Thursday, November 20, 2008

58. Metallica - Master of Puppets

Yes, I am one of those people. Before the Black album...Lars is a pussy...... Bob Rock..If Cliff were still alive....Load was garbage....blah blah blah. I think I covered it all.

Even though I lost my taste for almost all Metallica - what seemed genius back then seems mostly boring to me now - there are still a few songs that will get my head banging and my hands drumming and bring me back to a time when James still knew how to growl without sounding like he lost his balls in a freak accident involving Jason Newsted and a butt plug shaped like Dave Mustaine. Battery is one of those. A song that can make my head move faster than the speed of light and have my son roll his eyes and tell me to leave the head banging to the kids and I say something like I WAS LISTENING TO METALLICA BEFORE YOU WERE EVEN BORN, YOU UNGRATEFUL LITTLE..... This shit makes me feel OLD.

Master of Puppets was the second to last album Metallica would release before they made the transition to the the spit-and-polish sound on the Black Album (Metallica) and, years later, the intensity-lacking Load and Re-Load.

One only has to put on Master and listen to Battery or Leper Messiah and then listen to Hero of the Day from Load to realize that Metallica did not age well. Hetfield just can't make those guttural groans like he used to. Metallic fans, most in their 30's by now, have moved on. And the new kids just don't want to bang their head to an old man singing about anger and angst. Being a heavy metal star is like wearing a tight miniskirt; you can only do it until a certain age until people start keeping their distance from you.

Metallica wanted to change direction (after twenty years) and play a kinder, gentler heavy metal. The kind that gets played on all the radio stations, the kind that gets you an invite to TRL. Like, say...Nickelback.

Let's just all sit back and listen to Master of Puppets or Kill 'em All and reminisce about the days when Metallica had a raw edge and James could make those scowling faces without looking like his pacemakers just blew a fuse.

Favorite song: Battery
Encyclopedia Metallica


craig said...

Some days, I'm on the fence between "Ride the Lightning" and "Master of Puppets," and on others it's between "Ride" and "Kill 'Em All."

That was some raw stuff, back then.

Loved the backwards drum riff at the end of Master.

(Is this where I give you a gentle nudge about "Among the Living"?)

michele said...

Yes, this is where you nudge me and I promise to do Among the Living tonight!

Cullen said...

Follow me or die! Yes!

As for this, it's my favorite Metallica and I've written about this a lot. 1986 was a watershed year seeing this album, Reign in Blood and Peace Sells ... come out. Fucking fantastic year for metal.

Carin said...

I don't care what you say, I still like the new Metallica.

Back when Master of Puppets came out, I was listening to The Smiths. I didn't even start listening to anything approaching "metal" until after the age of 35, so it's a bit hard to retrograde and pretend that I yearn for days long gone.

It would be a bit inauthentic for me.

I was thinking about this the other day - how my tastes have changed. Beatles to a short "pop" period (I had a "Go-Gos" album when I was 12) to REM and U2 and Smiths. Then came my female singer years. I was lillith before the lillith fair years. Then, I think I missed a decade of music while I was busy with babies, and when I came back ... all of the sudden I'm into much harder music.


jaycaruso said...

When this first came out, Metallica was still an opening act. I saw them open for Ozzy (when he was doing shitty stuff like 'The Ultimate Sin'). After watching them, I almost wanted to get up and leave thinking what I just heard couldn't be topped that night (and it wasn't). It was just raw power and great stuff.

Fast forward and suddenly the same band is playing with an orchestra. WTF? said...

I would totally agree except that, at the time, I kinda liked The Black Album. From what I've heard of Death Magnetic, it's a return to the old form. I'm still not in love with the single (seems weird to even say that about Metallica) "The Day That Never Comes," but the first track from the album totally kicked my ass. Makes it easy to ignore the last twenty years or so, which is what most of us have done anyway.

Carin said...

Unforgiven III is pretty darn good, even though it starts a bit soft. My kids really like the single. All Nightmare long was my first fav, I think.

Timmer said...

It's like deja vu all over again. Didn't you just do something about Metallica over at ABV?

Anyway, Tim's standard Metallica comment: "Really? They're not a spoof band like Spinal Tap? They're serious? Get the f*** out of here."

steelopus said...

1 blog post.
0 mentions of ...And Justice For All.

Say what you will, but One is an incredible song.

Anyway, as for MoP: Battery is punishing and awesome.

Random fact: my band recorded our first album in Rochester through the same console that Kill 'Em All was recorded through. Metallica broke it in for us 17 years earlier.