So I was sat over a pot of coffee the other day, blearily straining to see through a mid-week hangover and weakly attempting to summon up at least one coherent thought in the blasted wasteland inside my skull when a song came on on the speakers that I’d left going the night before.
It’s a song that announces its intentions immediately. Like probably the greatest video game theme of all time, there is no hesitation here, no countdown; it is an instantaneous conflagration of glorious noise.
Now, they probably need to invent a new number for how many times I’ve listened to ‘Master of Puppets’, but what struck me that particular morning as I headbanged my way through the morass of a hangover was just how perfectly emblematic the tune is of its genre. Sure there are others—Slayer’s ‘Raining Blood’ and Megadeth’s ‘Holy Wars…The Punishment Due’—that could be called upon should aliens invade and demand to see one canonical entry for the genre known as ‘thrash metal’; but there is something about ‘Master of Puppets’ that puts it head and shoulders above its competition. Not in terms of quality, mind you, that isn’t the question being asked by the aliens—just in terms of pure genre representation. The ferocious, punk-derived, breakneck attack alchemically synthesised with intricate musicality; the raw aggression and power of the vocals, conjuring up dark and violent imagery; the shred-tastic lead guitar lines laced over the palm-muted, down-picked, chug-work; the thundering rhythm section—yeah, ‘Master of Puppets’ is thrash metal.
If those intergalactic music auditors ever do arrive and demand to see thrash, I will know what to show ‘em.
What say you, Pajibans—should you find yourself standing before the uncanny tribunal yourself, what would your genre and your champion be?