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Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’ Celebrates 25th Anniversary

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Metallica‘s definitive ‘Master of Puppets’ album is celebrating its 25th birthday this year. Yes, it’s really been two-and-a-half decades since the album forcibly impacted, forever changed and wholly improved the heavy metal landscape with its power and speed.

master of puppets
Amazon

‘Master of Puppets’ arrived in March of 1986 and has since evolved into one of the most essential albums of its genre. If you don’t own it, you’re not metal. If you can’t recite the lyrics of more than half the songs, where’s your self-respect?

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the album’s release, Noisecreep caught up with a ‘battery’ of metal musicians from Sepultura to Arsis to Unearth to find out how, when, and where they first experienced this milestone metal record.

Andreas Kisser
Guitarist, Sepultura

Andreas Kisser
Mascot Records

I was with a female friend of mine who loved metal and had the access to get imported albums. She came to my house one day with ‘Master of Puppets’ under her arm. I heard it and was in complete shock. I remember the first song I liked was ‘Welcome Home (Sanitarium).’ This was in 1986 and it was a privilege for a Brazilian to hear that album in those days.

Ivar Bjørnson
Guitarist, Enslaved

Ivar Bjørnson
Gary Wolstenholme, Redferns / Getty Images

I was at our singer Grutle’s place for a party when he put it on – I guess I was drinking sodas since I was 12 or 13 years old at the time. It wasn’t the first Metallica album I heard – in my defense, I was 8 years old when ‘Master of Puppets’ originally came out.

Chris Barnes
Vocalist, Six Feet Under

Chris Barnes
Metal Blade Records

The first time I heard ‘Master of Puppets,’ I was a senior in high school, and singing and writing for my first original band, Leviathan, and living outside of Buffalo, NY.

The previous year I had the privilege to see Metallica play live on the ‘Ride the Lightning’ tour at the Salty Dog in Buffalo, in the middle of a massive blizzard, with 50 other crazed fans who risked their lives getting to that concert. I stood five feet in front of Cliff Burton for the entire show — I’ll never forget it.

Mille Petrozza
Vocalist/Guitarist, Kreator

Mille Petrozza
Getty Images

It was at home, at my parents’ house. It was a first day buy for me. I still like it to this day, but I think apart from ‘Kill ‘Em All’, ‘And Justice For All…’ is my favorite album by the Metallica guys.

Don Jamieson
Comedian and co-host of ‘That Metal Show‘ on VH1 Classic

Don Jamieson
Bobby Bank, WireImage

I remember it like it was yesterday. My friend was doing a metal radio show at the college we went to. I used to hang out with him during his shift, drink beer, and bang my head. Listening to that album made us want to go out and tip over cars — and I think we may have tried!

Mike Hill
Vocalist/Guitarist, Tombs

Mike Hill
J. Hubbard

It was the 1980′s and I was hanging with my friend Ken at his room, listening to records. It was a day of firsts for me: I heard ‘Master of Puppets,’ Agnostic Front‘s ‘Cause for Alarm,’ and Motörhead‘s ‘Ace of Spades,’ all for the first time that day.

Trevor Phipps
Vocalist, Unearth

Trevor Phipps
Christie Goodwin, Getty Images

I think was in the 3rd or 4th grade when that album came out and my friend had an older brother that would always bring home metal tapes and vinyl to listen to after school. It was one of the albums we would listen to while playing video games in the living room.

Hearing ‘Master of Puppets’ and Iron Maiden‘s ‘Number of the Beast’ for the first times are very vivid memories for me as I am pretty certain I remember where I was sitting the first time I heard each of those albums. It is safe to say that ‘Master of Puppets’ was one of the albums that changed my life.

Mike Van Dyne
Drummer, Arsis

I heard the album for the first time in 1992. It was the song ‘Welcome Home (Sanitarium)’ on Z-Rock, and it blew me away. I immediately bought it on cassette shortly after and was hooked. ‘Damage, Inc.’ remains my favorite track to this day. It’s totally aggressive and thrashy, but still memorable and melodic at the same time — hell yeah!

Marcus Siepen
Guitarist, Blind Guardian

Marcus Siepen
Redferns / Getty Images

I immediately bought it on the day it was released. There was a limited edition that came as a double album (vinyl) and I got that one. I bought it on a way to a rehearsal of my old band and we had a record player in our rehearsal room back then. The only problem was that we only had the record player, no proper hi-fi amplifier and also no proper hi-fi speakers, so I used my old Marshall to listen to the album. Later at home when I listened to it again, this time on a proper hi-fi system, it sounded even better, but it still blew me away right from the beginning!

Alex Skolnick
Guitarist, Testament

Alex Skolnick
Noel Vasquez, Getty Images

I remember buying the cassette at Rasputin’s (record store) in Berkeley, then listening to it in someone’s car. We’d all been waiting for it to come out, and weren’t sure what we thought of the title yet – ‘Puppets? Why puppets?’ But as soon as it came on, all doubts were quickly cast aside. It was a metal masterpiece.

Travis Ryan

I remember exactly where I was. A friend of mine had gotten a cassette of it right after it came out, and we went down to these horse stables to smoke some Virginia Slims Ultra-light 100s he had stolen from Save-on. I just remember that chunky palm muted E chord that instantly possessed me. From that point on, I went looking for the next heaviest thing, as that was the heaviest thing I had heard by that point.

That one simple technique set the tone for the rest of my musical days on Earth. From ‘Master of Puppets’ I worked my way backwards in their discography and waited patiently for ‘And Justice for All…’ to come out.

Will Carroll
Drums, Death Angel

Death Angel
Courtesy of Nuclear Blast

It was in my brother’s bedroom. I had just bought it at Musicland at Serramonte Shopping Mall in good ol’ Daly City, CA. He had a better stereo than I did. My initial reaction was slight disappointment because the guitar tone wasn’t as brutal as the one they had on ‘Ride the Lightning.’ I got over it pretty quickly though. But to this day I’m still a ‘Ride the Lightning’ man.

Blake Richardson

I’m pretty sure I was in my parents’ car on the way home from our local record store when I first listened to this thing. Anytime I would get a new CD I would furiously tear the casing from its packaging and toss it into my anti-shock Discman as soon as possible — I could never wait till I got home.

I also had this habit of skipping the first track whenever I would get a new CD. That was probably because I was amazed at the technology after using tapes for so long and having to fast forward through a whole song to get to the next track. But yeah, being that the title track was my first listen is probably what makes that song and album so memorable to me.

Tim Lambesis
Vocalist, As I Lay Dying

Tim Lambesis
Redferns / Getty Images

I heard the album for the first time in my bedroom on the worst-sounding stereo you could possibly imagine and it still sounded awesome!

Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka
Guitarist, Decapitated

Earache

I was at my cousin’s house. He’s older than I am and he showed me what heavy metal really is all about!

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