Metallica - Master of Puppets (1986) (1 Viewer)

rettucs

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Post of the week winner: 22nd March, 2013
I'm actually surprised at how few albums Metallica have. For a band that have been around as long as they have been I thought they'd be up in the 20s. According to wikipedia there are 9 albums (though an eager 'fan' has added an entry for an 'Untitled tenth album (2016)', bless).

I'm also impressed by how loyal people are to those earlier albums, despite what Metallica 'became' later on. I've been into bands before that disappeared up their own holes, as Metallica did, and have been completely put off the stuff I liked before because of it.

Incidentally, out of curiousity, when did they start to lose the plot? Was it as early as the black album? It always seemed to me that album was a bit too 'accessible' to your average punter (such as 16-year old me) to sit well with an ardent metaller. I loved that album when I was a kid. I find it unlistenable now. I don't know if thats because I listened to death back then, or whether its because its just shit.

Other than that I only really knew 'And Justice For All', so I never invested that much of myself into Metallica and so, wasn't too upset when they lost the plot. My next door neighbour (and best mate) as a kid, loved them. I remember him going on about it. He also wanted to call his dog Lars though, but his ma wouldn't let him.

According to wikipedia, Master of Puppets was their first album on a 'major' label. Can someone set a bit of context on this, please. Like, was this the album that saw them hit the 'big time', or were they already massive by then? From the wiki entry it would seem like it was something a lot of people might have missed first time around, but came back to (it 'was eventually certified 6 x platinum' in loads of places - cha-ching Metallica).

I've listened about 10 or so times since friday. There were 2 initial things that I struggled to get past. The first was James Hetfield. I had to stop myself being reminded of the black album stuff when listening to him. Not a big deal though. Once the songs started getting some traction, I forgot about those other songs. The second thing I had a problem with was those high-pitched squealey guitar solos. I think it sounds awful (reminds me of the fucking Darkness - see, thats the problem when you come to an album like this late, as I have - its fucking destroyed by all these poodle rockers who've pilfered and plagarised bits and pieces, and have used them to serve their own horrendous needs - pricks).

But, thats now become less of an issue too. In fact, cycling home from work yesterday one of those tunes was buzzing around my head.

Of the songs themselves, 'Welcome Home' is the standout track. Its pretty flawless really. Reading @pete's piece on this;

pete said:
A classic that's only slightly diminished by the fact that it sounds a bit too much like what came before (Ride The Lightning's Fade To Black) and after (...And Justice For All's One)
see, thats my advantage in not having a clue. I don't know those other songs, so no doubt, if/when I do get around to them I'll be annoyed that they're pulling bits from this song.

I don't get the hate for 'The Thing That Should Not Be'. Its grand, like. It's opening few bars are CLEARLY ripped off from 'The Lady Don't Mind' by Talking Heads though.

'Leper Messiah' reminds me of a time when I started discovering what little punk and metal music I know, in my mid to late teens. One of the few songs not 'ruined' by one of those guitar solos. This song just rocks.

'Orion', it was going so well until around 7 mins in. Then that guitar solo. Just, NO. Sorry, not for me.

The one thing that suprised me was the description of this album as 'thrash metal'. I always envisaged 'thrash' to be something a lot heavier, with grunting and chainsaws, rather than coherent singing and melodies. So, if nothing else, this past week has been an education.

4/5 Metallica, 4 OUT OF 5.
 

hiadudiad?

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The last time I listened to this album before it came up in album club was when I was in school and the band was practicing for a local talent competition with our new drummer. Before the first rehearsal with him we were throwing around ideas for what we might play and the new drummer passed around this album. Needless to say it didn't work out with that guy. (We got a different drummer, played Weather With You by Crowded House and won £50 between us)
 

Cornu Ammonis

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Incidentally, out of curiousity, when did they start to lose the plot? Was it as early as the black album? It always seemed to me that album was a bit too 'accessible' to your average punter (such as 16-year old me) to sit well with an ardent metaller. I loved that album when I was a kid. I find it unlistenable now. I don't know if thats because I listened to death back then, or whether its because its just shit.
I think, depending on when you first heard Metallica, the black album is their last great album or their first major misstep. I find it a bit stadium rock now but used to love it. I think Load is the point most of the hardcore metal fans really found them hard to deal with. It was seen as a jump onto the alternative rock bandwagon, especially with accompanying videos and eyeliner. For me, that was when they first really appeared on my radar and eventually lead into me getting into metal in a big way (Smashing Pumpkins would have been my favourite band at the time). I have a soft spot for Load but find it hard to listen to much after that. Although things like Garage Inc. and S&M have their moments too.

The one thing that suprised me was the description of this album as 'thrash metal'. I always envisaged 'thrash' to be something a lot heavier, with grunting and chainsaws, rather than coherent singing and melodies. So, if nothing else, this past week has been an education.
I think with the rise in death metal, black metal, grindcore, etc. that thrash is always going to sound tamer than descriptions of it when it was new would have you believe. I feel like that with the first wave of punk, you read all these descriptions of the late 70s about the fire, energy and anarchy and then you hear it's just bog standard rock and roll with a new set of clothes on it. Though personally I think a lot of thrash has aged really well in comparison to punk. Slayer's peak years still sound like a warzone and I spun Sacrilege's "Behind the Realms of Madness" the other day and it nearly ripped a chunk out of the fabric of reality. As I said earlier, the live recordings of Metallica doing these songs have so much more oomph than the studio versions, I would have loved to have seen them back then.
 

pete

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Everything that is logical in my brain tells me that this is the silliest, cheesiest shit ever, but i can't listen to it without the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. DIE! DIE! DIE!

 

hugh

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I would have loved to have seen them back then.
I saw them in 87 or so in the Top Hat. One of my first gigs. The main reason I went was because one of my mates was a huge fan and made me go. I was determined not to like it and didn't. Wasted on me it was.
 

Anthony

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I still and probably will always have a soft spot for Metallica. Their message hasn't changed. I enjoyed the film they did a few years ago. Saw them in '86 and a good few times after that. The last time was in the RDS where we left early because it was so boring but I'll still watch their gig recap videos when they show up on my friendface. I bought Death Magnetic and gave it a good listen and will probably get the new one and listen to it fairly.
 

7 - No tomorrow

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Listening to this again now, it's hard to believe it's 30 years old.

Battery - if you were to look up cliché in the dictionary, the second entry would be "acoustic intro on an 80s thrash album" (the first entry would be "if you were to look up X in the dictionary") but we are where we are. Great tune, gallops along.

Master of Puppets - Really, no comment required for this one. One of the best - if not the best - thrash metal songs ever written. Does not feel like its 8.5 minute length.

The Thing That Should Not Be - Bit of an abrupt change of pace here and, for me, one of the weaker songs on the album. Doesn't really go anywhere (I'll come back to this) and a fade out on the third track is just wrong.

Welcome Home (Sanitarium) - Another thrash metal trope - the track four semi ballad. A classic that's only slightly diminished by the fact that it sounds a bit too much like what came before (Ride The Lightning's Fade To Black) and after (...And Justice For All's One)

Disposable Heroes - FUCK YES. JUST... FUCK, YES. Beavis and Butthead in the form of a single song.

Leper Messiah - The other "weak" song on the album. Not a weak song by any means, they just set the standard so ridiculously high I suppose something had to give.

Orion - An 8.5 minute instrumental is a hard sell, but they make it work (that section at 4 minutes in... damn). Always thought they should have just written some words and finished the song.

Damage, Inc. - Oh god I could probably listen to this on repeat for ever. An absolutely perfect song. (it just crashed Spotify on me... must be a sign).

That does not feel like an album that's just shy of an hour long. Dave "I AM THE RIFFMASTER" Mustaine once said that the thing that set Megadeth apart from a million other thrash bands (apart from him being "THE RIFFMASTER", of course) were his arrangements of their songs, and I think for the most part you can see that here too. Two obvious exceptions (for me) would be The Thing That Should Not Be, which never really goes anywhere, and Orion, which like I said never really felt finished.

Let's be honest - Kill 'Em All wasn't that good, Ride The Lightning was a strong record with some occasional flashes of genius, but Master of Puppets took it to another level altogether. Ultimately, a lot of what Metallica did on this record was thoroughly aped by a whole lot of other inferior bands, most of whom had neither the ability nor the tunes to pull it off, but Master Of Puppets is an era and genre defining 5/5 for me.

Fuck it all and fucking no regrets.
Can't argue with any of this

It's hard to listen to this record without remembering listening to it in 1986, waiting for them to come to the SFX, how incredibly hard and loud it sounded then.
And now it sounds just... I don't know... beautiful?
It was beautiful then too, I just couldn't see it as clearly.

They took the thrash of Kill Em All and all the good ideas they had from Ride The Lightning and perfected them.
There was something about this record that was inarguable, Metallica were right, like they'd elegantly solved some ancient maths theory but with thrash metal.

For me they were never this good again, Cliff was dead, the Garage Days EP was basically telling us to go listen to other stuff, and then AFJA came along, kinda bloated and I never bought another Metallica record. But music itself was changing by then.

I don't really care that they became twats.
Because we don't need anything else from them, they've given us Master Of Puppets.


Have we really been doing Album Club for 4 years??
 

Cormcolash

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Was working at that, for the most part it was shit, shit set list, but the few classics they did were great. I went into the very front pit area for One/Master/BellTolls/CreepingDeath and that was class, didn't give much of a shit about most of the rest of the set
 

prefuse

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In the 80s they were Gods.
1991 to present, mere mortals.

My first proper gig was The damaged justice tour in the top hat. 1988.....October
I haven't gone to see them since.
 

prefuse

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I remember borrowing a denim jacket to go to see Metallica. I didn't have one but I thought you had to have one to go to a metal gig. I never did the patches & rocker paraphernalia thing. My hair was kind of long but that was about it. I was into the school bag art though. Drawing band logos on your school bag..... Is that still a thing?
 

prefuse

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Apparently the master of puppets track was recorded in a lower tuning and sped up using the vari sped control on the tape machine. I didn't know that.

 

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