Sound — 9
If there's a word to describe Metallica's genre, by the time "Master Of Puppets" was released it would not be thrash metal, nor power metal, nor even heavy metal. Metallica expanded on their sound they discovered in "Ride The Lightning," and with "Master Of Puppets", morphed themselves into a genre known simply as "metal". No other labels before it could possibly describe their music best; metal is as specific as you can get, because Metallica, at the height of their career, were too diverse to be justifiably placed in one certain category. Metal is what Metallica do best, and "Master Of Puppets" is probably their best representation of them doing what they do best, well, best. Though I'll admit that "Ride The Lightning" was better, "Master Of Puppets" seems to cover more ground and expand on what was lacking in "Ride The Lightning." The songs are generally longer, more intricate, have longer instrumental sections, and are overall just more complex. Whether or not that's a good thing, that's up to you to decide, but there's no denying that "Master Of Puppets" was perhaps the band's most experimental yet well-working album. Some songs, such as "Disposable Heroes" or "Damage Inc." still retain the band's classic thrash quality, while others, such as "Orion" or "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)", seem to embark on epic and monumental instrumental sections, and basically touch on what little was missing from "Ride The Lightning." From thrashy head-bang fests to epic super-songs to just plain fun old rock, "Master Of Puppets" takes Metallica to a whole new level.
Lyrics — 9
Another great thing about the album's advancement since "Ride The Lightning" is the lyrics. Hetfield has obviously matured in his lyric writing, and it is evident in certain passages of perhaps some of the most touching pieces Metallica have ever written, such as "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)." The album's title track is a wonderful and monumental album highlight, not only musically, but lyrically as well, as the song's actual meaning (being controlled by drugs) is hidden behind a delightfully twisted theme about puppets and humiliation. Definitely one of the greatest pieces in the band's career, no doubt.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, as I stated before, I thought "Ride The Lightning" was better, but "Master Of Puppets" is basically the enhanced, remastered version. Arguably the band's most solid work, the album is high up on my recommendation list. If you're a fan of diverse albums as opposed to consistent, themed works, then this album is definitely for you, because never before have 8 tracks seemed like 8 completely separate albums.