Kirk Hammett Names ‘Master of Puppets’ His Favorite Metallica Album
A lot of musicians have heaped praise upon Metallica's Master of Puppets album over the years, but now the band's own Kirk Hammett is ready to give the album its flowers. Speaking in a Rock Candy feature on the record, Hammett proclaimed, "Master of Puppets is my favorite of all the albums we've ever done."
Like many great albums, the band wasn't fully aware of how well it would be regarded in the moment. "We weren't trying to make an album that 35 or so years on people would put on and think still sounded great," Hammett explained. "We didn't set out to do anything, really. We were just trying to make the best album we possibly could and that's what came out."
But in reflection, the guitarist acknowledges how great it truly is. "From a technical viewpoint, when I listen to the album I'm really surprised at how good it sounds so long after the fact," says Hammett. "The recording of the album, the recording of the songs, the production… it all holds up still."
The guitarist also feels that they were doing something different at the time that stood out from the rest. "A lot of the music from that time now sounds samey and similar," he adds. "But there's really nothing on Master of Puppets that dates it to any particular period — sound-wise, production-wise, recording-wise. Master of Puppets is my favorite of all the albums we've ever done."
At the time, Metallica hadn't really hit their commercial breakout yet, but at three albums in there was enough recognition for them to peak at No. 29 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart upon the record's release. The band has also garnered enough recognition that they were chosen to open for Ozzy Osbourne while supporting the record.
The album's title track was the primary featured song from the record, though songs such as "Battery," "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" and "Orion" have certainly become fan favorites over the years.
The album has the distinction of being chosen for the U.S. Library of Congress' National Recording Registry and it's been certified six times platinum in the U.S. It also, sadly, was the band's final album with bassist Cliff Burton, who died during a bus crash while touring in support of the album.
While Kirk Hammett does love the album, as is evidenced by his comments, the guitarist did recently reveal that he has grown "bored" of playing the solo from the title track. Admitting that certain older tracks are canon in the way that they are to be performed, the comment came up as he was explaining how he's grown to love live improvisation with some of the band's newer material.
You can look for Hammett playing Master of Puppets songs while on tour with Metallica. Get your tickets here.