Master of Puppets review by Metallica

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Mar 3, 1986
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.4 (2,573 votes)
Metallica: Master of Puppets

Sound — 10
First off, this album came to be the third of a band that at the time was still becoming together. After kill em all, metallica achieved a more skilled and musically better record with ride the lightining. Master Of Puppets following the structure of ride the lightning came to be the peak of cliff burton's playing, the best guitar solos achieved by kirk hammett this far, more complex riffs and a well barked voice by james hetfield, and a better definition on the drum parts achieved by lars ulrich. It's a very similar to ride the lightning but there's a more mature feeling in general to the whole music. If you compare the sound to the black album, it's not that good but as a sequence they definitely got better from the past. They also got better in they playing and style. This album is not only a thrash metal classic and standard but to the whole metal genre. Shreding, basslines and bass grooves are all the highest point in metallicas carreer for me. Voice, soloing, druming and singing are also great but they did better on other albums.

Lyrics — 10
I'm going to pick this section to discuss every song individually. 01.Battery: a great intro with acoustic guitars that grows into a smashing sound of disorted harmonized guitars. After some power chords are played, and the main riff is played a couple of times by riff master hetfield until the rest of the band gets in, this is a superfast riff which kicks off the record in a powerful headbanging way, james starts singing and right away you feel a more mature singer than in previous records barking off but permiting the understanding of the lyrics. The song is about positive and negative and how both compliment themselves and how a direct relation between both exists, how the positive and negative energy relate to one another and transform. This can be seen as happening in one person throughout the song, and this person being charged with a lot of energy. The song goes on for two more choruses and verses until a interlude comes in. A mighty riff is played acompanied by some neatly worked drums and a kick ass solo by kirk using his mighty wah pedal is played. After the solo, one simple but very powerful riff (maybe the most powerful riff by metallica) gets played. Another verse, another chorus and the powerful riff again to close the song. 02.Master Of Puppets: probably the best song in the record. Starts of with some chord smashing and a simple but very fast riff. In this song the basslines are a lot more notable than in battery, you can hear cliff pounding during the whole song with a strong sound. Later another very fast riff is played following the main verse riff. All this riffs are fast and have to be played faster to give a downstroke sound. Then the bridge (come crawling faster part) which involves one of the most complex riffs ending with a harmonized scale followed by the chorus. Another verse, bridge chorus are played to end with a silence. After this silence a complex clean part is played and this beatufull harmonized part that builds into a mellow solo by james and the harmonized part is played again. Then the clean part gets dissorted and builds up to a slow but heavy riff and some sick lyrics. This builds into a fast awesome solo by kirk. Another verse bridge chorus are played near the end and the song closes with the main riff and some evil laughter courtesy of James. The lyrics in the song are about the control something can have over ones life and how this control turns selfdestructive instead of wonderful as one could expect. It is said that James wrote this song about drug addiction. 03.The Thing That Should Not Be: this is "the heavyest number known to mankind" (Newsted Seattle 1989). Starts of with a heavy chord prgoresion played in a clean tone but that sounds creepy and dark. Then everything gets dissorted and evethough it's a slow tempo song it is just dark and evil. I play this song in Drop D Tunning, I think that Metallica does so too, I'm not sure, but it brings a very heavy sound.All the riffs are slow palmuted chord progressions. There are three verses and choruses follwed by a sick wah, scratching evil solo by Kirk, not one of his best but definitely well suited for the song, then another verse chorus and another wah scratching sound to close the song. The lyrics are about a book and it narrated the story in the book, the song is actualy tells a horror story and the music acompanies ands builds the perfect mood for the case. 04.Welcome Home (Sanitarium): this is the second ballad put out by metallica. It's pretty similar in structure to Fade to Black (the first ballad from previous record Ride The Lightning), The song starts with some natural harmonics and arpeggios and a clean solo that joins the band into the chorus. Once again in this song the bass can be heard neatly following the guitars. This is a virtue from Cliff Burton that has to be pointed out in this part of te album, Cliff can play as a company or a compliment to the drums, as he can accompany and play along with the Guitars, he can also have his own independent part that merges with the music and builds a mood to the song. In this song he plays independently and is heard doing similar arpeggios to those of the guitar. James sings the lyrics with some feelings not as strong as the ones in Fade To Black, and diverging from Fade To Black this song has a lyrical chorus. Between verses there is another beautiful solo by Kirk similar to the one in the intro but giving a depressing mood to the song. The lyrics in this first part of the song are tellig of a story of life in a mental institution and how depressing and damaging to the patient this can be. Then as it is common in Metallica ballads from the time everything gets f--ked up and a heavy riff is played, some lyrics from James that now turned into anger, and a fast kick ass headbanging solo comes in, some harmonizd parts are played at the middle section and the ending solo followed by some chord smashing. 05.Dissposable Heroes: Metallica always tries to have a critic against war and this is the song dessignated for it in this record. It's fast intro offers a headbanging riff. The intros in songs, albums, books etc, are for the listener/reader to prepare for what it's comming, and to invite the listener/reader for the contents of the song, this intro accomplishes this stting the mood for a kick ass song. This is the song that I like the least in the album, but it is more than a kick ass song. After the intro a fast palm muted riff is played, contrary to master of puppets the riffs in this song are played using both down and upstrokes due to the speed of them. The left hand job in these riffs is realtively simple, can be done with one finger, but the right hand does some awesome muted thirds, the chorus is probably simpler but it gives a great feel to the lyrics. The riff is joined to itself by some fast right hand action. This song is an outstading drum perfomance in the intro and the middle section. The middle section has a powerfull riff before turning into the solo. Once again this songs offers a great Cliff performance folloing the guitars this time. After the middle section Kirk performs a great guitar solo, repetitive at some parts but giving an excelent performance. After the solo the songs has another chorus verse and the ong ends with the fast main riff. The lyrics in the song deals with the life of young soldiers sent to battle and being injured or killed. 06.Lepper Messiah: probably one of the best lyrics on the record beign about how religious leaders can manipulate their parishoners into giving their money for their benefit instead of the benefit of the church or "religious means". Other interpretations of the song may deal with hypocresy and manipulation in general. The song has a smashing intro building into the main riff and a heavy bassline being complemented with some chords played in the guitar. This song is also very heavy without being fast. James sings with anger and his powerfull shouts are complemented with some backup vocals giving the feel of a strong statement. The song has a fast middle part which includes the solo which gives a great perfomance of arpeggios, not only the common pull offs and hammer ons. The song continues with a fast chorus and a fast riff with the shouts of "Lie" slowing down to the main riff and ending the song. 07.Orion: this is probably their best instrumental. As other instrumentals the bassline is basically an entire solo. The riffs are simple but powerfull making you want to headbang throughout the whole heavy parts. At the middle part they build a mellow section having a bassline setting the mood and the guitars play an awesome harmonized part. It is said the cliff would teach james to work with harmonies and this is noted on how everybody joins in to complement cliff. There is a bass solo a guitar solo and a heavy ending riff. 08.Damage Inc.: this song deals with destruction in general. As it was a custom of metallica back in the day, the closing track is a fast as hell kick ass song. There is a bass intro and then a strong chord smashing and a fast simple riff gets in. The lyrics are barked with anger and energy. There is a middle section that involves a great riff. Every riff in this song involves fast thirds which is a great aspect of thrash. The solo is fast as the song and ends back at the chorus. The song ends with the same chord smashing from the start and taht's how the record ends.

Overall Impression — 10
The record definitely is metallica's summit in thrash metal. The album is the most complex composition in thrash metal to that day. They harmonized well, the basslines where awesome (every bass player of any genre should play this record as a practice), drumms got better and lyrics are more mature. This is definitely my all time favorite record. Every metal fan or rock in general fan should listen to this record and appreciate this for what it is. I would like to close saying that all of this is my opinion and my interpretation of the record, it doesn't have to suite your opinion. Song meanings are to be interpreted by each listener depending on their mood and the things going on with their lives at the moment, so excuse me if my interpretation is not yours.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    How does this album not get a 10?! Silly! I'm not even a metal guy and I know this is a clear 10!
    A3r0sm1th wrote: This is probablly their best album along with death Magnetic, closley followed by Justice and Ride
    Please, children, let's keep a proper perspective! Death Magnetic is a fine record, but to compare it to Master?! Come back in 10 years and tell me the same thing!
    The great Master Of Puppet album.This is what Metallica is.Full of bone-chilling,fast and heavy riff.For me,its the best Metal album,better than Rust in Peace and Season In the Abyss.Metallica is back with DM and i hope they created another album as great as MoP.No,much more better than MoP so all the Metallica haters can shut their mouth up.
    Not to be that dick, but sure this guy knowns alot but not that much. Disposable Heros in my mind is a Classic not just because that was the first Metallica song I ever listen to, it was hardcore and not a boring song. Leper Messiah is a little bit of a fill in but it is still a classic in my mind,it may not be all so complicated but it still had a memorable solo and chorus. Orion just amazing that in my mind is a great instrumental, maybe not as good as yyz or texas floods but still a good one for thrash metal. Master. Master.Master. Metallica's best work.
    my favorite metallica album, i'm listening to it right now! every song is kick ass. the guitar tone is at its heaviest, the only thing i would change is lars's drumming, it's too simple in my opinion. the only metallica albums that i call the "real" albums are the kill em all, ride the lighting, and master of puppets. when cliff died they made videos and sold out, which cliff was very against, they started caring less and less each album about how good the songs are, but how much fame and money they could get, so they made horrible albums such as load and saint anger. true metallica fans love the "Oldtallica"(83-86)
    frantic_saint wrote: megadeth is mustaines way of getting back at metallica
    So ****ing true.....
    this album is very good but number of the beast is a lot better and so is powerslave but the best of jonny casis wank
    I think everyone who has long hair, agree with me that Master of Puppets is currently the best trash metal album, and it seems that never be anything that would beat it. For me it's not just the best trash metal work ever, for me it's the greatest album ever, it's totally beat every Beatles productions, Ledzepps, Sabbaths, Rolling Stones and even AC/DCs. (Don't blame me for this, thats not mean that i don't love Old School Rock). If i would have to write a list, thats would look like this: 1.- Metallica - Master of Puppets 2.- Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the moon 3.- Black Sabbath - Paranoid ... and so on...