In many fans’ minds, Master of Puppets was the last great Metallica album. Being a Metallica old-schooler, I tend to agree, although I’ll go one album further. In my humble opinion, the follow-up to Master, And Justice for All was their crowning achievement, a combination of blistering speed and technical virtuosity that went right out the window with that crappy “black” album and never returned.
But I digress.
The important thing to note here is that Master of Puppets was and remains one of the heaviest and most influential metal albums of all time. Opening with that deceptively mellow pseudo-classical intro and slamming headlong into the chunky-fast face-ripper “Battery,” the record runs through the epic title cut, the diabolical riffage of “The Thing that Should Not Be”, the mosh-pit-ready “Disposable Heroes” and the then-impossibly fast “Damage Inc.” It’s an exercise in fantastic metal songwriting and performance.
Many of us love to share our love of metal with our kids. Some parents think that’s a bad idea, but those boneheads were probably still listening to Flock of Seagulls when Master of Puppets came out. Me? I was in the pit, skanking and moshing and, for the first time, growing my hair. So it’s dang nifty that Smiti Toys created this awesomely awesome replica of Metallica’s Master of Puppets Tour stage set.
For a little thing made of plastic, the Smiti Master of Puppets Playset is surprisingly authentic. Lars’ drum kit is huge, the white crosses and cemetery backdrop are represented, and best of all – especially for geezers like me – Cliff Burton is right there, cradling his black Rickenbacker bass. James Hetfield, clutching his white Explorer, looks a little fat, and Kirk Hammett looks even geekier than he does in real life. But that’s alright, ‘cause for a bit of nostalgia, and something really cool you can share with your metal-loving kid, this set kicks it hard.
Smiti offers other rock set-ups, too. Limp Bizkit, KISS and No Doubt have their own play sets, but for my money (and I’ve spent a lot of it on these types of things over the years), the Metallica set is way cooler. Seriously … Limp Bizkit?
I remember the day that Metallica announced that Cliff Burton had died. I was certain it was over for the band. It was a somber moment, me at college, away from home, skateboarding around the University of Florida campus on my hand-painted Master of Puppets Powell-Peralta board. It was the fall of 1986, and I had listened to nothing but Metallica, Black Flag and Celtic Frost all summer long. I went back to my apartment and immediately painted the words “long live” over the Metallica logo. Save for the follow-up album, which featured a poem by Cliff, it would have been OK if they had stopped right there, with that magical mother-effing album: Master of Puppets.
You can purchase the Master of Puppets play set on Amazon.