before the song ends in insane laughter. I must mention the faint lead guitar that plays right before the song ends, that's a masterful detail.
And to think, this isn't even the best song on the album!
Really, what can I say? One of the greatest metal songs of all time. Obviously it's readily available on the album of the same name, but back then, I'd bet this promo single was really something to listen to before the actual whole album came out. I'm not exactly sure, but one would probably have to go to hell and back to try and find this single, but without a doubt it would be a collectors item.
This song showcases Metallica in their finest form. From the fast, thrashy intro and the catchy verses and chorus, to the slow acoustic guitar solo and the high one following, this song kills. Then, at the halfway mark, it only gets better. After the acoustic solo, the band kicks into a badass heavy riff and then into the highlight solo of Metallica's career. After, it is just the breakdown and the song finally ends at over 8 minutes with evil laughing. One of the best metal songs of all time. Period.
If your wondering why the hell I bothered to review this rather than the full album...well I just felt like writing about the best fucking Metallica song ever by itself.