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Metallica - Master Of Puppets CD (album) cover




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4.12 | 742 ratings

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3 stars "GO!"

"Master of Puppets" was quite a substantial improvement across the board on "Ride the Lightning," and for me realized the promise of "Kill 'Em All." It was also the last Metallica album I really cared about. While many people loved "Justice" I always felt something was missing without Burton. Master sounded better from a production standpoint, the songs were more intricate, the soloing more substantive, and the ass-kick quotient was even higher. Even the artwork was better.

Few albums pack a more explosive one-two punch opening than Master. "Battery" begins with a beautiful acoustic guitar sequence before pummeling the listener with the most ferocious thrash you've ever heard. The succinct and punchy ending is designed to segue right into the opening of the title track, which is one of Metallica's finest songs. The riffs and changes are so tasty on Master, really interesting and dynamic. They still pack the punch of the old songs but the depth and feeling are expanded. There have been acoustic parts before but the difference on Master is noticeable. Here when it breaks into the acoustic interlude with the soft, expressive electric solo afterward, it sounds natural and less contrived than some of the last album's change-ups. Master (song and album) nails the songwriting much better than most of Ride.

The album in no way sustains the magic of the first two tracks however, and is not really close to my definition of a masterpiece despite the high rating. It's more consistent than Ride with about twice the number of great songs but there are still a few duds: "Welcome Home" really stumbles from the high of the first three songs, and despite everyone's raving about long instrumental "Orion" it doesn't amount to much to me. "Disposable Heroes" does a bit better musically but suffers from nave, juvenile, and frankly deceitful lyrics. The album fights back however to close with the super thrill ride that is "Damage, Inc." Those double-slammed chords at the end just kick (expletive bleeped) arse. Everyone has improved on Master but Hammett in particular impresses, his solos are much more productive in my opinion. He's thinking first, wailing second. To sum up Metallica, get the first one and this one, that's all you need. Justice has moments, everything after that is not worth your time (though I've not heard Death Magnetic). 3 stars.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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