Today marks the thirtieth anniversary of possible my favourite album ever by my favourite band, Master of Puppets by Metallica. Fifty five minutes of pure thrash brilliance.
I didn’t get into the band until a year or so later whilst in high school, so I wasn’t in the record store on the day of its release, but three decades after it was unleashed upon the metal community the whole album still gets played on a regular basis in this house.
This was their first release on a major label – Elektra and their last with bass player Cliff Burton who tragically died after a tour bus overturned whilst the band were touring the album in Sweden on September 27th 1986.
Selling upwards of six million copies the record hardly troubled the charts on its release – it only reached number 41 in this country, but now certified as 6 times platinum in America and Canada and gold in the UK, it is regularly found in the high spots of critic and fan charts alike.
In the June of 2006 they played the album in full for its 20 year anniversary and I was lucky enough to see it performed twice in its entirety at that years Download festival and the following day at the RDS Arena in Dublin. The eight and a half minute instrumental Orion is quite a rare track in their live catalogue. Even though it’s been played around 60 times (compare that to nearly 1,500 for the albums title track) the two times I saw it played in 2006 are the only times that song has been played in Great Britain and Ireland (as far as I am aware) as it wasn’t included in the set during the Damage, Inc tour.
It would be another three years until the band embraced the world of the promo video, so this live version is taken from the album S&M when they played on stage with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra in 1999.