Metallica - Master Of Puppets
This is probably renowned as being the greatest thrash metal record of all time, so it’s obvious that one single review is not going to do this album any justice. Nor will any amount of reviews; the level at which ‘Master Of Puppets’ has influenced music is immeasurable. That being said it’s still an amazing record to both listen to and review.
Taking influence from late 70’s heavy metal, Metallica sped up their playing and added a more classical influenced texture to the songs on the LP. Many of the songs follow the dynamics set by classical music, and we see these shine through as songs reach striking crescendos and melodic bridge sections. This take on songwriting was an enormous age in the conception of ‘Master Of Puppets’.
The music itself found on the record is straight up thrash metal with a heavy influence of darker themes and fast paced melodies. The songs vary between drug addiction, insanity, fear, and even the mythological beast Cthulu. The variation in subject matter is interesting on the surface, yet to dive into the lyrics is an experience itself. At this point in their career the band were beginning to pen lyrics closer to the heart and mind, leaving generic and predictable vocal lines for more cutting edge and heavier statements. It’s an attribute that was of massive later in Metallica’s career, yet here on ‘Master Of Puppets’ it’s as catchy as it is atmospheric.
The instrumentation on these songs is one of the most interesting from Metallica’s career. Already firing at all cylinders with the heavy metal and classical influences, the band where still able to add their own unique take on music by fusing the genres together. On the title track, the song is structured to have three separate pieces intertwined. Yet listening it is difficult to distinguish which is which; the way the album flows together it makes it seem as though everything is in it’s right place. Guttural drumming, grinding guitars, thick bass and powerful vocals form the basis of the album; with each song being built upon two or three riffs, the escalate to the point where every instrument is being played to it’s highest point.
The album is just intense from start to finish. The acoustic guitars that open ‘Battery’ are our shred of tranquility before the album takes off full throttle. Between solemn ballads of the dark side of the mind, and agonisingly fast battle cries, it’s easy to see why ‘Master Of Puppet’s is regarded as one of the greatest metal albums of all time.