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Master Of Puppets Remastered Deluxe 1
Triple Vinyl, Remastered, 10CD, Box Set
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Master of Puppets (Remastered Deluxe Box Set)
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Master of Puppets was originally released on March 3rd, 1986, on Elektra Records and went on to become the first Metallica album to be certified Platinum by the RIAA. The album has been certified 6x Platinum in the United States and has sold over 10 million copies worldwide. In 2016, the album became the first metal album to be added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress, an honor granted to works deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.The Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set will include a 108-page hardcover book including never before seen photos, outtakes and previously unreleased interviews, three LPs, ten CDs, a cassette, two DVDs, a lithograph, a folder with handwritten lyrics, and a set of six buttons.
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The box itself is actually deeper compared to box with KEA and RTL – presumably to accommodate the increased number of CDs and the cassette this time around – so it will take up more width on your shelf. But all of the other information on the spine and the front and back covers is formatted consistent with the series. It always drives me crazy when half way through the reissue of the back catalog the band or label decides to change the format/appearance, etc. So far, so good through the first 3 – same sturdy box, same cut outs in the base to accommodate the contents and same appearance. There is one noteworthy improvement – thin, inner sleeves for the CDs (with matching artwork throughout). This keeps the discs from sliding out of the outer jackets all the time which was one of the negatives from the first two sets. Also, each outer jacket has its own unique photo this time around which is another nice upgrade from the earlier sets. I still don’t know why the DVDs come in plastic sleeves in addition to the inner paper sleeves but those can easily be discarded. The pins are small (but cool), the 12x12 “Damage, Inc.” poster a nice throw-back, but I love best the folder with the lyrics sheets all marked and such – nice touch.
As with the previous releases in this series, the book remains one of the selling points and most endearing portions of these sets. This one seems even more massive than the previous books with tons of pictures (did these guys ever get tired of drinking?) and great stories from friends, media and industry. There is too much here to describe, but one of the highlights for me would have to be Ross Halfin’s (photographer) descriptions of how difficult it was to photo-op this band, especially Burton. There are some great pictures in here though, my favorite the one with the crying girl in Japan – not sure how that didn’t make National Geographic. But I think many fans will really appreciate the input pieces from Ozzy, Scott Ian (Anthrax) and King Diamond – Metallica was well-respected by their progenitors and contemporaries in metal alike.
Original remastered pressing sounds good, but maybe not as strikingly improved compared to the Kill Em All repressing. The sound quality is not quite as impressive as the 2LP 45 RPM version from last decade, but works well in this set. There is no picture disc this time, but the 2 LP Aragon Ballroom set is fashioned in the same manner as the previous boxsets – one outer jacket which nicely protects the 2 LPs in anti-static sleeves.
It is amazing how good the recording quality is here and with vinyl format really makes it even more special.
The disc is housed in the double digi format with original lyric layout insert (just like the first two albums in this remaster series). The songs sound very dry and clean … really clean … almost too clean. But it’s a proper treatment for sure and sounds great even at high volumes.
CD2 Interviews (Disc 1) (79:01)
Here we have the ’86 Metal Forces “update” interview with Lars. Once again conducted by Bernard Doe, the lengthy discussion is much more enjoyable as the recording is clear and free of background conversation/noise. Lars is more focused this time around, settling quite a bit into the “we are who we are” stance. He emphasizes that they are all more positive and focusing on the good things and taking the negatives in stride. It’s really amazing to hear the evolution of Lars’ approach and attitude and maturity in just one year. Interesting the response to the questions about why the band had no videos up to this point.
The Cliff interviews are somewhat awkward in that his flat affect and minimalistic (almost uninterested) responses make things tough on the interviewer. Still, it is really cool to hear his voice here because so many interviews were with Lars up to this point. As reserved as Cliff was with his answers, he was very decisive in naming “Master of Puppets” as his favorite song and had much praise for the album in general, but interestingly was less excited when asked about “Battery” and “Damage, Inc.” The R.E.M. Misfits and Samhain influences are duly noted here. Overall, even though he is dry and less expressive in general, its obvious listening to his very sober reasoning that he was the most mature (emotionally) of the four back then. It’s not hard to understand why the impact of his loss was so great on so many levels and these interviews with him (as well as the group interview on disc 2 from September 12th, 1986) are special in that these are some of his last recorded thoughts.
CD3 Interviews (Disc 2) (74:51)
If you grew up in southeast PA you won’t have trouble remembering WYSP (those were the good days of radio). The 15 minutes of clips from a QA session with Ed Green and callers is funny at times – especially the fan that saw Lars jogging earlier that day. The bulk of this CD is the 50 minute interview with Sounds magazine and here we get mostly Kirk’s comments with a little bit of input (once again) from Cliff. I love their response to the “What is moshing?” question – like we don’t really know what that is lol. John Marshall fields a few questions as well, and the Lars comes in toward the latter third of the interview to attempt an awkward answer to the “does Metallica have anything in common with classical music” question. Lars does hit the nail on the head as he explains the paradox that was Metallica in ‘85/’86 – no videos, no radio play, no big show looks … but still the huge success from a fan/listener standpoint. And then more discussion about videos … sigh. Energy, honesty, ugliness. This is definitely one of the most comprehensive interviews of the band up to this point in time. The most important one here, though, may be the Swedish National Radio “Rockbox” interview that aired on the day of Cliff’s death. And then fast forward to the February ’87 interview by the same that featured both Lars and Jason – helped to put things into perspective regarding the band choice to bring in Newsted. There never was a faster and smoother transition (after the death of a vital member) in the history of metal, and it was all done as Burton would have wanted and with respect to his legacy.
CD4 Rough Mixes (61:13)
These tracks are really totally without vocals with the exception of a few sections of “Disposable Heroes.” And there are no guitar solos, just drums, bass, and lead and rhythm guitars. It is very cool to hear these songs stripped down in this fashion. For those musicians out there this is a great way to really break down these parts for learning because you can really hear the individual grooves.
CD5 Riffs, Demos, Outtakes (79:07)
CD6 Riffs, Demos, Outtakes (79:45)
These 2 CDs are housed in a double gatefold. The first 14 tracks on CD5 are relatively short and they feature James’s and Kirk’s early guitar riffs from all 8 songs. It’s great to hear the varied guitar tones, some of which rival the final versions. The rest of CD5 and the entirety of CD6 contain “works in progress” and various stages of “demo” versions. The former are quite transparent … some revealing the band really crashing and burning (“Welcome Home” and “Master of Puppets,” but other really show a band clicking in unison. With no over dubs here, everything is exposed. The Demo versions of “Disposable Heroes” are remarkable for the “Damage, Inc.” riff that was later removed and used in that song as well as the faster pace of these versions in general – something they would later echo in the live setting. The greatest thing about listening to these two CDs back to back is that it allows you to really appreciate the progression from basic riffs, through practicing as a band, to the final demo cut – excellent how they pull it all together – but still no vocals on the title track by late-June 1985. It should be noted that we really didn’t have this kind of depth of demo/vault material available on the first two boxsets so I find CD5 and CD6 essential portions of the history of this album and unique elements to this Puppets deluxe set.
CD7 – Meadowlands, East Rutherford, NJ (April 21st, 1986) (51:31)
In general, the live albums in this set (LP, CDs, DVD and cassette) progress from the early 1986 spring touring with Ozzy, to the Mid-West summer tours and up into the fall of 1986, and then conclude with the January 1987 show in Germany. This early show was a great performance but the recording has some “cut-outs.” The band was gaining some momentum with their new release, but hadn’t yet peaked. The set list here featured the basic format they used when opening for Ozzy (50 to 55 minutes, including encores).
CD 8 – Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA (August 3rd, 1986) (53:52)
The big story here is John Marshall (Metal Church) subbing in for James due to James having suffered a broken wrist whilst skateboarding. This show gets out of control and there are equipment issues. More noteworthy, James had plenty to say (probably because he couldn’t play) and probably much to drink. At one point Lars leads the crowd in singing James “Happy Birthday.” The whole thing is a mess … probably one of the worst performances in this set but it represents honest and “in your face” Metallica where they were at in August, 1986 during what could easily be considered the most tumultuous and highly eventful (both positive and negative) year in their career.
CD9 – Jason’s Audition & The Country Club, Reseda, CA (Nov 8th, 1986) (79:24)
The first 5 tracks include Jason’s audition … kind of scary how fast Newsted picked up on the Metallica vibe, almost like he’d been secretly playing along with them for years. The live show that follows is insane. For a debut performance Newsted hit a home run. The band is so insanely fast, tight and intense. I’ve never heard these songs played this fast prior to this, even “For Whom The Bell Tolls.” It is almost as if these guys had demons they needed to exorcise in this first show without Burton. It is cool that they included 3 songs from KEA and then topped it off with “Am I Evil?” Even “Four Horsemen” was faster than ever. One of the biggest disappointments was that “Disposable Heroes” stopped showing up in the set list, even when they weren’t opening for Ozzy. And it is also surprising that “Orion” wasn’t part of these shows either, but both those songs were heavily represented on the Ride The Lightning tour.
CD10 - Grugahalle, Essen, West Germany (Jan 25th, 1987) (65:00)
This is my favorite of all of the live CD performances in this set. With the exception of the first half of “Master of Puppets” not recording (what is it with these guys and forgetting to hit the “record” button?), this show is killer. Newsted’s bass solo appears here for the first time along with “The Thing That Should Not Be.” This song also shows up on Burton’s last show from Sweden (cassette version this set), so it is interesting to compare the two.
The Cassette – Sonahallen, Stockholm, Sweden (Sep 26th, 1986)
What else can be said about this brilliant swan song performance by one of the most brilliant heavy metal bass players ever? The band did a great job in selecting this for “retro” cassette release with this set. I might have been tempted to put this one on the vinyl and the Aragon Ballroom on cassette but it doesn’t really matter – the lengthy show stands out amongst the live recordings here as one – if not THE – best and most important performances of the band’s career to date.
DVD1 “55 Minutes” – The first of the two shows recorded here is from early April ’86 at the Joe Louis arena. The side view doesn’t afford much of a view and the filming didn’t start until halfway through the opening song (what again?). The show is stopped halfway through after “Welcome Home” as the crowd is “crushing” up against the stage. James confronts the crowd (without getting angry) and eventually with the help of security they are able to resume playing, ironically, with a much subdued version of “Seek & Destroy.” The Roskilde show from July is much better with the frontal video perspective more engaging (although still very bootleg quality) and a slightly better sound quality. The MTV Heavy Metal Mania shows are fascinating with the “Metallica hot lines” – what, bands actually talked to their fans back then? Imagine that – and on those hi-tech corded phones no less! Part 3 of the series features the most words we’ve heard from James up to this point.
DVD2 – Japan. The first time Metallica performed in Japan, not long after Newsted joined. It is a fantastic performance with the expanded set list to include “Fade to Black,” “Whiplash,” “Fight Fire With Fire” and “The Thing That Should Not Be,” in addition to all of the other staples they had been playing since April. This is the first time we are really seeing a light show and increased movement from James and Jason around the stage. As awkward as it might have been for the band they were transitioning from a small venue/opening band to this huge monster headliner going forward. I am not sure why they elected to keep doing the “bass solo” thing after Burton’s death, but Newsted didn’t flinch a bit at the opportunity and really made it work with his own signature style. This DVD also includes the Maso Ito interview in Japanese (with English subtitles). Where is Godzilla? So cliché … you just can’t make this stuff up. The MTV interviews (1986) feature an introduction to Jason (of sorts), that is when Lars stops talking long enough to let him speak.
Overall, this beautifully assembled, massive set is packed with hours of entertaining (and informative) history for the fan. Not only does this set pay excellent tribute to the monumental Master of Puppets album, but it brilliantly documents Metallica 1986 – the most pivotal and eventful year of their career. It takes weeks to work through all of this but it’s well worth the time (and money) invested.
The sound of the remastered MoP is good, A few more listens will need to happen to compare it to previous releases and the Promo version from Music for Nations.
The book is a nice touch. It is different then the Back to the Front book that was released a while ago.
I would recommend this purchase to fans of this album.
Last year when the book "Back to the Front" was released I bought that.
Now this massive release of previously unheard demos and concert material is like experiencing the energy of 86 all over again.
Well worth the hefty price tag.
...really enjoyed this purchase...but now what all of us want...MORE...when's And Justice for all Coming with bass tracks added in?!!!
On March 3rd, 1986, Metallica released their 6x Platinum album Master of Puppets. The album had many of Metallica’s most popular songs, such as Damage Inc, the HP Lovecraft inspired The Thing That Should Not Be, and the song the album was named after, Master of Puppets. The tour for this album marked Metallica’s peak in popularity. However, it wasn’t all fun and games. On September 27th that same year, their bassist Cliff Burton died when their tour-bus crashed. To this day, this album is still a fan-favorite.
Now, 31 years later, a limited edition box-set of the album has been released. This set contains vinyls, CDs, DVDs, a book, and more. When you first open the set, the first thing you see is the album itself, remastered and put onto vinyl. Next is another vinyl, Live in the Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL. Under the records is a poster made for the previously mentioned Damage Inc., and under this is a book full of pictures from the studio during the recording of the album, the subsequent tour, tickets, lyrics, and much more. The book also contains some facts about the recording of the album and the tour. After this is a small lyric book, with scans of the original sheets James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich wrote them on.
Beneath all of this is a collection of CDs and other material. The CDs include rough mixes of the songs from the album, outtakes, demos, interviews from the tour, and three lives shows. One of them even includes Jason Newsted’s (the bassist hired by the band after Burton’s death) audition and first concert with Metallica. There are also DVDs of three concerts and two interviews. There’s even a cassette. The cassette is a fan-recording of Metallica live in Stockholm 1986. Finally, the set also comes with a set of six buttons (all of which were immediately pinned to my jacket.)
Since the concerts are all from the same tour, they obviously have very similar setlists. All concerts contain songs from the album and older ones. Many of the setlists include Battery, Welcome Home (Sanitarium), Damage Inc, and of course Master of Puppets. Many contain For Whom the Bell Tolls and Ride the Lightning, both from their previous album Ride the Lightning (1984). Most of them even have songs from their first album Kill Em All (1983), such as Whiplash, Seek & Destroy, and (Anesthesia)-Pulling Teeth. Two of the concerts even open with The Ecstacy of Gold, a song from the film The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Some time between 11/20 and 11/28, the boxset has been taken off of Metallica’s official website. However the set is still available on amazon. If you like Metallica, or even just this album, I’d highly recommend buying the set. It’s worth the money.
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