When Joseph Schafer writes about music I tend to pay attention. On the occasions when he ventures up from the depths of micro-niche metal to wax rhapsodic about an album I know front to back, well, that’s when I am compelled to compose something like this introduction.

His essay on Metallica’s (first) magnum opus Master of Puppets delivers one thousand one hundred and ninety two words of what I crave in music journalism: an unrepentant point of view, whip smart prose and plenty of cold fire. The last trait is where Schafer - IO’s current editor and as staunch a Metallica loyalist as you are likely to meet - really shines.

He gives voice to things I feel about the album but have not been able to verbalize: “The blues and swing, partially present on Kill Em All and greatly diminished on Ride the Lightning never arrive on Master.” Exactly!

Most powerfully, when Schaefer speaks of “...that point in our lives when our parents (if they are present) stop exerting such a powerful hold on our lives…” he reminds me how much that cassette copy of Master meant to this suburban misfit.

-Ari Rosenschein


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