Released on March 3, 1986, Metallica’s Master of Puppets was the album that cracked the 1980s in half for metal.
The mad thrashing sound that emerged from the San Francisco Bay Area in the early ’80s looked into the vortex of its own evolution when Master arrived. The stunning Don Brautigam cover art — a painting of giant hands emerging from an ominous red sky holding strings attached to a sea of white cemetery crosses — was an unforgettable sight, one that instantly articulated the message of the album title.
For Metallica, the album was their first major vault into the mainstream lexicon, seemingly almost purely by word of mouth and all those black “Metal Up Your Ass!” t-shirts peppering public school hallways. Puppets was more than a progression of the heavy sound that captured the metal community when Kill ‘Em All came out. It was a full-blown evolution in how they approached the speed/thrash formula, especially when you hear the Julian Bream-kissed flourishes of guitarist Kirk Hammett at the beginning of opening cut “Battery” as well as Burton’s subtle shout-out to Bach’s “Come, Sweet Death” at the top of “Damage, Inc.” No other metal band in the ’80s was truer to the roots of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath than Metallica, heard across the riffage of “The Thing That Should Not Be” and “Disposable Heroes,” while the complex progressions of the beloved title track hint at a love for groups like King Crimson and Rush.
As a lyricist, frontman James Hetfield made a giant leap toward his present status as one of the great American songwriters, especially when you take into consideration a song like “Welcome Home (Sanitarium),” where he channels Randle McMurphy in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest to capture the emotions of a man psychiatrically held against his will. For the band, it was a bittersweet triumph punctuated by the tragic and unexpected death of their beloved friend and bandmate, bassist Cliff Burton, whose brilliance as a musician was cemented with Master’s instrumental crescendo “Orion.” It was eight minutes of infinite promise and a culmination of Burton’s roots in not only Lemmy Kilmister and Phil Lynott but Paul McCartney and Stanley Clarke as well, especially in his favoring of the high strings. No disrespect to Jason Newsted nor Robert Trujillo, but there was a certain harmony between Burton and drummer Lars Ulrich as a rhythm section, and on Puppets it hit its crescendo. One could only imagine what Metallica might’ve evolved into had Cliff lived to see his 56th birthday this coming Feb. 10.
The band recently revisited the album as part of its ongoing reissue series with the most generous entry yet, expanding Puppets exponentially with rare interviews, rough mixes and demos, including Lars’ and James’ riff tapes as well as Jason Newsted’s auditions, and a veritable metric ton of live audio and video. The live stuff is plentiful, and features recordings of shows from The Meadowlands and Hampton Coliseum as well as footage from concerts at the Joe Louis Arena, the Roskilde Festival and more. To experience the delight of what this super deluxe edition has to offer, check out the video of Hetfield unboxing it here. And don’t forget about the two never-before-released cover songs: Diamond Head’s “The Prince” (later re-recorded as the b-side to “One”) and the punk group Fang’s “The Money Will Roll Right In.” This 2017 remaster of Puppets is such a powerful restoration of the original Flemming Rasmussen production, you can’t help but play it loud. The crispness and clarity of this edition is arguably on par with the Giles Martin remaster of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, released earlier this year.
As for the proper LP, its influence remains as vital as ever in the metal community. To punctuate that sentiment, Billboard asked a wide swath of names in the field to speak to us about their personal histories surrounding Master of Puppets to commemorate having this heavy metal masterpiece thrust back into our lives in the best way possible.
“I was a Metallica fan from the day I heard their first demo, but when Master of Puppets came out, I went from being a fan to realizing just how ‘big league’ metal could be done, and presented to the mainstream while still sounding underground as hell. I was in awe of how they did that then and continue to admire their sense of always doing the absolute coolest things that could possibly be done in the world of metal — which is quite a feat in a genre with so many self-imposed limitations.” – Marty Friedman
“I was actually first introduced to Metallica when the Justice record came out. I was 11 years old when I heard ‘Blackened’ for the first time through a friend, and I just remembered shitting my pants and thinking, ‘These guitars are the coolest sounding thing I’ve ever heard!’ I then worked my way backwards and of course fell in love with every record, including Puppets. I was mostly listening to punk, hardcore and rock at this time, so this was my real first love with the metal sound. The riffs were so damn good, it made me want to pick up guitar a few years later and start learning a lot of their songs. It was James’ down picking, man… sounded so mean and aggressive. It’s still one of the best sounds in the entire fucking world.” – Adam Dutkiewicz, Killswitch Engage
“Of course, we loved the Master of Puppets album, the bass guitarist was our friend and former bandmate! Cliff was riding high with the album, the tour and the great music he and Metallica were creating. Metallica, Cliff and Master of Puppets made history. They have influenced three generations of metal musicians and fans.” – Donny Hillier, Trauma
“If it weren’t for Metallica, Trivium would not exist. I wouldn’t be a guitar player, a singer, into metal, probably not into all the other things in life that I love (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Ashtanga yoga, food, games). The first band I ever tried out for was a pop punk band, and I didn’t make it in; when I first ever heard The Black Album by Metallica, I then knew what I was meant to play. Practicing ceaselessly, I strived to be able to copy the sounds I heard, then I got good enough to try out for the local band Trivium. Getting into Metallica, I soon quickly went forwards and backwards throughout their catalogue investigating everything they had put out. Master Of Puppets is the record that showed me everything Metallica was on one album. If only one Metallica record could be shown to someone, Master not only summarizes all the ranges of sound Metallica excels at (from slow and melodic, to fast and brutal); it also encapsulates everything that had done in the past, present, and hinting at what was to come in the future. The Black Album got me into metal, and Master Of Puppets showed me what can be done with metal.” – Matthew Kiichi Heafy, Trivium
“The first time I heard Metallica I was backstage at the historic Monsters of Rock Festival at the L.A. Coliseum back in July 1988, when they opened for Van Halen and all the fans stormed the stage. At that moment, I immediately knew they were going to be huge. The 20-disc box set of Master Of Puppets is an incredible snapshot of the band’s career during the mid-‘80s and is still one of the favorites in my collection.” – Stuart Smith, Heaven & Earth
“Master Of Puppets was a pivotal album for me in many ways. My first experience with Metallica had been with Ride The Lightning and what had started as a sort of musical oddity for me, developed into a massive appreciation for the band. For the first time I was able to see that the ‘heaviest music’ available to me at that time could still be a vehicle for legitimate musicality. When Master was released, it was a paradigm shift for me and the people around me as the stage had been set for them to really continue their momentum and they delivered in every way. Even the tonalities they chose, intentional or otherwise, were of such a foreign and antagonistic quality that it stood alone in a sea of fantasy inspired and image-centric heavy metal. I think for myself, as well as many others in my age group, Metallica was the single defining heavy band that not only went on to legitimize the genre as a sellable art form, but also that you could inject a musicality and intention into a heavy structure that carried a profound weight. Master Of Puppets is one of those rare, iconic albums that stands alone.” – Devin Townsend
“I was a young teen and snuck into my older brother’s room with a girl I liked at the time. She thumbed through his cassettes and put on Master of Puppets. It excited her immensely and we had one of the best make-out sessions of my life. My guitar player Aristotle, a HUGE Metallica fan, says he first heard it in seventh grade while laid up with a broken leg.” – Otep Shamaya, Otep
“Master of Puppets was originally released in 1986. Back then, my brother and I started picking up radio station cut out LPs from a local record store. This album was one of them. A year or so prior we acquired Ride The Lightning in the same fashion and my young mind was blown away. In my opinion Master of Puppets is an incredible record and a near perfect metal album. Back then, its aggression appealed to my adolescent brain, and its orchestral like melody and harmony grabbed me unlike anything before it. It may have been the time and place, but to this day no album has had that kind of first listen impact on me. Though I never had a connection to later albums as I did this one, it cemented their place in my heart as visionaries. They may have not invented the heavy metal wheel, but they sharpened it into a near perfect instrument. R.I.P. Cliff.” – Jacob Bannon, Converge
“My first ever metal purchase was Quiet Riot’s Metal Health when it first came out when I was in the second grade, in 1983. After that I found a cassette copy of Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast at a garage sale for like 50 cents. I quickly became obsessed with finding the next heaviest thing and next up was Metallica’s Master of Puppets. This was the first time I had heard palm muted picking and it blew my mind how heavy it was. This really set the course for the future for me personally — I don’t know because I’ve never done it but from what I’ve heard about the drug, it sounds kinda like heroin… you do it once and you spend the rest of the time trying to get that same high again but only more so each time. That’s how that heavy palm muted guitar hit me. I started my search for the next heaviest thing simply because of that sound. Speed metal and thrash came next and after that of course, death metal, which changed everything for me. This is the story of how I arrived at extreme metal. It truly all started with Master of Puppets and that chugging guitar playing mixed with a serious tone and killer drumming for the time.” – Travis Ryan, Cattle Decapitation
“?When I was in third or fourth grade my older brother bought me a small boombox with a tape player and a copy of Master of Puppets. I remember that I used to listen to the album every day and read horror books. My favorite was Bram Stoker’s Dracula because at the time the movie had just came out so I had a screen play adaptation with pictures of impaled Turkish soldiers, naked vampire ladies, and all. So I always associate the two. I think this is the heaviest and best Metallica record and I would say it is probably the first metal record that truly changed my life. I still get a rush when I throw it on more than 25 years later. It is absolutely timeless, kind of like Dracula. I wish they still sounded like this, and I love all of the early Metallica records but also similar to Dracula, they have become a parody of what they once were. I always feel bad talking shit on Metallica… but I was so upset when Load, and Reload came out that I’m not sure I have ever really recovered. Master of Puppets essentially began my story as a musician and without it I’m not sure I would have followed the direction I have in my life that I have in terms of being a heavy metal musician. I’m glad I had the album as my baseline so that I was always seeking out the heavier options when it came to discovering new music.” – Ethan Lee McCarthy, Primitive Man?
“I will never forget the first time we played with Metallica. It was around 1985 and such a great time for metal. You could just feel it in the air, see it, hear it, that something absolutely huge and amazing was about to happen. We played a couple of smaller gigs and a festival on the Loreley at the Rhine River in Germany. It was the first festival of this metal magazine called Metal Hammer, and I played right before Metallica with my band Warlock. After we finished our show I couldn’t wait to see Metallica on a big stage and in front of the most excited metal crowd and I was truly blown away. I liked the guys in the band so much and being a singer of course I loved James Hetfield’s performance, his voice and his attitude. There was so much magic in the air and I could feel that Metallica would be one of the biggest bands on the planet one day. I loved the first album, Kill ‘Em All, loved also Ride the Lightning and was absolutely sold on the third one, Master of Puppets. I loved every song on it, the production, the attitude, the guitar work and especially James Hetfield’s vocals. The opener ‘Battery’ and the title track are still my favorite songs till this day. I still get so much inspiration, motivation and power from them. When I’m getting ready to go on stage I always put on that record and it instantly puts me in the right spirit and mind frame to give it my all, 180 percent at least.” – Doro Pesch, Doro/Warlock?
“I was in elementary school when Master of Puppets came out… I missed it completely. It wasn’t until a friend of mine in eighth grade handed me The Black Album that I discovered Metallica. Then just like all music I was discovering while coming of age, I went backwards. I became a student of it all. It was an archeological dig. Each step backwards the band was thrashier, faster, less polished. It was exactly what I was looking for.” – Chris No. 2, Anti-Flag
“When a band puts out their best album, and it is referred as their Master of Puppets, that speaks volumes about the masterpiece that Metallica created. Growing up listening to my older brothers’ records, Master always stood out as a special album of its own. Not that it is just some of their best songwriting, but it’s also the way they crafted the album flow. It was such a crucial aspect that makes this more of a full listening experience. From the very acoustic intro of ‘Battery,’ all the way to the melodic section of ‘Master of Puppets,’ it is just an amazing sonic journey. As a bass player, it wasn’t until years later that I discovered one of the solos on ‘Orion’ was played on bass, not guitar. That blew my mind. Cliff’s bass work is timeless on this record. I just recently saw them on the Hardwired tour, and it’s still a treat to see them play these jams live. You know ‘Master of Puppets’ is a classic when the whole crowd sings along to the guitar solo!” – Derek Engemann, Cattle Decapitation
“The first time that I heard Master of Puppets was in my attic bedroom, at my father’s house. For myself, it is a time stamp; I only lived with my father for maybe six months’ time, so the two events are forever tied together, in my mind. I bought the cassette of Master of Puppets at a store called Everybody’s Records, in Silverton, Ohio, on the outskirts of Cincinnati. I knew the album was out for like two weeks at that point, but I hadn’t had the money to get it. I rode the bus to Everybody’s Records hoping that they still had a cassette available. I had my Walkman on, as usual; however, I decided, before I arrived at the store that I would not listen to the cassette on the bus, I would wait for that, I would read the liner notes and check out the artwork and photos, but I wanted to save the music for when I got home. I didn’t want to have to focus on anything other than hearing the album. It was extremely difficult to stick to my decision to wait to hear it, but I did! In my room, I had a pretty kick ass boombox that I listened to music on as loud as I could, as often as I could, for as long as I could. I put the cassette in, I opened up the fold out insert so that I could read the lyrics, while I listened, I hit play, and my entire world changed forever! From the very first acoustic chord of the ‘Battery’ intro, until the last note of ‘Damage, Inc.,’ every single hair on my body stood on end! This was the most orchestrated, yet somehow, ‘in your face’ thing that I had ever heard! This album is perfect! I literally loved every single second of what I just heard, that never happens! I cannot believe what I have just heard; I don’t even remember flipping the cassette! All that I know is that I am on the most amazing ride that I have ever experienced. I am so blown away by each song that I cannot wait to hear the sound again, yet there is no way in the world that I am pausing to rewind because I am so excited about what will come with the next song. At the end of ‘Damage, Inc.’ I sat for maybe five seconds…. Then I played it again from the start, this time I am going to try to play less air guitar and less air drums, this time I am going to actually read the lyrics, as I had intended to do on the first listen. Now, I am completely blown away and my brain is like a lightning storm, these words, these riffs, to me they all seem as if they are something that I have been waiting to hear for my entire life. These topics that are being talked about, they are my life, my fears and a true representative of how I, too, see the world.
“I honestly cannot believe that I have just heard such a masterpiece of music, this was a whole new level of ability and song writing — this is perfection. I had been a fan of Metallica for about a year and a half at that point, but these first listens solidified me as a fan for life. Every aspect of this album seems to be as it should be: every solo, every harmony, every pause, this is genius! There has been no other album that has had the same effect on me. Master of Puppets is not only a musical masterpiece, in my opinion, it is also a profound view of the world, one that spoke to me deeply . This is an album that I see as much a classic as the The Beatles’ White Album or Led Zeppelin II. I cannot imagine a world without Master of Puppets. It inspired me in ways that no other album has, it set a standard for music that i think is rarely matched, I am forever indebted to Metallica and specifically James for his lyrical inspiration, and the flawless vocals on Master of Puppets, as well as the incredible songs and creativity, it is a complete masterpiece!” – Steve Tucker, Morbid Angel
“Coming from a small town, I could only rely on friends and music magazines like Metal Hammer and the Swedish mag OKEJ to get some metal and rock info. Metallica articles were frequently featured in both. In the early ’90s when the compact disc player came to town, the first CD I bought was Master Of Puppets and I had to go 45 minutes by car to a town north from where I lived to buy it. It is still an awesome record and my favorite tracks are and have always been ‘Orion’ and ‘Battery.’ The thing I like with Metallica’s early records is the furious riffs but there is always a good hook in it. That is something I always include in my own songwriting, bone crushing riffs but with a hook that will make you cry/drop your pants/drink loads of beer.” – Thomas Jäger, Monolord
“Back in the days that Master of Puppets was released there was no love between hardcore punks and metal heads. Fights erupted in 7-11 parking lots, youth with thin mustaches in Iron Maiden shirts showed up with knives at skateboard ramps, cars with Dead Kennedys stickers had their windows smashed in the night. Thus I was surprised to see a full page ad for Master of Puppets in Thrasher magazine, which seemed like an intriguing peace offering.
“I knew of Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer only from poorly printed back patches. The band names and mottos like ‘Metal Up Your Ass’ and ‘Slaytanic Wehrmacht’ were completely ridiculous and worn like badges. But two brothers from a farm moved in next to me, their parents either absent enough or country enough to let them set up their drums and guitar right in the middle of the chaotic, poorly lit living room. They knew scores of riffs, which seemed like weird, powerful, coded black magic. The first afternoon I hung out at their house I heard the songs ‘Back in Black,’ ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Master of Puppets,’ ‘Two Minutes to Midnight’ and ‘Black Dog’ for the first time, each respectively devastating within the first 30 seconds. How could you not be sold by that? My tribal mentality was deflated. Give me two years and I was playing all that stuff on guitar and had my own poorly printed back patch. I soon had a temper tantrum because I couldn’t play the intro to ‘Battery’ (which I later realized was two guitars) after trying for three days straight.
“Exploring Metallica’s catalog backwards from that point was an unbelievable excursion. Those guys had something going during that era that was just otherworldly. I’m not sure the balance of raw energy and meticulousness that they were able to strike has been matched before or since. That album bridged a cosmic gap and soon even Black Flag started to sound more like Black Sabbath. It’s all gone downhill from there.” – Connor Thornton, Gnaw
“As a pre-teen I was seriously into mainstream rock and was frequently reading this band name, Metallica, with an ever increasing curiosity. One day found myself in a grim basement next to a duffel bag of cassettes. The ‘older kids’ had disappeared into the woods, as they frequently did, presumably to smoke weed. I rummaged and extracted two things: Ozzy’s The Ultimate Sin and Master of Puppets. Stealing them both, I flew home, threw a couple Denon 90’s in the high speed dubber and returned the originals before anyone was the wiser. Subsequently, I repeat shredded that cassette as I spiraled on the fast track to Reign In Blood, Leprosy, and Scum. Thirty years later, I have still never heard The Ultimate Sin. – Brian Beatrice, Gnaw
“After Metallica released Ride the Lightning back in 1984 it quickly became one of my favorite heavy metal records. At the time, the song ‘Fight Fire with Fire’ was probably the heaviest song written and the entire record was crushing, so when I went to buy Master of Puppets in early 1986, I was really excited about blasting this on my stereo at home. Of course, being a real metal fan, I bought the record the day it was released and I recall thinking, ‘Can this record be as great as Ride the Lightning was??!!’ And of course it was and is! Every song on that record stands on its own and more importantly, has stood the test of time to now be an all-time classic heavy metal record.” – Shawn Drover, Act of Defiance
“I love the album. I thought they’re writing really showed a lot of growth. Putting an instrumental like ‘Orion’ on that record I thought was fantastic. I’ve always been a big fan of instrumentals and I think the wizard shows that. Plus tracks like battery ‘Sanitarium’ and of course ‘Master of Puppets’ were epic.” – Fred Gorhau, The Wizards of Winter
“All roads lead back to Master Of Puppets… ask any metal fan and they will more or less tell you the same thing. It’s the total package and helped redefine the way that people hear heavy music. The arrangements and guitar riffs blend perfectly with Hetfield’s vocal delivery. Kirk and Lars were on fire… and of course one cannot mention Master without talking about Cliff. He was an important part of the overall sound and the band’s spirit. Thanks to the brilliance of his musicianship, he lives forever.” – Henry Derek, Act Of Defiance
“Metallica is the very band that inspired me to want to play guitar. Up until the point of hearing Master of Puppets I was just a fan of music. Once I heard Puppets I was absolutely blown away. It was about 10 years after the release when I discovered it. Between the guitar riffs and leads, I felt so Inspired by it I asked my dad to help me get a guitar because at the very point, I wanted to play metal guitar. Master of Puppets in my opinion is the greatest metal album of all time. It could not possibly be better. An absolute masterpiece. No album ever inspired me more to want to be a part of metal than this album, without question. I can still play most of the riffs on this album to this day, although I learned them more than half my life ago. It’s a part of my DNA, and always will be!” – Ryan VanderWolk, Death Rattle
“I remember the first time I was graced with Master of Puppets. It was the cover art that attracted me first. My older brother brought it home and sat me down and said, ‘Prepare for everything to change.’ From that point heavy metal had a new face for me. The songs, the tones, the lyrics, it was perfect for me at that time!” – Connor Garritty, All Hail The Yeti
“Master of Puppets changed the way I listened to metal. Growing up during the height of nu-metal, I had only ever listened to bands like Korn and Deftones and was already getting into to different genres away from metal until one day I discovered Master of Puppets. I had no idea an older album could be so heavy, fast, raw and melodic all at once. The song ‘Orion’ forever changed my perspective on the role of a bass player. Cliff Burton’s melodic lines set a vibe I had never heard in metal before; the way the leads weave in and around his playing inspired so much of how I approach the bass guitar and what is possible within the genre. Cliff’s solo in ‘Orion’ at 6:35 pushes the boundaries of the instrument with full step bends and guitar-like licks without sacrificing any of the low end. From start to finish this album is as iconic as they come, and I truly feel it will always be Metallica’s most creative, genuine and innovative work to date. Master of Puppets locked me in as a metalhead for life and led me down the path towards all my future influences and musical endeavors.” – Chase Bryant, ONI
“In a time when classic albums from ’70s bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, AC/DC and Iron Maiden had defined heavier rock and metal, Master of Puppets slapped everyone’s face and inspired to think outside the box. I remember it as a wake up call for old school rockers like myself, innovative, original and fresh sounding. With this album Metallica literally rocked the foundation of heavy metal as we knew it.” – Jorn Lande, Pentakill
“It’s wild to think this record was out in ’86. I don’t think anyone in this band was alive at that point… My old man is a big Metallica fan and he always used to have this record on in the house, the more I grew up, the more I paid attention to this record, hearing tracks in skate videos like ON Video Magazine summer 2000 and seeing Danny Way jump out of a helicopter whilst a guitar solo is shredding got me pumped, wanting to learn the guitar parts. Even then growing up I started to understand the political messages. This record is iconic.” – Ash Gray, Venom Prison
“In high school, I used to look down on metal bass players. While I enjoyed listening to the genre, I never thought of actually playing the genre to be interesting or fun for bassists. Most people would read this and think, ‘We got ourselves another Victor Wooten fanboy/snob,’ and most people would be right. I was just learning the bass at the time and thought that funk and jazz were the ultimate genres for bassists of all kinds to thrive in, which spurred my snobbery. It wasn’t until I saw an upperclassman play in his metal band when I began to understand the insane chops needed to play that kind of tone with that level of consistency. I thought to myself, ‘I can totally do that, what’s the big deal?’ and I started looking up tabs for the first metal bands that came to my mind — Metallica was obviously the first one. ‘Battery’ and ‘Master of Puppets’ both kicked my ass. I remembered a hot wash of shame come over me as I sat in my room remembering all the times I was talking out of my ass to my friends and I immediately quit trying to learn both songs. After cooling down a bit, I came back and started focusing on trying to get the same percussive, growly tone I was hearing from both songs — I still use what I learned then today. Thanks for the cold bucket of water, Cliff.” – Eugene “Kyugene” Kang, Pentakill
“I had always been exposed to Metallica growing up as my brother would continually blast The Black Album, Load and Reload in his bedroom and on family holidays in the car. By this point I hadn’t ‘come online’ musically yet and was just passively absorbing (though definitely enjoying) this music as I entered my early teens. One day on a trip to our local shopping center, me and some friends entered the record store (of course, the place no longer exists) and found ourselves browsing through the metal section. My friend held up a CD case, adorned with rows of white grave markers and a familiar logo. Not being aware of Metallica’s early material I was curious to hear what it sounded like. I asked the kind lady behind the counter to put it on one of the listening stations for me and I put the headphones on. What followed was a beautiful classical guitar arrangement which slowly built up into huge, distorted harmony guitars and massive drum hits. When the crescendo hit its peak I was met with a riff of such masterful ferocity and technicality that I was completely transfixed. That precise moment of hearing the main riff from ‘Battery’ (and I do not understate this remotely) completely changed my life from there on and set me down the path of wanting to become a musician. A moment I always remember with great fondness when I put this record on.” – Richard “RickyTee” Thomson, Pentakill
?“I had just joined high school as a drummer who had started playing many years prior but having a massive void I knew needed filling musically. I needed heavy, I needed fast, I needed epic and as much as possible to take influence from. I finally met a friend who introduced me to Pantera, Fear Factory, Emperor (he was way ahead of his time) and of course Metallica. He showed me Master of Puppets and much the same as anyone in similar circumstances I was totally floored. Whilst some of the aforementioned bands showed me that there were incredible chops out there (Dime and Vinnie in particular) Metallica and Master of Puppets showed me that metal could be both parts beautiful and devastatingly heavy all in the same setting and metal had its anthems. As it turned out anthems that almost all metal heads uniformly knew better than church-goers knew their hymns at a church!” – Mike “PitmanDrums” Pitman, Pentakill
“?[The] drummer in my first band was two years older than the rest of us who were high school freshmen. Since he was older he could drive and would give us rides to and from school blasting Master every day. We thought we were the shit!
“So after hearing that album, my buddy Zac and I would sit in front of the tab book and practice the shit out of those riffs, which made us realize how godly James’ rhythm playing is. We’d stay up all night on school nights and sometimes even skip school the next day. We came up with our own dialect (called the dude voice) from the tabs — derived from the sound when sliding down from the 12 fret on the low E string, ‘duuuuuude.’ We also would blast riffs when we figured them out even if was 2 a.m. with parents sleeping! We were such dicks!” – Jason “Chupacobbler” Willey, Pentakill
“I remember Master of Puppets as the album that tied our differences in taste in my very first band as a teenager. It brought us together, and made possible what are now some of my favorite memories from those years: a crucial time where the right inspiration can be the spark that ignites a journey of a lifetime in music.” – Joe Atlan, Pentakill
“This personally for me is the best Metallica album ever! I must’ve been 6 or 7 when I first heard it and it changed my life. This became my favorite album and favorite band instantly. It was when they were at their best, the title track just breaks your neck and makes you want to drive on a high speed chase with the cops. For a new fan this would be the album I would recommend, plus its one of the best album cover of all time.” – Richie Cavalera, Incite
“As a teenager, I was already a big Metallica fan since Ride the Lightning had a huge impact on me. So when Metallica’s follow up Master of Puppets came out, I remember going to the record store, and picking it up when I was a young 19-year-old metalhead. One listen and I thought it was the most energetic, brutal, an amazing album I had ever heard after that point. Shortly after, I saw Metallica open up for Ozzy, at the BBC Arena in New Jersey, confirming Metallica’s magnitude as a band.” – Massacre, Terror Universal
“Master Of Puppets has always been my all-time favorite thrash metal album!!!! From it’s terrifying riffs like ‘Master of Puppets’ or the ominous classical guitar at the beginning of ‘Battery’ this album makes a huge statement about the aggressive musical scope Metallica has.” – Chris Broderick
“Master of Puppets will forever be one of the most memorable albums for me because the song, “Master of Puppets,” was the first heavy metal song I ever learned how to play on drums at age 13. Listening to Master of Puppets cemented my interest in playing aggressive heavy music.” – Jesse Shreibman, Bell Witch
?”A guy who babysat me from the ages of 4-8 listened to Master of Puppets and Ride the Lightning all the time. At that age I listened differently than I do now, but I remember loving the guitar solos and melody lines. As the years go on it’s been great noticing how many of those are actually bass lines instead of just guitar.” – Dylan Desmond, Bell Witch
“I remember VIVIDLY the day Master Of Puppets came out. I was at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and I remember taking ‘the tube’ to Newbury Comics to pick it up (on vinyl of course, CDs didn’t exist yet).
“I was already a Metallica fanatic having loved their first two albums and seen them live at L’amour in January of 1985. My bandmates John Petrucci and John Myung did not know about Metallica yet and I remember playing them the Master Of Puppets record over and over and over in my dorm at Berklee.
“I couldn’t picture Metallica topping Kill ‘Em All or Ride The Lightning as those were thrash masterpieces, but sure enough they did! MOP became the QUINTESSENTIAL metal album, not only of the ‘80s, but of all time!
“16 years later in 2002, myself and Dream Theater covered the album in its entirely several times (in Barcelona, Chicago and New York City) and one of the coolest moments for me was receiving a call from Lars thanking me for that and also saying it inspired them to play the album in its entirely as well!” – Mike Portnoy, Sons of Apollo/Dream Theater