Master of Puppets

Music review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
Master of Puppets Music Poster Image
Popular with kids
Harsh, loud, complex; probably best metal album of all time.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 18 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

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 & Representations

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.


"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."


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

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byney_thee April 1, 2019
Adult Written byAnthonyM 6 January 5, 2018


Considered the "Godfather" of metal music, it is a really good album. Though not as good as "Ride the Lightning," it is still a powerful pi... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old November 20, 2016

Second favorite album from Metallica!

I have been listening to these guys since I was 9. Ride The Lightning has always been the highlight of my nine year old life. James Hetfield is 100% a great rol... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bySmartScout January 15, 2016

One of Metallica's Best Albums

Master of Puppets is a masterpiece of catchy riffs, killer solos, aggressive vocals, and overall one of the greatest thrash metal albums of all time. Damage Inc... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

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