Master of Puppets is the third studio album by the American heavy metal band Metallica. It was released on March 3, 1986 through Elektra Records. The album reached #29 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart and was the band's first gold record for sales of over 500,000 copies. This was done without any radio airplay or the release of a music video. The album eventually sold over six million copies in the United States and was certified 6x platinum by the RIAA.
Master of Puppets marks the last Metallica album with bassist Cliff Burton, who died in a bus accident. Master of Puppets met with critical acclaim at the time of its release. The album is considered a classic thrash metal album by fans, critics, and the band members themselves alike and is considered to be one of the most influential heavy metal albums of all time.
Reception and legacy
Allmusic's Steve Huey commented that Master of Puppets "was the band's greatest achievement." "Some critics have called Master of Puppets the best metal album ever recorded", Huey noted.
Master of Puppets has been featured on several "greatest albums of all time" lists. The album is present in the list "The All-TIME 100 Albums" published by TIME magazine in November 2006. In TIME critic Josh Tyrangiel's opinion, "Metallica didn't bother with hooks or pop discipline" in writing Master of Puppets. IGN ranked it #1 in a list of the "Top 25 Metal Albums" issued in January 2007. The album is featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and Q magazine counted it among the 50 heaviest albums of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 167 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The album has frequently been tagged by critics as "one of the most influential thrash metal albums of all time."
As an early parody of the PMRC's "explicit lyrics" warning labels, many prints of Metallica's 1986 release of Master of Puppets sported an octagonal sticker on the front saying:
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of its release, Metallica played the album in its entirety on their Escape from the Studio '06 tour for the first time ever at the Rock am Ring festival on June 3, 2006. These concerts included the first-ever complete performances of the instrumental "Orion" (previously only portions of the song's lengthy middle section had been performed onstage as part of instrumental medleys and bass solos).
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