Sound — 7
Master of Puppets is composed of mid-paced thrash, in the vain of bands like Megadeth and Anthrax. While it doesn't possess the technicality of, say, Artillery, or the brutality of Slayer, or even the sheer onslaught of thrash produced by such greats as Exodus or Coroner, it does have its own charms. For one, it is highly memorable, if not innovative. This is usually the one that grabs kids and drags them down deeper into the world of metal. There aren't really any frills or gimmicks here, just that catchy kind of thrash that Metallica became known for, and you can tell. This is something of a double edged sword in fact, as this album really loses it's shine after your initial listens. There aren't really any innovations here, because that's not really the purpose of this album. This could be fairly accurately described as "Pop Metal" actually, both for it's now legendary reputation, and for the fact that it is relatively simplistic when compared with the works of Metallica's peers. The real objective of this album (or perhaps that was merely the end result) was to enamour the media to the previously alienating rawness of thrash metal. In reality, all this really did was coozy Metallica up with the mainstream, and spawn a generation of kids hailing this as "THE GREATEST ALBUM EVAH!!!" (said kids being the same ones who hail Slipknot as the most brutal death metal in existence). This is the first Metallica album truly written without Dave Mustaine and it shows. Gone is the memorable barrage of riffs, instead to be replaced by all too frequently repetative song structures and an uninspired instrumental. That isn't to say there aren't some good songs on here ("Battery", "Sanitarium" and "Disposable Heroes" come to mind), but a lot of songs are bogged down by shameless repetition and blandness.
Lyrics — 7
Generally, the lyrics are alright. They won't win any Pulitzer's, but the aggressive lyrics of songs such as "Battery" match the mood, at least. There's even some Lovecraft thrown in (The Thing That Should Not Be) for good measure, and they have some nice rhyme schemes going throughout the songs. Besides, it's not like anyone listens to thrash, of any variety, for literary enrichment.
Overall Impression — 7
Overall, it would not be inaccurate to label this Metallica's true "sell-out album". This is where they generally simplified their previous style of mid-paced thrash into a form that was more easily digestible, and therefore more suited for mass consumption. I have to say that, while I still do enjoy this album, it's lost a lot of the old glamour, and even when I first heard it I can still remember feeling a pang of dissapointment. After all, this is perhaps the most over-hyped album of the 20th century, so I was expecting something truly earth-shaking. Instead, this is an average album, with a mountainous reputation that I believe it is not really deserving of. There are far better albums out there, hell, even it's predecessor, Ride the Lightning, was more enjoyable. My advice is that you spend your cash on the aforementioned album and pass this one up. Besides, you're bound to hear it everywhere you go, so why bother?