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Right from the cover art, Master of Puppets promised an even greater degree of political
awareness. Dog tags hang from military-style grave markers, each headstone attached to
strings leading to the shadowy hands of an unseen puppet master. The graves are nameless,
arranged in neat rows — anonymous soldiers paid token respect for their sacrifice though
nobody can be bothered to clear the overgrowth choking their graves. The setting sun
reinforces the scene’s sense of death and abandonment.
Metallica's Master of Puppets, Loudwire
Having read that, I lost appetite for writing my own short story about the work above, but
it's Halloween and I think I had to say something about remembering the dead. In other
words, let us think and ask, "who is the puppet now?"
Is it the living, or the dead?
No. 167, Rolling Stone, The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; No. 268, Billboard, The 300 Best-Selling Albums of All Time.
Cover concept by Peter Mensch & Metallica; illustration by Don Brautigam; photography by Ross Halfin, Rich Likong & Rob Ellsi.
Album produced by Metallica and Flemming Rasmussen.
Master of Puppets is one of the best metal albums of the '80s. It's a rare achievement: a crossover hit that compromises nothing.
Much like their previous album Ride the Lightning but with even stronger material, Master of Puppets blends metal's natural
aggression with subtle shifts in dynamics and expanded compositional textures to expand and refine its sonic reach. "Battery"
leads things off with the unforgiving pummel of their earliest thrash, but the eight-and-a-half minute title track delivers a
complex sermon on feelings of human powerlessness and overreaching authority backed by an arrangement that is cinematic
in scope, displaying the group's moodiest overtures alongside its most direct attack.
The playing is airtight throughout — the instrumental "Orion" a showcase for the group's syncopated intuition — with the songs
thematically united as well, offering up a world on the brink of chaos and insanity. "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)," "Disposable
Heroes" and "Leper Messiah" are textbook cases of adolescent rage and frustration towards an uncaring system. itunes review
commercial artist for 15 years prior to this project, designing both album and book covers along with illustrations for magazines and advertisements.
Prior to Master of Puppets, his most recognizable work may have been the cover for Stephen King’s 1980 novel The Stand, which won a “cover of the
year” award from a trade group named Marketing Bestsellers.
Brautigam used acrylic paints on illustration board, combining traditional brushes with airbrush, the latter giving Master of Puppets its dreamy, soft
focus feel. Some sources claim that the artist worked from a drawing provided by James Hetfield, but what no one disputes is the quality of the
finished artwork. In his book Fade to Black, Martin Popoff says that painting “is gorgeously possessive of both depth and striking color sense, given
the contrast between the pure white of the crosses and the multiple rich shades of brown both above and below.”
The Art of Metal calls the image “striking.” Metallica's Master of Puppets, Loudwire
(B) Disposable Heroes - Leper Messiah - Orion - Damage, Inc.