Earlier this year, Metallica's landmark album Master of Puppets turned 30. The record was a turning point for the group, finding the band members navigating more complex arrangements while balancing musical light and shade, and it marked the end of their first era when bassist Cliff Burton died in a bus crash while touring for the album in Europe.
"When I listen to Master of Puppets now, I just sit there and go, 'What the fuck? How do you do that?'" Ulrich told Rolling Stone in an in-depth article about the anniversary. "It's very gutsy music."
Now the group's surviving members – James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett and Ulrich – are looking back on the period surrounding the album in a new book, Back to the Front: A Fully Authorized Visual History of the Master of Puppets Album and Tour, which comes out tomorrow and is available for preorder via Amazon. It was written by Matt Taylor (Jaws: Memories From Martha's Vineyard) and its 276 pages contain revealing recollections from the band's friends, family and fans.
It also contains pages upon pages of pictures of the group spanning the period between 1985 and 1986, like the one above which depicts the group in a Birmingham, England, rehearsal studio a few days before playing the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington. The photos that follow – all taken from the book – show both the group's fun and serious sides as they created a thrash masterpiece.