Friday, October 5, 2012

167. Master of Puppets. (Not a Jim Henson tribute)

Album: Master of Puppets
Artist: Metallica
Year: 1986
Genre: Metal


1. Battery
2. Master of Puppets
3. The Thing That Should Not Be
4. Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
5. Disposable Heroes
6. Leper Messiah
7. Orion
8. Damage, Inc.

Apparently there is such a thing as "Real Metal" and such a thing as "Not real metal". Every album on the countdown that looks a bit metallic can be divided into one of these two categories. The problem is that most people can't agree on exactly which is which most of the time. I'm forever reading about a metal album which one reviewer is lauding as true metal in the realest sense of the word while someone else is dismissing as not the real thing. Fools Metal is just as prevalent as Fools Gold on the top 500 (actually more so since the Stone Roses have been sadly neglected).

But cutting through that debate like a massive axe made of the truest metal is Master of Puppets which is definitely, absolutely, totally and utterly metal of the realest kind. 

Goodness this is metallic. The guitars crunch in no uncertain terms. They're loud, distorted and played fast and furious. The drumskins are pounded so hard and fast if they were still on the cows they came from the steak would be tender enough to win awards from discerning carnivores. And while the bass player won't win any prizes for improvising skills or variation, if his fingers were drivers they'd be fined for speeding on any road in the country. This is as real as metal gets.

Is it any good? If you like metal then the answer is a resounding yes. If you're a fan of the genre then this is your Sgt Peppers, Pet Sounds and Blonde on Blonde all rolled into one. If Metal is your thing then this is your thing within that thing. It's the reason you get up in the morning and it's what keeps you up late at night.

But if metal isn't your thing then this isn't going to help much. The entire genre is an acquired taste which you either love or hate with no middle ground. Nobody is a bit just interested in metal or likes some songs but not others. There is nobody on the planet who has burnt the odd metal song into an otherwise metal-free compilation because they likes thrashed guitars and speeding drums in moderation. 

Consequently this is basically a review-proof album. If you like your music heavy then you love this and nothing I can say will convince you otherwise. If you hate metal then I can't give you a sneaky entry point to help you find a way in. I can't point you to a hidden depth that will let you penetrate it's subtle mysteries. It's hard and fast and heavy and loud and if that's your thing then your thing is right here. If it isn't then stay the hell away.

Influenced by: Black Sabbath and Industrial Machinery
Influenced: Everyone who plays Thrash

Highlight: The Title Track
Lowlight: A few tracks later when you start to get bit of a headache

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "Every song by Metallica, Black Sabbath, Beatles, Stones,Hendrix, Doors, Pink Floyd, Beethoven, ACDC, Judas Priest, Who, Aerosmith, Dio, Megadeth, Rush, Queen, REM , Bob Marley, Mozart, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Bach , Van Morrison, Guns n Roses, Van Halen, Vivaldi, Motorhead, Saxon ,Boston, Chicago, Velvet Underground, U2, David Bowie, Elton John, Cliff Richard, Spice Girls,Morbid Angel,Scot Joplin, Def Leppard ,Genesis,Yes, King Crimson, Blue Cheer, Cream , Robert Cray, Sandie Shaw,Sonny and Cher,hell EVERYONE, has already been done far, far better by the Godlike Led Zeppelin."

-Hang on. Did you just claim everything Mozart, Bach and Beethoven has ever done had already been done by Led Zeppelin? I can understand people's adoration for their favourite band but claiming they're capable of time travel is a bit rich surely?

So does this album master your puppets? Let me know below.


  1. What's interesting is that I'm not a metalhead by any standards, nor will I ever be; even so, I still love this album, and other early Metallica albums. Their use of rhythm and melody is basically unparalleled.

    So what I am wondering is what do you PERSONALLY feel about this album? Are YOU into this album? What do you think about the incredible rhythmic elements, like for instance the stop-start rhythms on the title track. And what about the melodies? The good think about early Metallica is the fact that they are actually pretty melodic for a hardcore metal band. So what do YOU PERSONALLY think?

  2. I don't enjoy it at all to be honest but I'd happily find a way in.

    You're appreciation proves my main argument wrong (which is fine). I've never met anyone who likes this who isn't a metal head of the highest order and all the reviews I read and glowing appreciations talked about the speed and aggression and never mentioned much about a use of rhytym and melody.

    Can you expand on the rhythmic elements and how they're unique? I'd be really interested to hear an appreciation. I didn't find them especially melodic I have to say, perhaps I struggled to look past the volume and aggression.