13. Metallica, 'Master of Puppets'
Metallica's third album, released in March 1986, was the first classic four's creative breakthrough – the point at which they discovered how to write the lightning as well as ride it – and a terribly scarred triumph with the sudden death of bassist Cliff Burton that September, in a tour bus accident after a concert in Stockholm. The three-CD version of this installment in Metallica's reissue march will be sufficient, advanced mayhem for most headbangers. Garage demos of "Battery," the title track and "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" chart the evolution in drummer Lars Ulrich and singer-guitarist James Hetfield's episodic composing with the early-days spirit and cassette fidelity of 1982's No Life 'Til Leather. An hour-plus of live buffet from Burton's last tour honors his might and memory. Personally, I'm glad for the beast box – with 10 CDs, six sides of vinyl, DVDs and a cassette of Burton's last show – because one of the previously unissued gigs comes from the night I first saw and met Metallica, on April 21st, 1986, in New Jersey supporting Ozzy Osbourne. It sounds as hot and frantic as I remembered it.