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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews


Master of Puppets

Review by Greg Olma

The year was 1986.  Although thrash metal was already a few years old, Metallica really brought it into the mainstream with Master of Puppets.  I have been a fan since the beginning but this album really cemented my allegiance to the band.  Master of Puppets was where Metallica threw in a little bit of, dare I say, prog elements into the mix along with melody without sacrificing their thrash metal roots.  Many people will list their self-titled album as their best and while it certainly sold the most, this disc was much more in line with the genre they helped start.  Sadly, this was Cliff Burton’s last record with the band and many people have stated that the group would not have gone into a more commercial direction had he not passed.  I guess we’ll never know but one thing is for sure, Master of Puppets deserves its status as one of the definitive trash metal releases of all time.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 2 at

Track by Track Review
The record starts off with some acoustic guitar that has an old western feel to it.  Then just after a minute, the tune turns into a full-on thrash track.  For those people who yelled “sell-out” after Kill ‘Em All, just take a quick listen to “Battery.”  This was the opening song for the tour that followed the album’s release and it made the perfect start to their show.
Master of Puppets

Things don’t let up with the title cut although the band does throw in a slow middle section that shows off their prog side.  Although this track is a little slower than “Battery,” it still maintains their thrash metal credentials.

The Thing That Should Not Be

We now get a slow track that is heavy and plodding.  It is more heavy metal and less thrash which gives this record a nice variety of tempos.  This piece is pretty consistent throughout its six minutes without any twists or turns.

Welcome Home (Sanitarium)

The start of this song reminds me of “Fade to Black” from Ride the Lightning.  Although it starts off slow, it does build into a thrash metal tune with many tempo changes along with some prog-ish elements.

Disposable Heroes

Side two of the vinyl starts off with a full on thrash track.  This is the kind of tune that made Metallica stand out above the other bands in the genre.  They incorporated variety not only on the record but also within a song.  There are many different parts to this tune that will keep you interested for over eight minutes.

Leper Messiah
The band counts in this cut that starts off more regular metal and then builds into a thrash tune before returning to metal.

This instrumental shows off the band's talent as writers because at over eight minutes, they are still able to keep the listener entertained.  In my opinion, this is one of the blueprint tracks for prog-metal and I think Dream Theater would agree.

Damage, Inc.

As if they wanted to bookend the album, they finish things off with a tune very similar to “Battery.”  It starts off with some sound effects but after a minute, it kicks into a very fast thrash cut.  The sequencing of songs on this record brings the listener back to the beginning which only makes you want to restart the whole album again.



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