METALLICA – Just the band name alone explodes with pure Metal. Metallica is synonymous with Metal excellence, regardless of any Load or ReLoad moments in their bands storied history. Back on March 3, 1986, my Metal lovin’ life was transformed into a state of Metallidelirium… Master Of Puppets, the third studio album from Metallica, was released. I was already a proud and boisterous fan of Metallica in 1986, looking upon and listening to their debut Kill ‘Em All and sophomore Ride The Lightning albums as if they were Metal gospels.
Before I carry on any further… Master Of Puppets is my favorite Metallica album that this beyond legendary Metal band ever created.
Metallica was on quite a roll with their first three album releases, a generation of loyal Metallica fans was certainly bred from listening to them. I am one of those fans. The Black Album released in 1991 garnered a gazillion more fans, a whole new generation of them too. I can’t and never will dismiss The Black Album as a Metal goliath in the history of Heavy Metal. Often times, when “The Greatest Metal Albums Of All Time” lists are put together, I will see The Black Album in the top five. Truthfully, it doesn’t quite jive with me for Master Of Puppets is a more true measuring stick of the incredible career/catalog of albums that Metallica has created. Regardless, this is just my Metal opinion.
It just seems to appear this way, that Metallica fans that grew up in the “early” 80′s will lean towards Master Of Puppets, (or even Ride The Lightning), as their ultimate Metallica album. Metallica fans that I speak to, that are at least ten years my junior, will more often than not tell me The Black Album is Metallica’s finest. Am I “off base” here? I don’t think so, especially since I have the gift to gab about Metal with just about every person I bump into at fye, concerts, blogs and everywhere else I venture to in life. The topic of Master Of Puppets vs. The Black Album will “pop-up” more frequently than you can ever imagine.
The Black Album is undisputedly the biggest selling Metallica album of all-time. With that fact stated, The Black Album also spent four consecutive weeks as the #1 album on the Billboard 200 chart. I bought this album on or about it’s release date back in 1991, no mistaken. Enter Sandman was a melodically heavy, side-step of a song for Metallica and extremely addicting to my ears upon the very first listen. The same goes for Sad But True. Overall, the entire album was a sigh of relief for me, just knowing that Metallica did not have a song like One on it. Sorry, but any semblance of a ballad coming from Metallica, never mixed well for this lifetime Metalhead.
Back to Master Of Puppets. Battery. The opening track. Whoa. Whoa again. A scary fast Thrash Metal song. An angry sound with angry vocals. I fell in Metal love. Upon my very first listen to Battery, I felt as if the rest of the Heavy Metal world was now in the “catch-up mode”. Master Of Puppets was to the Thrash and Heavy Metal world back in 1986 what the iphone is to our world of communication today. Very, very, important. A cultural impact. Could not picture the world without this Master Of Puppets album… these were my Metal school of thoughts back in 1986. These same Metal school of thoughts I stand by still, in 2010.
The song Master Of Puppets, one word: excellence. My Metal memories of the Summer of 1986 is overridden with this song being blasted to it’s maximum potential at every single keg party, get-together, function or hang-out that my fellow Metalhead buddies and I engaged in back then. The entire Master Of Puppets album was played this way by me and my Metal peers, for arguments sake. The Master Of Puppets album felt like a victory back in 1986, a righteous fist being raised in the air, all in the name of Thrash Metal and all of it’s Metal genre cousins. A feeling that we Metalheads had finally, indeed, conquered all. In 1986, with the release of Master Of Puppets, we Metalheads along with the strength of Metallica behind us… really did conquer an era of Rock ‘N’ Roll.
Wearing the Master Of Puppets concert t-shirt constantly, was like wearing a badge of Metal honor. As I wore this t-shirt, from 1986 until it finally met it’s final demise from over wear… wherever I may have roamed… people looked at it with either horror and disgust or they wanted to talk about it, as if Metallica were the Metal equivalent to the Beatles. My seeing Metallica twice on their Master Of Puppets tour wasn’t just bragging rights back then… it was as if I had been to see The Holy Grail itself and I had been anointed as a Metal prophet.
Now, it is July 3, 2010. I look upon both the Master Of Puppets and The Black Album with undeniable respect and reverence. It’s no secret that Master Of Puppets is the heaviest and fastest album out of the two, being a full-throttle Thrash Metal album. Yet, that is not why Master Of Puppets is my favorite Metallica album, the real reasoning for me is that Master Of Puppets was and still is the real heart and soul sound and energy of what Metallica was really about in the 1980′s. The other non-secret is that The Black Album is Metallica’s biggest seller. I only hope this is not the sole reason as to why so many professionally paid Rock critics put this album in their “top 5″ lists. A biggest selling album does not necessarily equate it to being the best offering musically, from that respective bands catalog of albums.
Any fan can choose any Metallica album to be their favorite, it’s a personal choice and there is no right or wrong answer for fans. However, once major mainstream magazines begin to idolize The Black Album in “Top 5 All – Time” lists without even comparing it to Master Of Puppets, well, that just comes across as journalistic bias and purely following the status quo leader. The professionally paid mainstream Rock media ignoring Master Of Puppets and not including it on any “Top 5 All-Time” lists won’t make it go away.
It’s my thought that The Black Album became much more popular due to it’s semi-commercial accessibility. In reflection, could it have been the strength in popularity of Metallica as “THE” Metal band to beat and/or be measured against be the REAL reason for the strong record sales of The Black Album after all? The Metallica momentum was in full swing way before The Black Album was released and Master Of Puppets was a Metal historic building block and reason for this momentum in the first place.
What are your thoughts? Am I all alone in thinking Master Of Puppets is better than The Black Album?
* If you care to read about my seeing Metallica live, a long time ago, in a Metal world far, far, away, then click on the cool link below:
LONG LIVE METALLICA!