Master of Puppets

 
Harsh, loud, complex; probably best metal album of all time.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's a recurring theme of oppression -- by forces ranging from huckster evangelists to the military to insane asylums -- and violent, sometimes murderous rage against it, but a stubborn sense of integrity throughout. "Damage, Inc." says, "Living on your knees, conformity/ Or dying on your feet for honesty."

Positive role models

Some characters rise up in violent rebellion against their perceived oppressors ("Master of Puppets," "Damage, Inc."), while others seem to sink into despair or go helplessly along with the program.

Violence

"Disposable Heroes" talks about a soldier's life out of control and includes death, machine gun, and battle images. "Damage, Inc." has violent imagery, including "Blood will follow blood / Dying time is here / Damage Incorporated / We chew and spit you out / We laugh, you scream and shout / All flee, with fear you run / You'll know just where we came from."

Sex
Not applicable
Language

Multiple uses of "f--k" and "f--king" in "Damage, Inc. "Damn" in "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's a lot of rage in Master of Puppets, expressed against various enemies, with instruments played at breakneck speed, lyrics screamed in fury -- and a command of both composition and playing that keeps this album in the all-time top ranks of heavy metal albums. It's harsh, angry, sometimes profane ("f--k," "f--king," "damn") and sometimes violent (images of death and battle, murderous threats); it's also a musical masterpiece.

What's the story?

Metallica are widely considered to have reached the top of their form with 1986's Master of Puppets. Lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, rhythm guitarist/lyricist James Hetfield, bassist Cliff Burton, and drummer Lars Ulrich delivered an album whose musical excellence was matched by its sheer fury, intricate compositions delivered with thrashing rage, sometimes profane lyrics fraught with images of monsters, insanity, and oppression. Shortly after the album's release, tragedy struck: the band was in a tour-bus accident in Sweden that killed Burton.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Noting that heavy metal is not for everyone, there's probably no better, more honest place to make its acquaintance than here. Today, in their middle age, Metallica's superstar status is taken for granted (their 2008 album Death Magnetic was used in the video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock). But in 1986, with no radio airplay, no Internet, and no promotion, Master of Puppets went gold (half a million copies sold) and would ultimately go on to sell 3 million copies. With its long, intricate musical compositions, full-on thrash, and screaming, rage-filled lyrics, it's widely considered not only the band's best work but also the best heavy metal album of all time.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why heavy metal in general, and Metallica on this album in particular, seem so angry.

  • Do you think the lyrics of "Disposable Heroes" are still timely today?

  • Are you familiar with Metallica's more recent work? Do you like this album better?

  • Parents, if this was one of your favorites in the '80s, how do you explain what you loved about it to your kids?

Music details

Artist:Metallica
Release date:January 1, 1986
Type:Album
Label:Elektra
Genre:Rock
Topics:Misfits and underdogs, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Parental advisory:Yes
Edited version available:No

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byCalpin April 12, 2013
age 10+
 

Good thing

I will talk more about metal music in general. Metal music shall not be seen as the big demon to fight against. Metal music will never have a negative influence on a child. This music is full of violence, so we may think that it is something bad. It isn't. It gives power to the persons that understand it, it gives a sense of belonging and it gives the strength to carry on, to go over problems. Kids should avoid norvegian black metal musicians but apart of this, such a music can only be helpful. And master of puppets is pretty good.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written bycliffburtoncypresshi December 6, 2014
age 5+
 

good album

I have been listening to metallica since I was 8. Some of their songs have violence and swearing, but as long as your kids know its just music, I think its fine. posibly the best band ever
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byjalo48 June 10, 2013
age 12+
 

The Best Album by Metallica

Personally I love this album I have listened to this album a lot with my family we listen to their other albums with my brothers in the car hey enjoy the loud and fast pumping music but I am not sure they listen to the lyrics anyways for this album i would say 12 and up although any age would work as long as they know what the lyrics mean and not to say the swear or cuss words
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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