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Metallica Look Back on ‘Master of Puppets’ in New Video

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We’re a couple of weeks away from the Sept. 13 general release of Back to the Front, a book that promises to be a “fully authorized visual history” about Metallica’s 1986 album, Master of Puppets. The band has produced a video (embedded above) that finds its members looking back on what it means to them.

“I think Master of Puppets signifies for a lot of people – and it does for me as well – the pinnacle of the Cliff Burton era with Metallica, obviously,” James Hetfield said. “But also it was still rebellious. Back then it was just still the four of us in a van out to conquer the world.”

Back to the Front tells the story of their landmark second record. In addition to featuring interviews with the band, who reached into their own archives for rare photos from that time, Metallica asked fans to submit their own memories of that time, either stories, pictures or videos. And while the band would reach greater commercial heights in the years following Master of Puppets, for Lars Ulrich, it represents the end of an era.

Master of Puppets seemed, to me, to be kind of the culmination of the journey that had started, I guess, four or five years before with James and I getting together, writing some songs, Kirk [Hammett] and Cliff joining at separate times within, basically, I guess, six months, and that lineup settling,” he said.

Although bassist Robert Trujillo wouldn’t join the band for another 17 years, he was interviewed for the video, and he provides an outsider’s perspective. “Master of Puppets, to me, defines a really amazing time for Metallica,” he said, “a high point in a strong period in their writing. I think it’s when the band really kind of found this niche. … To me, it’s like a great painting. … It’s not just music, but there’s so much more to it. It’s art. Even the album cover is art. It’s just this wonderful ball of energy.”

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