If one heavy metal album can be said to define a genre, then Metallica's 1986 release Master of Puppets, their third, deserves to stand as the definitive heavy metal album of the 1980s, encapsulating all its strengths in one firm wallop. It's a rare achievement: a crossover hit that compromises nothing. Much like their previous album Ride the Lightning but with even stronger material, Master of Puppets blends metal's natural aggression with subtle shifts in dynamics and expanded compositional textures to expand and refine its sonic reach. "Battery" leads things off withthe unforgiving pummel of their earliest thrash, but the eight-and-a-half minute title track delivers a complex sermon on feelings of human powerlessness and overreaching authority backed by an arrangement that is cinematic in scope, displaying the group's moodiest overtures alongside its most direct attack. The playing is airtight throughout the instrumental"Orion" a showcase for the group's syncopated intuition with the songs thematically united as well, offering up a world on the brink of chaos and insanity. "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)," "Disposable Heroes" and "Leper Messiah" are textbook cases of adolescent rage and frustration towards an uncaring system.