Master of Puppets is the third studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica , released on March 3, , by Elektra Records. The album's artwork, designed by Metallica and Peter Mensch and painted by Don Brautigam, depicts a cemetery field of white crosses tethered to strings, manipulated by a pair of hands in a blood-red sky. Instead of releasing a single or video in advance of the album's release, Metallica embarked on a five-month American tour in support of Ozzy Osbourne. The European leg was canceled after Burton's death in September , and the band returned home to audition a new bassist. Master of Puppets peaked at number 29 on the Billboard , and received widespread acclaim from critics, who praised its music and political lyrics. Today, it is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential heavy metal albums of all time, and is credited with consolidating the American thrash metal scene.
Master of Puppets
Everyone was kind of settled into their roles. Everyone was playing well. We knew what we were striving for, we knew what we could do, we knew each other's playing well, we knew our strengths. And it just kind of all culminated on this album. Hammett is hardly the only person who would cite Puppets as their favorite Metallica record — the LP is hands down one of the Top 5 metal albums of all time, if not numero uno. The band were brash kids then, full of spit and fire, and they struck creative gold intuitively and magically, though not without a lot of hard work, too.
They had already established a blueprint. It was easier said than done, but Metallica were up to the challenge. They had the momentum of a successful album and world tour behind them, and the confidence of a world class athlete an hour before a big game. Still, what Metallica accomplished in just six to eight weeks of writing was remarkable, especially considering the multifaceted nature of the songs they composed. The songs were pugnacious and explosive, but they were also meticulously crafted and expertly arranged. From there, both alternately delve into speedy thrash and more melody-based numbers. And both feature that soundtrack-style instrumental that instantly separates them from any and all competition.
It was released on July 2, , as the only single from the band's studio album of the same name. It was also issued as a promo single in the US by Elektra Records. It is the second and title track of the album, preceded by a shorter, high-speed typical thrash metal track, " Battery ", a similar sequencing heard on Metallica's second Ride the Lightning and fourth And Justice for All albums. The song, as lead singer James Hetfield explained, "deals pretty much with drugs.