How Old Metallica Really Was When They Recorded 'Master Of Puppets'

It's been 35 years since the release of Metallica's metal magnum opusĀ Masters of Puppets, which has sold nearly 10 million copies worldwide. At the time, the emerging thrash-metal band had already released two LPs, Kill 'Em All (1983) and Ride the Lightning (1984), both of which defined the genre and set the bar until their next album. By the spring of 1985, the band had finished touring in support of Ride the Lightning and finally returned home to the San Francisco Bay area for a little fun and relaxation, per Rolling Stone. By the summer, Metallica would begin writing songs for Master of Puppets, starting with the album's opener, "Battery."

The next songs they'd write would be the classic, fast-paced, fan-favorite, showstopper "Disposable Heroes," followed by songs such as "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)," "Orion," and their most requested song, the title track, "Master of Puppets." Over the course of 8 weeks, Metallica would write nearly all of their album, minus two songs. By the time the band entered the recording studio, the members were only in their early '20s. Metallica's lead singer and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett were both 22 years old. Drummer Lars Ulrich was 21, and bassist Cliff Burton was 23, per Loudwire.

"There's a spark or spontaneity or impulsiveness that happens when you're in your twenties," Ulrich told Rolling Stone. "We wrote Master of Puppets in probably eight weeks over that summer. Nowadays, it takes me eight weeks just to drive down to the studio.

The success of Metallica's 'Master of Puppets'

He added, "It's like, 'What the f*** did we do in the summer of '85 where we could just give birth to that from the first note to the last note in eight weeks?'"

According to Ulrich (via Rolling Stone), their 2008 album, Death Magnetic, took something like a year and half, from writing to recording. "How the f*** do you write a record like Master of Puppets in eight weeks?"

Upon arriving in Copenhagen, Denmark, Metallica would begin recording the album at Sweet Silence Studios with Danish producer Flemming Rasmussen. They'd originally planned to have Rush singer Geddy Lee produce the album. Rasmussen, however, who'd produced Metallica's previous album, would once again bring his expertise to the studio to help shape up the recordings.

The band would record every song with at least six identical guitar parts, overlaid, and unique, to create a powerful sound, per Kerrang! "I've never seen anything like that since, and neither do I expect to," said the Rasmussen. As the album was finishing up in December, members would fly back home. Ulrich was the last member to leave, so he could oversee the rest of the recordings.

After being released in 1986, Master of Puppets entered the Billboard Hot 200 at number 29. Over the years, the album has become a legend among metal recordings and is still one of Metallica's most epic pieces.