Master of Puppets

Master of Puppets
Master of Puppets
Studio album by Metallica
Released March 3, 1986 (1986-03-03)
Recorded September 1–December 27, 1985 (1985-12-27) at Sweet Silence Studios, Copenhagen, Denmark
Genre Thrash metal
Length 54:39
Label Elektra, Music for Nations, Vertigo
Producer Metallica, Flemming Rasmussen
Metallica chronology
Ride the Lightning
Master of Puppets
...And Justice for All
Singles from Master of Puppets
  1. "Master of Puppets"
    Released: July 2, 1986 (1986-07-02)
  2. "Battery"
    Released: August 1, 1986 (1986-08-01)
  3. "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)"
    Released: October 23, 1986 (1986-10-23)

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, making it the band's major label debut release. The album peaked at number 29[1] on the Billboard 200 chart and was the group's first record to be certified gold for sales of over 500,000 copies. This was done without any radio airplay or the release of a music video. The album eventually was certified 6x platinum by the RIAA.[2]

Master of Puppets marks the last Metallica album with bassist Cliff Burton, who died in a bus accident while touring to promote the album. The album was met with universal acclaim at the time of its release. It is considered a classic thrash metal album by fans, critics, and the band members themselves and is considered to be one of the most influential heavy metal albums of all time.


Reception and legacy

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[3]
BBC Music very favourable link
The Daily Vault (A) link
Guitar Planet Magazine 5/5 stars link
Robert Christgau (B-) link
Kerrang! 5/5 stars[4]
Metal Storm 10/10 stars link
MSN Music 5/5 stars link 5/5 stars link
Q 5/5 stars[citation needed]

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.[3]

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.[5] In TIME critic Josh Tyrangiel's opinion, "Metallica didn't bother with hooks or pop discipline" in writing Master of Puppets.[5] IGN ranked it #1 in a list of the "Top 25 Metal Albums" issued in January 2007.[6] 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. Music critic Piero Scaruffi ranks Master of Puppets as the second best metal album of all time, just after Type O Negative's Slow, Deep and Hard and before Kyuss' Blues for the Red Sun.[7] The album has frequently been tagged by critics as "one of the most influential thrash metal albums of all time".[3]

As an early parody of the PMRC's "explicit lyrics" warning labels, many prints of Metallica's 1986 release of Master of Puppets featured an octagonal sticker on the front saying:

"The only track you probably won't want to play is 'Damage, Inc.' due to the multiple use of the infamous 'F' word. Otherwise, there aren't any 'Shits', 'Fucks', 'Pisses', 'Cunts', 'Motherfuckers', or 'Cocksuckers' anywhere on this record." (Six of George Carlin's Seven Dirty Words)[8]

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of its release, Metallica played the album in its entirety on its 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).

The title track was ranked number 51 on The Greatest Guitar Solos from Guitar World. In 2006, the album was voted the fourth "greatest guitar album of all time" in Guitar World. The April 5th edition of Kerrang! was dedicated to it, providing readers with the cover album Master of Puppets: Remastered. In March 2007, the guitar magazine Total Guitar ranked the 100 greatest riffs of all time and the main riff of the album's title track was ranked number one.

"Damage, Inc." is the last of four songs to feature writing from all members of Metallica while Cliff Burton was still a living member of the band.

All of the songs from the album, with the exceptions of "Leper Messiah" and "Damage, Inc." are playable on the music video game Guitar Hero: Metallica. The song "Battery" is also featured as a playable track on Rock Band 2.

ESPN has used the title track, "Master of Puppets", to promote the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

The album's title track is also featured in the 2003 comedy film Old School, starring Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell.

Track listing

All lyrics written by James Hetfield

No. Title Music Length
1. "Battery"   James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich 5:09
2. "Master of Puppets"   Hetfield, Ulrich, Cliff Burton, Kirk Hammett 8:35
3. "The Thing That Should Not Be"   Hetfield, Ulrich, Hammett 6:34
4. "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)"   Hetfield, Ulrich, Hammett 6:26
5. "Disposable Heroes"   Hetfield, Ulrich, Hammett 8:16
6. "Leper Messiah"   Hetfield, Ulrich 5:41
7. "Orion" (Instrumental) Hetfield, Ulrich, Burton 8:25
8. "Damage, Inc."   Hetfield, Ulrich, Burton, Hammett 5:31
Total length:



Chart positions

Year Chart Position
1986 Billboard 200 29
1986 UK Albums Chart 41
2004 Finnish Album Chart[9] 7
2008 Australian ARIA Top 50 Albums Chart 33
2009 Mexico Album Chart 66


Since the beginning of the SoundScan era in 1991, Master of Puppets has sold 4,578,000 copies.[10]

Country Certification
United States (RIAA) 6x Platinum
Canada (CRIA) 5x Platinum[11]
Australia (ARIA) Platinum
Finland (IFPI) Platinum[12]


  1. ^ Pareles, Jon (10 July 1988). "HEAVY METAL, WEIGHTY WORDS". The New York Times (USA: The New York Times Company): p. 8. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  2. ^ "Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  3. ^ a b c Huey, Steve. "Master of Puppets". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  4. ^ Wall, Mick (6 Mar 1986). "Master Blaster". Kerrang!. 115. London, UK: Morgan Grampian. pp. 23. 
  5. ^ a b Josh Tyrangiel (2006-10-13). "The All-TIME 100 Albums: Master of Puppets". TIME.,27693,Master_of_Puppets,00.html. 
  6. ^ Spence D.; Ed. T (2007-01-19). "Top 25 Metal Albums". IGN. 
  7. ^ Scaruffi, Piero. "Best heavy-metal albums of all time". Retrieved March 7, 2011. 
  8. ^ 7 words. Retrieved on 2010-11-13.
  9. ^ Finnish Album Chart - Search. Retrieved on 2009-07-08.
  10. ^ "METALLICA's 'Black' LP Is Top-Selling Album Of SOUNDSCAN Era". BlabberMouth. 
  11. ^ CRIA Gold & Platinum certifications for October 2006. Retrieved July 25, 2007.
  12. ^ IFPI Finland Searchable database - Gold and Platinum. Retrieved July 7, 2009.

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