Tag Archives: Master Of Puppets review

Vinyl Rewrite- Metallica: Master of Puppets(1986)

 

Metallica really first came across my radar in early 1985 when a Canadian magazine called Metallion was raving about this band from California.

Then a few months later I was at A&A Records (long since defunct) and purchased two records that day. One was Deep Purple’s Perfect Strangers release which was the 5 old British Geezers reunion album and the other one was Ride The Lightning by Metallica who were a hell of a lot younger than Deep Purple, to say the least.

Both albums were awesome but Metallica kind of blew my mind as these guys weren’t that much older than me as I was 17 at the time yet here are these four long hairs writing tunes musically/lyrically like Fade To Black. James Hetfield blew my mind that he knew how to handle the English Vocabulary with his lyrics as I was just trying to pass Grade 13 English back in 86!

I knew and many knew as well that Metallica was a band on the fast track to superstardom.

So in March 1986 drops into the Record Shops Master of Puppets and it was an easy purchase which I bought on cassette for the trusty old Walkman at the time.

1986, let’s think about that year musically in the Hard Rock Spectrum for a second.

Lot’s of Hard Rock was coming out that year in which I was trying to keep up. Judas Priest had the Synthy driven Turbo album and even my Homeboys Iron Maiden went synthy on the brilliant Somewhere In Time release.

Here in Thunder Bay, some new bands were entering my radar in 1986 three of which come to my mind right away are Europe’s The Final Countdown, Poison’s Look What The Cat Dragged In and Tesla with Mechanical Renonsnance.

That was the Hard Rock stuff. Even my pal Tbone was exploring those as well and was digging Huey Lewis And The News with the Fore release and Loverboy with there Loving Every Minute of It album.

I was a little concerned with Tbone shifting musical directions as I thought “Is he going all in Top 40?’ but by 1987 Tbone was back once The Cult hit the streets with the fantastic Electric album.  Tbone dabbled in other areas of music and rehabbed himself musically even after the Y&T Down For The Count debacle as well in 1986.

Sorry, I’m fast-forwarding here. Need to rewind a bit back

I guess what I’m trying to get at was Metallica went for a very dry sounding heavy record and they succeded on many levels. Master of Puppets sonically sounds the exact opposite of what everything else was sounding that came out in 1986.

Even the cover is a grave reminder(get it?) that not all music had to be happy go lucky (Hello Poison) as the cover is dark in nature. Even the back cover shots. They look tough in a 1986 way. Love that stadium shot from the backstage area. Just the pics alone pull you in.

No Hard Rock Gloss more like a Fist To The Face in the songs as opener Battery proves nice little classical guitar opening than the slam of the guitars. A complete wall of sound as the Bass/Drums and vocals and lyrics of James Hetfield make you take notice.

Lashing out the action, returning the reaction
Weak are ripped and torn away
Hypnotizing power, crushing all that cower
Battery is here to stay.  

Smashing through the boundaries
Lunacy has found me
Cannot stop the battery
Pounding out aggression
Turns into obsession
Cannot kill the battery
Cannot kill the family
Battery is found in me
Battery
Battery

The whole album just rips at such a huge clip!

The second song is the title track that being Master of Puppets which in all its just over 8 minutes takes you on a sonic journey with all kinds of tempo changes throughout. Love that breakdown and buildup before the song lifts off again into the solo.

The Thing That Should Not Be and Welcome Home Sanitarium(songs 3 and 4 respectively) have Metallica taking their foot off of the gas pedal in tempo for the most part.  The Thing That Should Not Be crawls along with real cool verses and choruses while Welcome Home Sanitriuom picks up the pace somewhat especially when Kirk Hammett(before he fell in love with the wah pedal) lays done a brilliant solo.

Speaking of which that’s all Kirk did was show up to the studio and play solos as Hetfield handled all the rhythms and only James. Back then that is. Did someone just holler out ‘Control”??

Side 1 is officially over, What a Power Surge!

Side 2 lifts off with Disposable Heroes. All 8 minutes and 17 seconds of it! Speed Metal did Metallica style. If you were fooled by the tempo of the last two songs on Side 1 think again as Disposable Heroes kicks your senses to the curb!

Leper Messiah has a groove similar to AC/DC but a quicker tempo mind you that goes out the door come solo time but Leper Messiah does not fool around at all.

James gets to rest his larynx as the musical driven Orion plows through which is like if Geddy/Neil and Alex got into a bottle of Vodka washed it down with speed and jammed out a metal-like tune. Speaking of RUSH they are thanked in the credits of the album so three cheers to Metallica back in 86 for recognizing brilliance! Course there was the rumor floating around that Geddy was considered to produce this album. Imagine that? Rickenbachers Rejoice!

Damage Inc ends the album with a furious blitz of riffs n drums as Lars pounds those drums like artillery is going off! Frantic is the pace and basically the pace set forth by Metallica on this album.

In these Vinyl Rewrites, I usually don’t go song by song but once I started I couldn’t stop if I only wrote about half the songs that’s not cool either so… Thanks for sticking around to the end!

Not only did I mark this as a Vinyl Rewrite I included in another category(Impact ALbums) and that’s because when I first heard Master of Puppets in 1986 this was a sound I had never heard.

Sure there were other metal acts out at the time like Anthrax and Slayer but I didn’t really take to them. Well, Anthrax I did buy 1988’s State of Euphoria at the time (thanks HMO for the bonus tracks with the Anthrax reissue) and Slayer well just plain scared me! In Slayers defense they did an ass-kicker cover of In A Gadda Da Vida on the Less Than Zero soundtrack.

One last thing is I need to thank my daughter Lexie for buying Master of Puppets for me on vinyl this past Xmas.

We had a laugh as 3 out of the last 4 Xmas’s Lex has bought me Metallica albums for gifts (And Justice For All/Hardwired/Master of Puppets) without knowing there was a pattern developing.

 

 

 

 

Metallica/Master Of Puppets

The KMA is run by two dudes Aaron and James! Check there stuff out just look over to your right and under the heading of Fellow Friends there they be! Click Keeps Me Alive  …and have some laughs as Aaron and James have a great way with words. James is great with words he thinks things out kinda like a old school western gunslinger someone like Wyatt Earp he shows up out of the blue and throws down some well written reviews  whereas Aaron is like Billy The Kid he’s constantly moving, darting around with his words making you laugh and than BAM!  Aaron shoots you between the eyes with his writing! No questions asked. Aaron is a fantastic wordsmith! Dude constantly cracks me up…..

Best in both worlds of writing and considering both of them run there site together and even though they are worlds apart in writing  styles  it works!

Kudos Fella’s!

KMA means Keep Me Alive to me though it’s Kick My Ass so here it be!

Enjoy the week Hombres!

Kick My Ass Week…and guess what another snappy happy 3 album meal (maybe?)deal. I think James and Aaron would endorse these three albums (maybe?)I’m about to review….so sit back and enjoy the ride!

1986 and the Metallica Metal Booze Express is loaded with Jack and pounding the sonics of youth across Canada and the world! My first purchase of Tallica was in 1985 with Ride The Lightning and man considering how metal it was and how young they were and how much they liked booze that they could  pull of a tune like Fade To Black just blew my mind! It just showed you there seriousness at there craft And Fade To Black just makes that point more clear that they had there shit together when they unleashed Master Of Puppets in 86!

I bought Masters on cassette and great on Metallica they included full lyrics and  credits in the sleeve which was good and hey speaking of the credits they thanked Neil,Geddy and Alex and we all know who they are right? If not do your homework friends!

Master Of Puppets man its impressive it found its audience in 1986 as everyone was glamming out sonically but here’s Metallica wearing street clothes holes in the jeans sporting Misfits t shirts slammimg back Heineken and playing music at full throttle!

For Whom The Bell Tolls with James Hetfield,Cliff Burton(RIP),Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett…..

BATTERY-some nice little classical guitar is played and boom here’s the crush of Lars on drums,Cliffy on bass, James and Kirk on guitar and let the surge and purge begin! Battery rips along at speeds i didn’t think we’re possible at the time. Holy hell listen to the vid posted especially during the chorus when James,Kirk and Lars are playing and leaving room for Cliff to Riff on his Rickenbacher! Ha! Cliff To Riff sounds good to me! Shit man these speeds are sick and than  heres Kirk dropping down solos at breakneck speed and the song not tilting  under the speedometer at 150 mph! Seriously? This is only track 1!

MASTER OF PUPPETS-Big and I mean a big power crashing sweep of Sonics opens Masters Of Puppet! The title track unleashes what I have always like about Metallica! The song builds up slow than rips into the verses and James leads the charge with his vocals and yeah we all can chant MASTER,MASTER during the chorus and it  just shoots through the roof  as Lars is gulping O2 to keep up and instant Gem I do say ! Kirk plays crazy ass licks but riffs that don’t annoy you or take aways the vibe of the tune! Master builds it  up,Master rips it down! This is a full out metal assault! The great thing about this song and for this album in general  is not dated to the time of 1986! Keep flinging back those Heinekens Boys I like what I hear!

THE THING THAT SHOULD NOT BE-love the groove of this tune it’s not metal at 150 mph more like doing 85 in a 55 zone! Lars and Cliff lock up tight in there playing with Lars slapping his snare drum silly and James following chaos underground! Kirk stays the course on guitar and that’s what i dug about Hetfield the dude could sing with all the amps cranked behind him.

WELCOME HOME SANITARIUM- great slow build up with some neat picking by Kirk and Lars plays busy drums but doesn’t get to crazy and this song goes and gets heavy in the chorus! These lyrics are deep,heavy thought provoking and shit these guys have the chops! Love Cliffs bass runs on this tune! The song ramps up and kicks into overdrive during the solo. Yee haw!

DISPOSABLE HEROES-drums a smashing guitars a crashing and this song gallops in a metal way! Heavy! Big time speed on the pre chorus amn this is metal and Kirk riffs having as Lars is pounding double bass and smashing his Tama drums into the ground! Lots of Kill,Die and Hell and ripping solos ….Geez when James sings “Back To the Front …you coward! ” Umm  Yep that’s me he’s refering to as back in 1986 I’m hiding behind my copy of Poisons Look What The Cat The Dragged In!  Drums are just dope sick good on this song….fuck this is metal

LEPER MESSIAH-Lars counts in and boom metal kinda like a mashup of ACDC groove mixed with Metallica except Lars is playing drums and than halfway thru the tune the song ramps up and ACDC is left behind but man the production on this album by Flemming Rasmussen is mint! Even now in 2015! Kudos producer guy! More Lie,Die,Lie,Die stuff for your listening pleasure.

ORION-Orion is a musical only track with a smash of a Gong! Cliff gives his Rickenbacker a real work out with some serious riffing on it and all the guys do there thing like think of it as a Rush musical on Roids!

DAMAGE INC-Gem man…just love this tune…like the eery creepy guitar effects at the beginning and how about an smash over the head with some real Metal played fast and furious with reckless abandon! But Tallica know the deal end the album with a sure fire mass of metal lodged into your noggin. This works! Speed …man,does not kill it just makes me want to break things! Like Tbone,where’s your Bad English cassette so I can destroy it?

IN CONCLUSION- you want  MEEEEEEEETAL! You got it with Puppets! There is no fooling around here folks! Hetfield and Crew put on the hard hats dig themselves a deep trench and get to work! They knew they had there own fan base so like how Rush did it on there own Metallica goes about it the same way! You with us …GREAT! Your not…MOVE ON……

Check back Wednesday for another installment of KMA Week….