25 years ago today, arguably the best metal record of all time was released. Metallica’s third album, Master of Puppets, debuted at 29 on the Billboard charts, quickly going gold with almost no radio play or a music video. Master’s eight tracks ran the gamut from the deceptively acoustic opening of “Battery” to the closing of “Damage Inc.” In between, there was an epic instrumental (“Orion”), the mostly midtempo “Welcome Home (Sanitarium),” and two epic eight-minute plus songs (the title track and “Disposable Heroes”). The album’s gone on to sell over 6 million copies, and while Metallica’s gone on to way more fame than anyone might have expected upon first hearing them, they have yet to make an album as classic as Master.
While they wouldn’t really become household names until five years later with the release of the Black album, any metalhead that wasn’t already on board via Kill ‘Em All or Ride the Lightning quickly became converts, winning over those that had initially dismissed them as a “thrash” band. Master cemented Metallica as one of the big four, and Ozzy Osbourne selected them to open for him on his tour for The Ultimate Sin. It was while the band was touring for that album that they got in a bus accident, losing original bassist Cliff Burton. The above clip shows the band playing the title track with Burton in 1986.