Master of Puppets. Diseño: Jennifer Ancízar / Magazine AM:PM.
Master of Puppets. Diseño: Jennifer Ancízar / Magazine AM:PM.

The Scrached Record: Mater of Puppets

7 minutes / Carlos M. Mérida

08.10.2020 / Worn-out record,  Reviews

This first paragraph is the last one I write, after rereading and realizing that very little is said about the album here. So, in favor of justifying the categorization of the text as a review, I will say that Master of Puppets (Elektra Records, 1986) is the most valuable piece of Metallica's discography. They were never there again, despite the successes that followed. The riff that runs in the 22nd second of the title track is perhaps, along with the tritone at the beginning of Black Sabbath (the song), the most important moment in metal history. In this band there are two bands. One is strong, aggressive, sullen, and drinks Jack Daniels without ice; the other is melodic, knows how to close her eyes when necessary, and doesn't mind going out to sunbathe in California. In this phonogram is where they best get along. With that said, let's talk about me.

I was a rocker. Of those who went to festivals with the herd carrying cucumbers of clear rum that looked like water, and they put Sepultura high up in the town park so that everyone knew who they were dealing with. I started out listening to Metallica, and listening to Metallica I handed over the license.

I was poor. I never had band jumpers, except for a faded Led Zeppelin one that I found in a recycled clothing store that was too big for me, but I never fixed it because if I did I would lose the initial letter "L" of the band's name, and there was no glamor at that. I did have a lot of black pullovers. There was a time when it was the only color that interested me. The poster didn't matter much as long as the piece was dark. I got a Levi’s, the star garment, to go out, which showed a golden Harley motorcycle, and another with red sleeves that showed a skull with dreadlocks and a marijuana leaf. The old woman still tells me sometimes that I don't know who, her friend, is selling some prettier black jumpers! like the ones I like.

Unlike almost all my friends, who had grown up in the dark in high school, when I entered the pre I had four cassettes: one of Buena Fe, one of Arjona, another of Alex Ubago and another of the hits of the moment ―Felina and those stuff. In every Cuban pre-university hostel of my time, the battles between rockers and reggaeton players were a classic. I was first in the red corner but the people who interested me the most competed for the other side, so I looked out to see.

A diferencia de casi todos mis amigos, que habían crecido hacia la oscuridad en la secundaria, cuando entré al pre tenía cuatro casetes: uno de Buena Fe, uno de Arjona, otro de Alex Ubago y otro de los hits del momento ―Felina y esas cosas. En todo albergue preuniversitario cubano de mi época, las batallas entre roqueros y reguetoneros fueron un clásico. Yo estaba primero en la esquina roja pero la gente que más me interesaba competía para el otro bando, así que me asomé a ver.

Pepo, the dead partner of my life and those of several of my partners in the pre, was the one who introduced me to Metallica, in one of the indelible scenes of my personal history; The first image that came to my mind when my friend Leyat, a beautiful archivist of my days, called me 10 years later to tell me, seriously, that Pepo was gone and that they were watching him at I don't know what time at the funeral home in San Antonio de los Baños, his town.

It happened more or less like this. El Pepo listened to S&M - the record with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra - on a Walkman, while he ate something sitting on his bunk, probably crackers with mayonnaise. I got closer. Playback paused. I snapped him a cracker and asked if he could lend me the Walkman later to listen to one of my cassettes. If he wanted, for his peace of mind, he did it right there in the corner of his bed, no problem. He told me no, that on that device it was only allowed to play rock or trova, that my music would contaminate his heads. I was serious. Not literally, of course; in the sense “I am not lending it to you because you are not from my tribe. Ordinary". I laughed and told him that, well, then let me hear whatever he had, it didn't matter, that my thing was to get my ears wet. Was surprised. He said nothing. He made another cracker, took off his headphones, and handed them to me.

I don't remember what song was playing, but it could have been Master of Puppets, as we are. When I finished listening to it, Pepo asked me if I had liked it. I told him no, that I didn't understand how he was swallowing that screaming. He got a little angry. He raised the volume of his voice by two decibels and made it clear to me that this was music, that when I had seen a reggaeton player playing with a symphony orchestra.

About a year later my parents, I don't know how, they managed to buy me a stereo. The old woman, in addition to putting forward the money she did not have, made sure to save 100 pesos and took me to a house where they were dedicated to burning records, printing, making photocopies, that kind of business. It was what it cost to copy onto a CD, the first one I had, the Metallica discography.

That compact no longer exists. What is going to exist, if I listened to it with the voracity of a hungry peasant. I know the complete one, the discography. I can hum several Kirk Hammett solos a cappella. Plus those on this plate, which was the one that hit me the hardest. At the time when you have favorite things, which last for a while in the first place until others appear to replace them, and so on until you no longer have favorite things, Orion, the seventh track, occupied the privileged place of the category " songs ”for a not inconsiderable period. It was the same time when, among my acquaintances, there were two kinds of Metallica fans: the eighties and the nineties; those of Kill'em All and Master of Puppets, and those of the black album and Reload. I was one of the first, the tough ones, trashero to death, although I also liked the other.

This was until they released Death Magnetic (Warner Bros. Records, 2008), while at the University. It was quite well received by the faithful on both sides, but it no longer tickled me the same way. I understood the lyrics better and they seemed extremely ridiculous to me, like the metal aesthetic in general. In my closet no longer hung so many black sweaters, I had left my afro, I wore wide striped fabric pants and metedeo flip-flops, and if a strawberry schoolgirl asked if I was a rocker, she would answer, insolent and conceited, that no, I was Carlos, nice to meet you. However, they should have seen me this morning - while I was preparing breakfast and listening to the album to see what it said - possessed as if I were in some provincial rock library.

Carlos M. Mérida

Oidor. Coleccionista sin espacio. Leguleyo. Temeroso de las abejas y de los vientos huracanados.

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