Metallica are reflecting on their legendary 1986 album, “Master Of Puppets”, as it marks its 30th anniversary on March 3.
Produced by Flemming Rasmussen – who oversaw 1984’s “Ride The Lightning” – the group’s third studio effort proved to be a turning point in Metallica’s career, becoming thrash metal's first platinum album while expanding and solidifying the band’s sonic palette.
The set includes Metallica concert staples “Battery”, “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”, and the epic 8-minute title track, which remains the band’s most-requested song to this day.
"It's very gutsy music," drummer Lars Ulrich tells Rolling Stone. "It was a crazy time. We were really young, really fresh-faced. Everything was about music. We were living and breathing music 24/7 with no ulterior motives.
"There's a spark or spontaneity or impulsiveness that happens when you're in your twenties," he continues. "We wrote 'Master Of Puppets' in probably eight weeks over that summer. Nowadays, it takes me eight weeks just to drive down to the studio. It's like, 'What did we do in the summer of '85 where we could just give birth to that from the first note to the last note in eight weeks?'
“(2008’s) ’Death Magnetic’ took us probably 18 months from when we started writing to when we started recording. On this current record, it probably took us about nine months. How do you write a record like ‘Master Of Puppets’ in eight weeks?"
Metallica’s major label debut was recorded at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The project was the band’s final one with bassist Cliff Burton, who died tragically in a tour bus accident in Sweden in September of 1986.
"I think about him a lot," says Ulrich. "It was a very unique thing that we had going for us on those three records in terms of the sound of that lineup, and God bless Jason Newsted and God bless Robert Trujillo for their individuality and what they've brought to Metallica since his death, but Cliff really was a character all his own. That hasn't changed one iota since then. It only becomes more and more apparent."
“Master Of Puppets” peaked at No. 29 on the Billboard 200 on its way to selling more than 6 million copies in the States alone.
Metallica have been in the studio working on the follow-up to 2008’s “Death Magnetic”, and shared a brief clip of some new music over the Christmas holidays.
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