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METALLICA’S ‘MASTER OF PUPPETS’ RELEASED 25 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH

It was 25 years ago this month that Metallica released its epic third studio album, Master Of Puppets. The disc was released on March 3rd, 1986 and was produced by Flemming Rasmussen, who also produced 1984’s Ride The Lightning and 1988’s …And Justice For All for the band. In an interview with Phoenix New Times, Rasmussen was asked if he knew the album was special while he was working on it. He replied, “Oh yes. Right from the demos, we pretty much knew this was gonna be a killer album. I think we all felt that this was gonna be the best Metallica album yet, as we had a bunch of really strong songs. Even the instrumentals were awesome.”

Master Of Puppets was the last album to feature bassist Cliff Burton, who died in a tour bus crash in September 1986 and was replaced by Jason Newsted. Rasmussen said about Burton, “He was surely one of a kind, and even though Jason is a great bass player, it was impossible to fill out Cliff’s shoes.”

Many fans consider Master Of Puppets Metallica’s greatest album, which the band itself acknowledged when it played the record in its entirety on a summer 2006 tour of Europe. We asked frontman James Hetfield if the band would ever like to play another album in its entirety in concert: “It’s pretty important that the fan be involved in that, you know. It was more of a fan’s asking for that than us wanting to do it. You know, that was a pretty important album in our career, so pretty historic for a lot of people and that made sense. But as far as, you know — I’d love to play any and every one of them, but you know, it does really come down to the fans really holding that dear to their heart or not.”

Master Of Puppets was Metallica’s first gold album, for sales of more than half a million copies. Many songs from the disc, including “Welcome Home (Sanitarium),” “Battery,” “Leper Messiah” and the title track are still part of the band’s live set to this day.