Metallica wrote most of the songs while still in the US before heading over to Ulrich’s native Denmark at the Sweet Silence Studios. While only 8 tracks long it’s still worth its weight as it comes in at just under 55 minutes long. ‘Battery’ is first out the gate and remains an amazing opener, starting with bass heavy acoustic guitar before a solid wall of distorted electric guitar joins in, then the speed metal that Metallica of this time were known for begins. Following straight after is the title track and the only single ‘Master of Puppets’, which is still one of their greatest hits ever with only ‘One’ ranking higher in my personal opinion; another amazing thrash metal piece with brilliant lyrics about cocaine addiction, which was a taboo topic at the time. While I could go on all day about this album I’ll wrap it up with what I consider one of their best underrated ballads ‘Welcome Home (Sanitarium)’ which conveys the thoughts of an unjustly caged patient in a mental institute and was based on the classic novel ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’.
Even though I was too young at the time, this still was Metallica’s perfect moment for me, they had released what I believe is their greatest recording, filled with some of their most awesome tracks, but more importantly it was their best and most powerful line up ever. While I respect Dave Mustaine as an amazing guitarist and the driving force behind Megadeath, Kirk Hammett just does everything right here. Lars and James always bring their a-games whenever they record. But it’s also the bass work of Cliff Burton on Master of Puppets, it was perfect and fitted in. Something I’ve noticed has never been done again 100% on any following release. So happy 30th, you’ve stood the test of time with flying colours so far, may you stand the next 30 just as easy.
Written by Dan Harlond