Metallica, 'Master of Puppets' (1986)
The Black Album was my real first introduction to Metallica. I was, like, 12 or 13 at the time. We were just getting into music, and I liked that album a lot, but it didn't necessarily change my life. But when I started picking up all the other Metallica records, Master of Puppets was the one to me that stuck out with its songwriting. I had never heard the thrash element used in that way. I was listening to, like, Divine Intervention by Slayer and some Slayer records at the time, and those records were really good to me, but they didn't quite take it all the way. Master of Puppets had the songwriting with the thrash element that I had never heard before.
If I was to play any song for anybody asking, "What is metal about?" I'd just play "Master of Puppets." The progressions and the bridge are brilliant. How many times have people tried to rip off that bridge where the whole thing breaks down and you go into different keys and try to come back out, but no one can do it as good as that song does it. It's metal/thrash songwriting 101 all over that thing, and it's got enough diversity to where it keeps your interest, which is ... It's unbelievable. Unbelievable record. From front to back, it's just brilliant.