Remembering My First Experience with Metallica’s Masterpiece 30 Years Later
Today is the 30th anniversary of the release of Metallica's monumental album, Master of Puppets. It came out on March 3, 1986, and I can remember having to wait for my parents to take me to the Sound Warehouse so I could get the cassette of the album. I was so excited to listen to it (they wouldn't let me play it on their car stereo), I opened the box and read everything on the liner card on the way home.
I remember sitting in the back of my parent's Cutlass Supreme, looking at the pictures, reading everything, and thinking these were some of the coolest people on the planet, with their hair that was longer than mine, their clothes that were cooler than mine, and their bad-assedness that has always been more bad-ass than mine.
Metallica was the first thrash band I got into, paving the way for Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, Exodus, Annihilator, Testament, Death Angel, Forbidden, Heathen, and more. This was one of the albums that solidified my love for thrash. A more perfect album is hard to conceive. The improved everything about their songwriting and performance coming off of the fantastic Ride the Lightning album.
From the opening acoustic intro to "Battery", all the way through the final head-crushing notes of "Damage Inc.", this album pummels you with awesome. The only brief moment of light is "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)", which is still a dark, brooding song.
The down-tuned sludgy evil that is "The Thing That Should Not Be" was so much darker and heavier than pretty much anything else out at the time, and was a great difference in sound from "Disposable Heroes", which is a fast-paced thrashy riff-fest.
For me, one of the stand-out tracks on the album has always been "Leper Messiah". It's not the fastest song on the album, or even the heaviest, but it's got a odd-time feel to it, and a crazy rhythm to it that I freaking love still to this day.
That was the first song I tried to learn to play on guitar, and failed, as I totally sucked. I had "Leper Messiah" on repeat for a long time. And being a cassette, that meant manually stopping the tape, rewinding it, and playing it again, and again, and again...
This is such a landmark album for me, and so many people, that you could put on any song from this album, and everyone at the party will love it. Every song on this album goes over well for Metallica when they play them live.
And they always will.
Congratulations to the mighty Metallica for 30 years of Master of Puppets, and still going strong as one of the biggest bands in the world.