Metallica is an American heavy metal band based in San Rafael, California. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles when vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield responded to an advertisement posted by drummer Lars Ulrich in a local newspaper. Metallica’s current line-up comprises founding members Hetfield and Ulrich, longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassists Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted are former members of the band.
The band’s fast tempos, instrumentals, and aggressive musicianship placed them as one of the founding “big four” bands of thrash metal, alongside Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer. Metallica earned a growing fan base in the underground music community and won critical acclaim with its first four albums; their third album Master of Puppets (1986) was described as one of the most influential and heaviest of thrash metal albums. The band expanded its musical direction and achieved substantial commercial success with its eponymous fifth album Metallica (1991), which resulted in an album that appealed to a more mainstream audience. The album was also their first to debut at number one on the Billboard 200, a success that they also achieved on their following five studio albums. In 2000, Metallica joined with other artists who filed a lawsuit against Napster for sharing the band’s copyright-protected material without consent from the band. A settlement was reached and Napster became a pay-to-use service. The release of St. Anger (2003) alienated fans with the exclusion of guitar solos and the “steel-sounding” snare drum, and a film titled Some Kind of Monster documented the recording of St. Anger and the tensions within the band during that time. The band returned to its original musical style with the release of Death Magnetic (2008), and in 2009, Metallica was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After touring for most of the next eight years, the band followed up with Hardwired… to Self-Destruct (2016), which demonstrated examples from some of the different musical styles that the band has dabbled in throughout its career.
Metallica has released ten studio albums, four live albums, five extended plays, 26 music videos, and 37 singles. The band has won eight Grammy Awards and six of its albums have consecutively debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. The band’s eponymous 1991 album has sold over 16 million copies in the United States, making it the best-selling album of the SoundScan era. Metallica ranks as one of the most commercially successful bands of all time, having sold over 110 million records worldwide.Metallica has been listed as one of the greatest artists of all time by many magazines, including Rolling Stone, which ranked them 61st on its list of The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. As of December 2012, Metallica is the third-best-selling music artist since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991, selling a total of 54.26 million albums in the U.S. Metallica collaborated over a long period with producer Bob Rock, who produced four of the band’s studio albums between 1990 and 2003 and served as a temporary bassist during the production of St. Anger. In 2012, Metallica formed the independent record label Blackened Recordings and took full ownership of its albums and videos. The band is currently promoting Hardwired… to Self-Destruct, which was released on November 18, 2016.
Master of Puppets is the third studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica, released on March 3, 1986 by Elektra Records. Recorded at the Sweet Silence Studios with producer Flemming Rasmussen, it was the first Metallica album released on a major record label. Master of Puppets was the band’s last album to feature bassist Cliff Burton, who died in a bus accident in Sweden during the album’s promotional tour. The album peaked at number 29 on the Billboard 200 and became the first thrash metal album to be certified platinum. It was certified 6× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2003 for shipping six million copies in the United States. The album was eventually certified 6× platinum by Music Canada and gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).
Master of Puppets was released to critical acclaim and has been included in several publications’ best album lists. Its driving, virtuosity music, and angry political lyrics drew praise from critics outside the metal community. The album is considered the band’s strongest effort of the period and is one of the most influential heavy metal albums. Critics credit it for consolidating the American thrash metal scene with its atmospheric and meticulously performed songs. Many bands from all genres of heavy metal have covered the album’s songs, including tribute albums. Master of Puppets was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” enough for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the United States Library of Congress in 2016. Only 450 recordings have earned this distinction, with Master of Puppets being the first metal selection.
Battery—-You notice right from the first notes, the great production value of this release. The usual muted Thrash sound has been replaced by a full bodied sound that threatens to blow your head off. The breaks and the tempo changes are just incredible. Lars never played the drums better than on this release. Although the vocal falls into the beginning Thrash sound a bit, the full sound of the band over rides the entire thing. The music…dark in content and sound fills you with a jubilant feeling that never grows old. To hear this again…..sparks my enthusiasm and love for this band.
Master Of Puppets—-Full bodied and filled with an energy that makes you almost lose your mind, the bass delivery on the song is as incredible as the drums. Hetfield enters the fray with a vocal that will live on for ever…the urgency to the tone of his voice is so contagious….it makes me think this is more relevant today than it was the day it was released. This is such a fine tuned machine…the production quality…the practice….the ability to transport the studio energy to your head phones…..just remarkable. A true landmark recording.The way the track takes you through so many moods and then re-smacks you in the face……incredible.
Welcome Home [Sanitarium]—-By far, one of my very favorite tracks ever in the history of this iconic band. The moods….and the melody of the song transport me to a place where you actually feel the pain and the desperation…the sadness and the feelings of hopelessness and at the same time irritation at your own inabilities. Hetfield delivers an incredible vocal….and the band never comes close to over riding the emotional qualities of the song. This is an incredible recording.
The Things That Should Not Be—-Deep and brooding at the onset, the track opens up into a heavy dose of Metal at its finest. The peaks and the valleys of the songs construction are incredible. Hetfield sounds so good when he delivers one dark line after the other. The band…showing incredible restraint to allow for the full feel of the song to play out has never sounded better. I wonder how the band would sound now if the Burton tragedy had never occurred. This is a complete and pleasant wall of sound that sounds like it was recorded yesterday.
Disposable Heroes—-Right out of the gate, with the very first note, you are pummeled by the aggressive delivery of the song. This was a huge step up for the Thrash community…and the entire Metal world sat up and paid attention. The wall of sound…coming at you from every direction through the headphones is just incredible. James sound almost possessed as he delivers his vocal…this is dark…..but so intense in bright talent….I can’t believe I have not listened to this in such a long time. That chorus….one for the history books……..never forget.
Leper Messiah—-Although this has never been a favorite track of mine, it can not ever be overlooked in the whole entirety of the release…it fit perfectly in the line of songs that were recorded and released during these sessions. The music is huge and powerful…I just don’t find genuity in the delivery of the vocals or the music…still a triumph.
Orion—-This track…stands up very well with the rest of the material on the release. The brutality of the music is fantastic…but still manages to salvage a melody line that almost seems to seep into your cerebellum and take up residence for a very long time…it all seems to be a long story that I never tire of hearing.
Damage Inc.—-Rounding out this landmark recording with another very favorite track of mine, there is a melody line here that always seems present as well. The buildup to the intro of the song is almost maddening…making me bite my lip with anticipation of what is to come. The ensuing Metal is genuine and fantastic….sharp huge burst of energy and incredible drums like you have never heard…this is aggressive but melodic…powerful but brutal. A true masterpiece.
***** out of 5