Metallica – Master of Puppets: The Recap
I was pretty excited when this first came out. I thought Ride the Lightning was one of the greatest albums ever made at the time and was really looking forward to what Metallica had to offer on their 3rd album.
I’m pretty sure picked this up from Drew at Unicorn Records (RIP) the week that it came out. I was 16 and my allowance money or whatever cash I made from cutting grass or other little jobs typically got spent on tapes and gas. Drew was always pretty good about selling me something the day before its release and I think this was one of the ones I got early (Somewhere in Time and Seventh Son were 2 others that he hooked me up on).
In general I liked this album a lot and listened to it quite often. My band, like most other cover bands at the time, messed with the title track in our setlist. But I think I listened to it so much that I started to dislike it…immensely. I think another thing that turned me off from this album was an interview I read in Modern Drummer with Lars and he stated that none of the drums in any song on the album were played all the way through. He punched in most of the fills, so I recall from the article. At the time, I was a pretty big Metallica fan and was even a fan of Lars’ drumming. As I became a better drummer in subsequent years, I realized how average he is as a drummer. I was really turned off by that interview. Sure, everyone does that studio magic and I’ve even done it on some of my past recordings, but this was one of my hero bands at the time. I’m not sure how my irrational 16yr old mind would have reacted had I read an article saying that Nicko did it too, even though now I’m sure he did and probably still does. Whatever.
One pleasant memory I have of this is sitting in my 66′ Nova in the church parking lot before church started with Kelz listening to it. Moments like that made church more tolerable for sure.
I’m actually writing this whole post today because I decided to listen to Master of Puppets on my ride home today since I am sure I haven’t spun it in at least 10 years and probably even more. Battery sounded fresh, as did Disposable Heroes and the rest of the album. To be honest I skipped the title track, I’ve heard that enough in recent years. I could go the rest of my life without hearing it again and be alright with it.
But one thing happened that struck me as funny. When Orion started, I thought my iPod screwed something up. I listened for about a minute to figure out what song it was and by whom and was totally lost on it. I looked at the iPod (while driving – d’oh) and saw that it was Orion. Apparently I skipped that one back in the day as I did not recognize one note from the entire song. It sounded like a brand new song to me. Hell, even though I thought it was a weak instrumental today, Metallica hasn’t written anything that cool in 20 years! It really made me laugh. Orion? Really? What song is this? By whom? hahahaha.
While this album doesn’t match the awesomeness of Ride the Lightning, it’s surely a good album although I’ll likely not listen to it again for another 10 years.
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