It only took 36 years, but Metallica have finally released a music video for the title track to their 1986 Master of Puppets album. Of course the song has gotten a major bump lately thanks to its inclusion in the thrilling season 4 finale of the Netflix mega-hit series Stranger Things, so the timing is perfect.
And, in keeping with the pioneering speed metal song’s relentless assault, the long-awaited animated lyric video for the punishing track is full of darkness-sucking imagery. The visual for the eight-and-a-half minute tour de force opens with the band’s logo outlined in night-vision green, followed by a fly-over of a massive maze made up of giant crucifixes and the ominous hands of an unseen puppet master pulling strings.
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The song’s intense lyrics — including the pummeling chorus, “Come crawling faster/ Obey your master/ Your life burns faster/ Obey your master, master, master of puppets…” — fill the screen in bold all-caps over images of a marching parade of singer James Hetfield’s signature Gibson Explorer guitars. The clip from UK design agency ILoveDust comes as “Master” has unexpectedly blown up thanks to a now-iconic scene in the action-packed two-part Stranger Things season finale in which character Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) rips the song on guitar in order to save his pals from the dreaded monster Vecna.
The signature song from the band — who are among the headliners at this weekend’s Lollapalooza festival in Chicago — flew onto the UK top 40 for the first time this week, jumping 47-23 in its first appearance in the top 40 more than three decades after its initial release. The song also soared onto the Billboard charts dated July 16 thanks to Things, making its first appearance on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 at No. 40, marking the rockers’ first time on the chart since “The Day That Never Comes” wrapped its run in November 2008, after reaching No. 31 that September.
In the July 1-7 tracking week, “Master” earned 9.6 million official U.S. streams and sold 7,000 downloads, according to Luminate. Those sums reflect vaults of 603% and 3,722%, respectively, over the previous frame. “Master” also becomes Metallica’s first No. 1 on the Hot Hard Rock Songs chart (which began in 2020), exceeding the No. 4 peak of the group’s “All Within My Hands,” with the San Francisco Symphony, in September 2020. “Master” also arrives at Nos. 4 and 6 on Hot Rock Songs and Hot Rock & Alternative Songs, respectively, also new peaks for the band on both surveys.
Check out the “Master of Puppets” lyric video below.