Celebrating the 35th anniversary of Master of Puppets – arguably the most pivotal metal record of all time – Metallica appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert last night for a blazing rendition of the album's opener, Battery.
Discarding its brooding clean intro, the band kicked things straight into gear with the track's furious main riff, delivered by James Hetfield, wielding his camo-finished signature ESP Vulture, and Kirk Hammett, who donned a Michael Schenker-esque contrasting black-and-white Gibson Flying V.
'Tallica's performance was the latest in a string of appearances with talk show host Stephen Colbert. Back in 2017, the band performed Hardwired... To Self-Destruct cut Now That We're Dead, and this year they appeared on A Late Show: Super Bowl Edition for a performance of Enter Sandman.
Master of Puppets was Metallica's first album with major label Elektra Records, and last to feature bassist Cliff Burton, who died later in 1986 in a tour bus crash.
While the album only reached No. 29 on the Billboard album chart following its release, it has since proved its staying power, with over six-million copies sold to date. Several of its tracks remain staples of the band's live set to this day, including Battery, title track Master of Puppets and Welcome Home (Sanitarium).
“I would like to say that there was something magical in the air in the summer we wrote Master Of Puppets, something that hasn’t been there before and has never existed since,” drummer Lars Ulrich said in 2006.
“But that would be a lie. I guess we just had the right attitude and the right openness to ideas. The whole band was getting more confident.”
“I remember writing the chorus to Master Of Puppets in our living room, and thinking it was too commercial, too obvious,” Hetfield remembered in Back To The Front, Matt Taylor’s authorized account of the making of the album.
“‘If it‘s too easy, something’s wrong.’ That was kind of the Metallica mantra. Lars said, ‘No, no, it’s really good, it’s catchy.’ I thought, ‘Well, maybe I'm the melody, catchy guy, and that’s okay’.”