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Master of Puppets is the third album by American heavy metal band Metallica. The album was released on March 3, 1986 through Elektra Records and was met with high critical reception. "Puppets" is now considered a classic heavy metal album by fans, critics, and the band members themselves alike. It reached #29 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart and was the band's first Gold record for sales of 500,000 copies. This was done without any radio airplay or the release of a single or music video. The album is now 6× Platinum in the U.S.

Master of Puppets marks the last recording by bassist Cliff Burton, who was killed in a bus accident while on tour to promote the album.

Reception and legacy

According to Allmusic's Steve Huey, Master of Puppets "was the band's greatest achievement." "Some critics have called Master of Puppets the best metal album ever recorded", Huey noted. Master of Puppets has been featured on several "greatest albums of all time" lists. The album is present in a list dubbed "The All-TIME 100 Albums" published by TIME magazine in November 2006. In TIME critic Josh Tyrangiel's opinion, "Metallica didn't bother with hooks or pop discipline" in writing Master of Puppets. IGN rated the album as being at first position in a list of the "Top 25 Metal Albums" issued in January 2007. The album is featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and Q magazine counted it among the 50 heaviest albums of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 167 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The album has frequently been tagged by critics as "one of the most influential thrash metal albums of all time."

As an early parody of the PMRC's "explicit lyrics" warning labels, many prints of Metallica's 1986 release of Master of Puppets sported an octagonal sticker on the front saying:

"The only track you probably won't want to play is "Damage, Inc." due to the multiple use of the infamous "F" word. Otherwise, there aren't any "Shits", "Fucks", "Pisses", "Sucks", "Cunts", "Motherfuckers" or "Cocksuckers" anywhere on this record."

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of its release, Metallica played the album in its entirety on their Escape from the Studio '06 tour for the first time ever at the Rock am Ringmarker festival on June 3, 2006. These concerts included the first-ever complete performances of the instrumental "Orion" (previously only portions of the song's lengthy middle section had been performed onstage as part of instrumental medleys and bass solos).

The title track was ranked Number 51 in the "The Greatest Guitar Solos" from Guitar World. In 2006, the album was voted the fourth "greatest guitar album of all time" in Guitar World.And the April 5th edition of Kerrang! was dedicated to it, providing readers with the cover album "Master of Puppets: Remastered". In March 2007, the guitar magazine Total Guitar ranked the 100 greatest riffs of all time and the main riff of the album's title track was ranked number one.

"Damage, Inc." is the last of four songs to feature writing from all members of the Cliff Burton-Kirk Hammett era of Metallica.

Every song from this album except "Leper Messiah" and "Damage, Inc." is playable on the music video game Guitar Hero: Metallica. The song "Battery" is featured in the game Rock Band 2.



Additional Personnel

Track listing

Chart performance

Year Chart Position
1986 The Billboard 200 29
1986 UK Albums Chart 41
2004 Finnish Album Chart 7
2008 Australian ARIA Top 50 Albums Chart 33
2009 Mexico Album Chart 66


Country Certification Sales/shipments
United States 6x Platinum 6,812,000
Canada 5x Platinum 500,000
Australia Platinum 70,000
Finland Platinum 57,647



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