GARY HOLT And CHARLIE BENANTE Praise METALLICA's 'Flawless' 'Master Of Puppets' Album: 'From Start To Finish, You Can't Touch It'
February 14, 2023
In a new interview with Knotfest, EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt and ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante discussed some of their favorite and most influential albums of all time, including EXODUS's debut LP, "Bonded By Blood", which Benante had previously said was the "best thrash record that's ever come out".
Holt said: "People ask me, 'What's the greatest thrash album of all time?' I straight up say [METALLICA's third album] 'Master Of Puppets'. I think it's the greatest metal album of all time… And it's neck-and-neck between 'Master Of Puppets' and JUDAS PRIEST's 'Stained Class' for me. The clean section in [the] 'Master Of Puppets' [title track], c'mon — that's like some Beethoven-level shit James [Hetfield] wrote."
Benante concurred, saying: "I think that record is probably their signature album of all time. I know the Black Album was a big, big record for them, and it pretty much made them household names, but I think for me too, 'Master Of Puppets', from start to finish, you can't touch it. It's flawless."
Charlie previously named "Master of Puppets" as his favorite METALLICA song in a 2011 interview with NY Hard Rock Music Examiner. At the time, he said: "If I'm somewhere near the stage and I hear that song starting, I have to go watch because there's something about it. And it has another significant meaning, about [late METALLICA bassist] Cliff Burton to me. Both bands were on tour in 1986 overseas and they were on the 'Puppets' record, and one day we had a day off in England, and it was me, Scott [Ian, ANTHRAX guitarist], Kirk [Hammett, METALLICA guitarist], and Cliff, and we went to breakfast. And we sat down and were just talking about stuff, and I said, 'In the song 'Master Of Puppets', right before the lead break comes in, James screams something out, and I can never understand what he says. What is it?' And Cliff looked at Kirk, like, 'I don't even know.' And we were ordering breakfast at the time, and there was a bit of silence at the time, and Cliff said, 'I think he says 'pancakes.'' And we all started laughing, and it was funny, and then every show after that on that tour, when I would be on the side of the stage watching and that part would come up, Cliff would always look at me and mouth the word 'pancakes.' So let's go forward 20-something odd years, and here we are at the dinner before the first 'Big Four' show in Poland, we had this dinner set up, METALLICA had all the bands there. And I was talking to James about some things and that story came up, and I told him, and he thanked me so much for telling him that story, because so much from that time is a blur to him, so when he hears stories, it helps him remember the good times back then. So first show, in Poland, they did 'Puppets'. But I wasn't on stage. And the next day Robert [Trujillo, METALLICA bassist] goes to me, 'Where were you? James screamed out 'pancakes!'' So he does it now."
Original EXODUS guitarist Kirk Hammett, who has been a member of METALLICA for the past 40 years, wasn't involved in the songwriting for any of the material that ended up on "Bonded By Blood".
The original lineup of EXODUS consisted of guitarists Hammett and Tim Agnello, drummer Tom Hunting and vocalist Keith Stewart. Holt joined the band in 1981, while Kirk left two years before "Bonded By Blood" saw the light of day.
Although EXODUS rarely gets mentioned alongside the so-called "Big Four" of 1980s thrash metal — METALLICA, MEGADETH, SLAYER and ANTHRAX — "Bonded By Blood" inspired the likes of TESTAMENT, DEATH ANGEL, VIO-LENCE and many others to launch their careers and is considered one of the most influential thrash metal albums of all time.
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