When You Take a Music Theory Look Behind 'Master of Puppets' You'll Find This Weird 5/8 'Microtiming Deviation'

"What makes this rhythmic idiosyncracy different from what has been studied by most music theorists is..."

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Stephen Hudson from Metal in Theory has presented an interesting analysis of Metallica's classic track "Master of Puppets" a while ago, focusing on the track's peculiar 5/8 "microtiming deviation."

The thing takes place during the verses. As you can see in the first photo below, it's transcribed as a bunch of 4/4 bars followed by a single 5/8 bar even in the band's official tab book.

The author noted: "The problem is that on the album version of the track and in some live recordings, it doesn't really feel like an even 5/8 - the rhythm is consistently off enough that if you try to tap out really strict eighth notes, you end up not being with the band when you get through to other side.

"There's a lot of research literature within the fields of music theory and music cognition which focuses on such 'microtiming deviations,' but most of this research deals with rubato (slowing down and speeding up in the course of a phrase) or differences in timing between a solo instrument and the accompanying ensemble. That doesn't seem to be what is going on here."

Stephen's next move was to fire up Audacity and do some manual measuring.

He noted: "I wanted to be thorough, and measure enough timings of this pattern to get a good average, but I do still have a life outside of music research, so I only looked at the occurrences of this pattern in the first verse.

"That still gave me eight instances of the 5/8 pattern to study. I measured the surrounding quarter note beats for comparison, which are mostly clearly marked by the drum pattern. If you look at the chart below, there is a clear and surprisingly consistent pattern to how Metallica performs this rhythm.

"As you can see, Metallica's timing keeps pretty consistently to .15 seconds for an eighth note and .29 seconds for a quarter (or two eighth notes), except for the middle of the 5/8 measure. After the first three eighth notes of this measure, you can hear a brief pause before the last two eighth notes, a pause which is almost always .04 or .05 seconds (about a third of an eighth note), and which makes the measurement of these two eighth notes grouped together .34 or .35 seconds.

"What makes this rhythmic idiosyncracy different from what has been studied by most music theorists is that this slightly attenuated beat is performed by the whole ensemble in unison, and it's not a delay that is 'made up for' right afterwards. In other words, it's not a local deviation from the beat that maintains the pulse over a longer span of music, but a permanent shift of where the beat occurs.

"This 5/8 measure deliberately disrupts the song's pulse as much as possible. Even if the band played the eighth notes in straight timing, the quarter note pulse and half note pulse would both be disrupted by the odd length of the 5/8 measure. The 5/8 measure places accents on the second and fourth eighth notes, against the pulse of the preceding 4/4 measures, but then the following measures continue to reinforce this new location of the beat.

"For a long time, I thought that the transcriptions I’d seen were all wrong, that this riff did not have a 5/8 measure in it, but until I measured it I wasn’t sure if my ears were fooling me or not. I still think this is a valid question; 5/8 is 'supposed to be' five equally timed eighth notes, so does this performance of 'Master of Puppets' count as 5/8 when one eighth note is regularly 30% longer than the rest?"

For the full conclusion, make sure to consult the source.

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123 comments sorted by best / new / date

    jdperdomoq1
    The guy is just trying too hard. I bet Metallica never thought of this.
    korinaflyingv
    It's not trying too hard, he's just analysing it. I certainly found it pretty confusing when I was younger, and it might have helped a bit to have it explained. You're absolutely correct that they won't have thought of it. But that doesn't mean that's not what they're doing.
    Dr.Cheese
    It's only confusing when you try and write it down. There's no notation for "slightly rush this beat"
    theMetalgod
    Yeah its just a riff lol I really doubt they discussed 'microtiming deviations' while they were writing it.
    MaggaraMarine
    So what? A lot of musicians write some weird shit that they didn't really thoroughly analyze. They just wrote something that sounded cool. But this kind of analysis just makes other people understand what's really happening in those weird sounding parts. Theory is descriptive. It describes what's happening in music and that's the whole point of it. What was mentioned in the article was a very accurate description of what is happening in the riff. I'm sure originally it was just something they felt and didn't really think about (I mean, it sounds completely natural, not forced). But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be analyzed. I found the article interesting. I had also made a similar discovery when listening to the song - it's somewhere in between 5/8 and 3/4. If theory is not for you, ignore it. But some people find the more "mathematical"/theoretical side of music really interesting. No, it doesn't mean this is what they thought when they were writing that song. And that's rarely the case when it comes to music in general. Usually people just hear sounds in their head and play those sounds and that's it. They usually don't thoroughly analyze what's happening in their own music because they simply don't need to.
    qrEE
    this is because Lars is terrible at timing and most likely wasn't playing to a click. Not some deep music theory genius on the part of Metallica.
    korinaflyingv
    Do you have a source for this? Because you're most likely wrong. If he was terrible at timing the timing wouldn't be so consistent. It's just a rhythm they came up with without considering time signatures.
    logicbdj
    This is like people analyzing the Beatles, and talking about the Aeolian counter-harmony, etc., and yet neither Lennon nor McCartney knew they were applying an Aeolian counter-harmony (or whatever).
    qrEE
    Source -
    clear timing problems throughout.
    korinaflyingv
    The pause is always there and pretty similar length. This just makes it more clear that it's intentional.
    Iommianity
    Yeah thanks, listening to the recording immediately after reading the article definitely confirmed a point, just not yours. It's very obviously something intentional, whether they actually measured it out or not, which not even the article suggests. It's okay though, pretend this was a personal victory. You earned it. Maybe the more this point is made (after thirty years it hasn't been beaten into the ground enough), people will smarten up and stop enjoying Lars' playing and arranging, and I can only assume it will start with his peers listening to what fans think.
    qrEE
    Cool off friend, I'm not attacking Lars or attacking anyone for liking his drumming. I like his drumming on the early albums and I couldn't imagine anyone else playing his parts the way he did, but he really is terrible at timing and that's notable even all the way back to live footage from the 80's. He's a sloppy drummer and that's part of the charm. Literally all I was saying in my original post was "they weren't doing a 'microtiming deviation' on purpose, it was a result of not understanding time signatures". Here's what probably happened - James wrote a riff. Lars drummed to the riff. In rehearsals they played it the way that they jammed it out, and then when they went to record, Lars recorded his drums first without a click and that's why it ended up sounding the way it does, because it just happened to be a botched time signature. They don't know shit about time signatures and James probably tracked his guitars to Lars' drumming when they recorded the album, thus why I mentioned Lars (drums are typically the first thing recorded for an album). Whether or not it was intentional that they paused is completely irrelevant to any discussion. What I was saying is that a fucked up 5/8ths signature was not the plan, it just kinda happened. It wasn't this genius move of advanced music theory knowledge, it was just how they played the part in rehearsals. Now if you'll excuse me I have more important things to do than complain on the internet about music. Nah, just kidding, I'll be here all day.
    plbrynt
    Apparently, back then they would record James first and then put everything else over the top...
    korinaflyingv
    If you'd have meant that, that's what you would have said. Nice backtracking.
    qrEE
    If I'm gonna say what I mean in an exact manner leaving nothing implied, then that takes all of the fun out of making a joke. I have sympathy for your lack of humor, and I hope that heals up some day.
    dewitt
    They did adjust to it and create a consistent repeating piece from it, though. I've always thought it was probably them trying to play in an odd timing but not really understanding what they were doing with it.
    rodrigo.mij1990
    Still can't find the "Technical" aspect on his style some drummers have found on Lars like Joey Jordison
    MaggaraMarine
    Nah. It probably is just the fact that they played it by "feel" not by thinking about time signatures. Also, if it was Lars's fault, then it wouldn't be consistent, and also, then the whole band would not play it similarly.
    MaggaraMarine
    Also, I'm pretty sure it's James's riff so they were just following James. Maybe that's the way James played it and they didn't analyze it. They just followed the way James played it.
    Jehannum
    And James has described that riff as "pretty messy", so I think he instinctively knows it doesn't fit into the neat borders of basic time signature theory.
    udigit
    if music was meant to be perfect it would be shit . and your a dumb cunt
    Dynamight
    How did you get "music was meant to be perfect" from the comment you replied to? Still scratching my head over that.
    xeper9
    It's called 'groove'. Groove doesn't depend on precision with the metronome- you can take basically every Earth Wind & Fire song and play it against a metronome- it'll be off in seconds. It's nothing innovative by Metallica- just the sheer power of playing live.
    an.interloper
    Yep. Pretty much. It's exceptionally annoying to me when people try to over-intellectualize music. It's not an equation.
    Panasonic3
    I disagree. Music is an equation that starts with ryhthm and adds on with notes and things. Furthermore the notes you play (chords and things) have predetermined "emotions" associated to them, especially depending on the the preceding and following notes. You don't have to know what you are doing, but it makes it a hell of a lot easier to sing the song that is in your soul if you know every facet of music theory. Even the Dead Kennedy's have theory knowledge as well as Earth Wind amd Fire. They built songs from.the ground up having at least a vague idea of what they thought it would sound like in the end. 1+x=2.
    an.interloper
    You 'can' make anything into an equation - including emotion. That doesn't mean it should be done. Also, having theory knowledge doesn't make music into an equation. I have some theory knowledge. I also don't do things like this.
    theotherlebowsk
    an interesting article but the song is in a mid tempo range (around 110-112bpm) with a 4/4 and 7/8 switch up rather than anything 5/8. it's often written as 5/8 and at about 220bpm but if you just listen to it and feel the underlaying beat rather than hearing the speed at which it's played you can hear that it's 4/4 and 7/8 rather than 5/8.
    Carbin Monoxide
    That's how I count it! I don't feel so alone anymore...
    darkblackpoison
    This means then that its written in 6/8 I think there must be an eighth note in between the last slides
    beesea
    yes exactly - eighth note rest makes it 6/8, and there's a space in between the two slides for sure. But no way is it a full beat of space (which is what it would take to make it 7/8).
    Metal-Mind
    Well, I feel the beat and - at least for me - it es clearly somewhat above 200 bpm with 8th notes instead of 110 with 16th notes. This stuff can be very subjectiv but I think the main theme of this song is up tempo pretty clearly. But hey, if you like to count it in 110, go for it
    theotherlebowsk
    if it works for you then keep thinking of it that way but you should always try to find the simplest, most elegant way to think and play. thinking at 200+bpm is tiring (especially if you're tapping your foot to keep time!), halve it and go with the underlaying feel of the song rather than the speed of it. if you listen at the end, on the outro of the song, Lars is hitting the snare on the quarter notes that is exactly the tempo of the part giving the guitar part 16th notes over 110bpm.
    MaggaraMarine
    But if you think it in half tempo, then it's not 4/4 + 7/8. It's actually (close to) 4/4 + 13/16. I mean, three bars of 4/4 + one bar of 5/8 with half note values would be three bars of 4/8 + one bar of 5/16. And if you make it so that there are 4 beats per bar, it becomes one bar of 4/4 and one bar of 13/16 (2/4 + 5/16). I do think it's in 220bpm. Why? Listen to the drums. When you play a basic 4/4 beat, you play the kick on 1 and 3 and the snare on 2 and 4. OK, it may be easier to count half notes in that fast tempo and I wouldn't say it's completely wrong to write it in 110bpm. But I would write it in 220bpm because of the drums. If the drums also played a half tempo beat, then writing it in 110bpm would totally make sense. But whatever, the article was talking about the odd rhythm in the end of the riff. I have also noticed this - the 8ths/16ths (however you count them) are not even. It's kind of in between 5/8 and 6/8 (or if we use the way you would count it, 13/16 and 7/8). When they play it live, I think they play it closer to 5/8 but on the album it is pretty much in between 5/8 and 3/4 (but closer to 5/8). Slow it down and you'll hear it. I noticed the tab you posted (with 4/4 + 7/8 time signatures), but it is incorrect. Listen to the album, slow it down. There is no open E between the G5-A5 G5-A5 in the end of the riff. Also, as I said, the 8ths/16ths are not even.
    theotherlebowsk
    if you halve the tempo it stays 4/4, you truncate the first two bars of eight notes and make one bar of 16th notes, then you take the next two bars of eighth notes and again truncate them into one bar and make them 16th notes and that gives you 14/16 which at 110bpm is actually 7/8.
    MaggaraMarine
    Again, look at the transcription in the article. It's 3 bars of 4/4 + one bar of 5/8 (that is the most accurate way of transcribing it, but not 100% accurate). In half tempo that would be 3 bars of 2/4 + one bar of 5/16. The first two 2/4 bars make up a 4/4 bar. The 2/4 + 5/16 make up a 13/16 bar. Now, as said in the article, 5/8 is not completely accurate because the bar is actually a third of an 8th note longer than that. So in half tempo it would be 4/4 + 13/16 + a third of a 16th note.
    theotherlebowsk
    i've read the article and i've seen that version of it transcribed before and touted as the standard/right way. but as i mentioned above, which you clearly didn't read, if you halve the tempo you make the note value smaller: 8th notes become 16ths, and instead of 3 bars of 4/4 and one bar of 5/8 you get 1 bar of 4/4 (your first two bars of 4/4 8th notes truncated and stepped down to 110bpm) and one bar of 7/8 you 3rd bar of 4/4 and your bar of 5/8 truncated and stepped down to 16th notes at 110bpm). the fact that things aren't EXACTLY fitting into a bar as per a metronome is because they were young guys, playing live, writing and recording tracks they knew were immense and they were probably high and drunk too. that's what gives the song it's feel BUT if you're going to transcribe it and average out the rhythms, tempos, time sigs etc into something that is 98% right and most importantly, useable, you're going to have to sacrifice those fractions of a fraction of a second oddities otherwise it will be an unreadable pile of balls. you're getting way too granular. i would love to be able to upload my version of it at 110bpm so that you could download it and hear/see exactly what i mean...
    MaggaraMarine
    "one bar of 7/8 you 3rd bar of 4/4 and your bar of 5/8 truncated and stepped down to 16th notes at 110bpm." Yes, I read what you just wrote but how exactly does 4/4 + 5/8 in half tempo equal 7/8 (or 14/16)? 4/4 + 5/8 = 8/8 + 5/8 = 13/8. In half tempo an 8th becomes a 16th, so 13/8 becomes 13/16. Simple math. So if we transcribed it in half tempo, it would be 4/4 + 13/16-ish, not 4/4 + 7/8.
    theotherlebowsk
    if you've got gp6 or something similar, put the riff in at 110bpm, 4/4 + 7/8 and set the two bars to repeat a few times and then listen to it. i get the notion of 220bpm and the thought that the kick is on the 1 and 3 but have you ever seen the playing instruction "double-time feel"? the song is 110 and he's playing with a double time feel to make it feel fast. don't always listen to the drums for the tempo, the tempo is the underlaying feel or pulse of the song not the speed it "sounds". just because a song sounds fast, doesn't mean that it is! you're over thinking the maths on this (and the maths isn't really that important). you have to think of how many actual notes are being played (if you play it straight without the rests): 0000 0000 0000 0000 = 16; 0000 0000 0000 00 =14; this is a bar of 4/4 + a bar of 7/8 i know i've added in a couple of open E's but that's so that it's easier to read (wrestling with rests is a ball ache when trying to explain things simply) in notation you're after the most accurate, closest, readable approximation of the riff you're transcribing. what you're not after is the exact nano-second's pause in one round of a riff versus another round! I've been listening to this track for 28 years and a musician for 30 so i'm very familiar with it. there are discrepancies between different passes of the riff due to human error when playing it in the studio but it is, mechanically speaking in terms of a rock solid average, 110bpm 4/4 + 7/8 in 16th notes with those rests you mention on the guitar, not sure cliff is playing the rests though! plug it into gp6 and see what i mean.
    MaggaraMarine
    I'm not overthinking anything. I'm just explaining what the article said. Read the article. Listen to the album (slow it down to half tempo and it's even easier to hear). The 16th notes in the last bar are not even. Actually, when they play it live, it's even closer to 13/16. The record is kind of in between 13/16 and 7/8. When it comes to 220bpm vs 110bpm, I would say the song is mostly in 220bpm. Most of the song is in "double tempo feel" so I would notate it in 220bpm. And in rock music it is usually the drums that make something sound like "double tempo" or "half tempo". But yeah, it is the same tempo, it's just different note values. Listen to this live version and tell me it sounds like 4/4 + 7/8. Because it doesn't. The album is a bit closer to 7/8, but as you can read in the article, it is not that either. It is in between 13/16 and 7/8 (or as the article says, 5/8 and 3/4 because it uses longer note values).
    Grillflame
    I have to agree that the song is 220 bpm rather than 110 bpm. Partly due to the overall feel of the song and the fact that it is easier to read 8 notes per bar rather than 16. Also as the article demonstrates by measuring the timing, it is in between 5/8 and 6/8. There is not an extra 8th note (or 16th note at 110 bpm) between the two chords. It is a pause that's a third of an 8th note. If you don't believe what we're saying theotherlebowsk then at least believe the timings measured using Audacity. I'm sure it is more accurate than your ears despite your 30 years music experience.
    MaggaraMarine
    Exactly. As said in the article, they accurately measured the length of the bar - it's 5/8 + c.30% of the length of an 8th note. Your ears may lie (no matter how experienced you are) but science doesn't. When I first heard the song, I thought it as 3 bars of 4/4 + 1 bar of 3/4, but I didn't pay attention to it because it just sounded natural. But then I started paying closer attention to it and noticed that there is something strange in it. I listened to it in half tempo and made a similar discovery as in the article - it's neither 5/8 nor 3/4 but something in between. It's impossible to notate accurately, but I think the way it's notated in the article is the best way.
    elsewhither
    If the last bar is notated as 13/16 with all 8th notes and a dotted 16th rest between the slides, it sounds as played. They simply "feel" their way through it and rush what was supposed to be a 3/4 bar with an 8th note rest between the slides, similar to the palm muted E note between the 1st and 2nd slides of bar 2. Not a big deal, since they rush it as a group so it still sounds tight.
    MaggaraMarine
    I don't hear it as a rushed 3/4, I hear it as a delayed 5/8. Especially the way they play it live, it sounds like 5/8. But yeah, I think you could notate it either way (3/4 or 5/8) and both would be fine. But as the article said, it's closer to 5/8 than 3/4, so I think I would prefer notating it as 5/8 (especially because that's the way they play it live). Edit: Actually, sorry, I may have misread one thing in the article. It actually is pretty much in between 5/8 and 3/4 because if I understood it correctly, the small pause is added to both of the G5-A5 slides. But the way they play it live is closer to 5/8.
    Abacus11
    I never looked at it quite this way but always just thought of it as the last section of each verse as being slightly rushed. It's one of those things that I love about pre-Pro Tools music... Imperfections that add nuance and personality.
    Jehannum
    Interesting point. So this kind of thing has been lost in today's music because it's effectively created using computers. I've seen something similar in the evolution of film scores.
    beesea
    I always thought they were going for a measure of 6/8 there, but just rushing the shit out of it...
    korinaflyingv
    That's what it always sounded like to me, I was surprised to see it as 5/8 here. I think it's neither though. Just Metallica being confusing bastards.
    TheHydra
    Why do people get so defensive when they see people analyzing music like this? The big bad music theorists aren't going to hold you at gunpoint and force you to write all your music on a staff.
    theman6
    Pretty sure it's alternating between 4/4 and 7/8 Saying it's a 5/8 is just confusing it as all fuck
    MaggaraMarine
    It's about double time vs half time. Look at the way it was notated in the article. It's 3 bars of 4/4 and one bar of 5/8-ish. The way you would notate it is with half note values (16th notes instead of 8th notes). But then it would be 4/4 + 13/16-ish, not 7/8. (Or 4/4 + 2/4 + 5/16.) But why I support the way it's notated in the article is because of the drums. Listen to the kick and snare. Usually when you play a basic 4/4 beat, you play the kick on 1 and 3 and snare on 2 and 4. If we follow that rule, the way it is notated in the article is correct.
    theman6
    I know, I understand that, the way I mentioned would be with a slower tempo But even so, it should be a 6/8, not a 5/8, even if there's only 5 notes, there are still 6 beats
    MaggaraMarine
    Yeah, I understand that you were talking about half tempo. But read the article. The article basically said it is between 5/8 and 6/8. Actually, it's a bit closer to 5/8 - it's 5/8 + a third of the length of an 8th note. They measured that. Now, whether you want to notate it as 5/8 or 6/8 is of course your decision because neither of them is 100% accurate.
    Gexzilla
    It's because when they recorded MoP they couldn't decide should they get 5 bottles of vodka and 8 bottles of beer or 5 bottles of beer and 8 bottles of vodka.
    btfbonzo
    It's called just playing what feels right instead of forcing things into perfect timing. You play with your soul not with your brain.
    cmvideo
    Why is it so hard to think they intentionally wrote this slightly off time rhythm without knowing the theory behind it? Don't you guys jam with anyone? You play your riffs, you F around, speed up, slow down, stutter, F with the drummer, drummer Fs with you... next thing you know you have a cool ass riff without even thinking about timing or theory.
    theotherlebowsk
    because cliff was a theory guy so they felt they could get more complex than the straight up riffing of kill 'em all. they got more fancy on lightning but this was where they really go the feel of cliff's theory background.
    MaggaraMarine
    To me it sounds like the riff was written by "feel", not by thinking about time signatures. I'm pretty sure it was James's riff, so it may be just something he showed to the other guys and they wrote a song around it. It's pretty hard to tell other people to play "a bar of 5/8 + a third of an 8th note". Sure, Cliff knew theory, but stuff like this is really not thought out, it's all about sound. It's more of a "groove" thing. Groove is not something you can theoretically describe that well. It's something that you just feel when you play.
    pressureproject
    This kind of "research" is what you can accomplish with a lot of time, no kids, and a massive amount of coffee and booze.
    dectlariosa005
    Who needs Music theory in Metallica's music? They are garage band from the very start until in present time. I learn playing guitar in listening to radio/tapes (the rewind,play,pause thing) and i don't give a damn in theory anyway. All in the ears.. Makes me sad new guitarist today learn via theory and youtube and that's what makes them all the same.
    l0ld4v3
    Actually, theory can be applied to all forms of music. Theory's a tool that can make improve your playing, seriously, but it's just that, tools.
    Dynamight
    Theory shouldn't improve your playing. It's simply a universal means of communicating music with others.
    l0ld4v3
    It improves music understanding, if that doesn't improve one's playing, there's something definitely wrong there. Learning can only be beneficial, neurologically speaking.
    Dynamight
    You can understand and learn everything you need about music without a shred of theory. For example I learned the Phrygian Dominant scale by ear simply from practicing guitar, before I knew what it was called. And sure, learning can only be beneficial, but you're not going to suddenly try to learn the finer points of theological anthropology just because you can.
    l0ld4v3
    "You can understand and learn everything you need about music" This is a very limited way to observe the vastness of musical theory, which isn't overly complex or inflexible. It just makes it easier to approach different styles, languages and instruments. Sure, people doesn't have to know how Pythagoras influenced the modern 8 note scale with his math shit to learn to play, but there's more beyond historic facts and shit.
    dectlariosa005
    Jimmy Hendrix(RIP) is not using theory right? his tools probably cocaine and alcohol.. and yet the likes of Petrucci, Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai totally admired him.
    miguel-m
    Yes, go do some coke and alcohol. That will definitely help you play like "Jimmy". I'd adress your remarks on theory being useless or not important, but it's clear from your two comments you're not going to understand my reasoning.
    EntropicDiscord
    "and i don't give a damn in theory anyway." And this is why eventually you will either hit a wall and become frustrated, or become complacent in your cage.
    dectlariosa005
    No it does not limit my playing style not frustrated also... in my 12 years of playing i relay much more on my ears. I believe i have created my own style of playing. I dont know dude, maybe i have this gift.
    l0ld4v3
    this is literally what I'd expect of someone that doesn't know theory. You can apply music theory to Hendrix's music, you can right his pieces in music notation, transcribe for different instruments, etc. with enough theory, you can even play music pieces without hearing them first, just by reading the notation. you don't need theory to compose a piece, but it sure helps to get it done.
    anders.jorgense
    First of all who cares? Next Lars did record to a click track according to his Modern Drummer interview from 1987! Second of all there was a lot of stops and starts + edits and overdubs to get the drum tracks done. It is all public if you care for research. Weird timing is part of Metallica and how they felt when doing it back then. It would be James and Lars first with Cliff,Jason and Kirk later. Why analyse the crap out of it? What a waste of time!
    elsewhither
    I always thought that bar felt a bit rushed, but at least they are all "rushing it" in together, so it creates the illusion of being deliberate. What they're going for is a 3/4 with a rest between the slides, but they rush it. It was transcribed as 5/8, which (Wolf Marshall I believe) probably figured was close enough. I think a more accurate timing is 13/16, all notes are 8th notes but there is a dotted 16th rest between the slides. It's ugly, but closer to reality than 5/8.
    kuno1015
    Also, Call of Ktulu tabs, don't include that on the 4th time, of the 3rd segment of the song, it should end with an open B string, not an open E string.
    travislausch
    Kind of reminds me a bit of the official transcription of Korn's "Blind" from the Life Is Peachy tab book, adding in that one little pause in the intro as a single bar of "3/16" time. I'm pretty sure Korn didn't sit there saying "bro, this pause needs to be exactly three sixteenth notes long". Just a weird little sort of trick of happenstance there.
    Kornholic
    If I remember correctly, David Silveria didn't play to a metronome until Follow the Leader.
    EntropicDiscord
    Why is "Blind" in the Life is Peachy book?
    travislausch
    Because they didn't make a tab book for the first album, just put "Blind" and "Shoots And Ladders" as bonus songs in the Life Is Peachy one, and I think "Ball Tongue" made it into some Korn bass tab compilation book.
    EntropicDiscord
    I see, I didn't know that. I used to have a pdf from that book when I was trying to figure out how they did the intro to "Wicked"
    Grillflame
    Also reminds me of the verse of Lucretia by Megadeth. There's a 15/16 bar in there which I treat as a slightly rushed beat.
    Candlewolf
    Exactly. It's fucking around with something while playing live, then working backwards to work out exactly what the hell it was, in standard notation.
    travislausch
    Yeah, and then it becomes quite open to interpretation. I've seen the bar in MoP notated as goddamn 11/16 time before. I'm pretty sure the dudes in Metallica haven't got a clue what 11/16 time even is.
    miguel-m
    People hating on Lars should listen to more concerts by Metallica. He's one of the tightest live drummers out there.
    m4ss3 m/
    I always thought there was something wrong with that riff but I always thought that it was just bad timing.
    RyanP1121
    I've never cared less about anything ever. Master of Puppets is easily a top 5 Metallica song for me.
    Kueller917
    I think this is pretty cool assuming the likely case that this was unintentional by Metallica. Like we can do these slight deviations just out of feeling and rhythm. Defies measure but still doesn't sound "wrong".
    akunohana20151
    Oh my God ! Speaking of Metallica ! Listen to this cover of the song 'Unforgiven' It's actually BETTER than Metallica could have hoped to have achieved with the original !
    timandjen
    There's nothing wrong with theory as long as you realize that there is such a thing as "fundamental theory" and "real world theory". By all means learn it because it helps tremendously, but never stop playing from the heart. Metal really makes no theoretical sense anyway but it's the best genre of music in history in my opinion.
    jean_genie
    This is a very complicated way to say 'Master of Puppets was played by feel.' There are a ton of Soundgarden and Nirvana tracks that drop or occasionally add a note or note and-a-half ... so many that growing up listening to them as I learned to play, I still have a really hard time not dropping a beat every fourth measure.
    Downfault
    When I write songs with my drummer I tend to notice we get a lot of weird time signatures like this. He is not the greatest drummer and he really struggles with keeping in time and playing to certain beats so to accommodate he comes up with odd time signatures. I wouldn't doubt this was the result of the same issue with Lars.
    nicolas.arango.
    Metallica has an incredible amount of odd time signatures for a thrash band that's never been really associated with technicality. I think it's mostly unintentional as most are saying, so it still sounds very musical.