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Book Review: Metallica: Back To The Front: A Visual History Of The ‘Master Of Puppets’ Era
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Metallica: Back to the Front book banner

Metallica: Back to the Front
A Fully Authorized Visual History of the Master of Puppets Album and Tour
Hardcover
By Matt Taylor
Foreword by James Hetfield
Afterword by Ray Burton
Publisher: Insight Editions with Moonrise Media
Released date: September 13, 2016

In 1986, Metallica went from local San Francisco Bay Area garage band to support act for part of the U.S. leg of Ozzy Osbourne’s Ultimate Sin tour, as well as headliner of their own European tour. The four very young men — singer/guitarist James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, and bassist Cliff Burton — had only been playing together for three short years, but in that time, they released their first three albums, all of which eventually went on to be regarded as some of the greatest in all hard rock and heavy metal. It was their third album, though, Master Of Puppets, which put them on the map and skyrocketed them to fame. But, with success and popularity also came a devastating blow when they lost Burton when he was killed in an accident after the band’s tour bus skidded off the road in Sweden. The respected bassist, who had been like a big brother to his younger bandmates, was only 24 years old.

Another band might have fallen apart and never gotten past such a heartbreak, especially if they were that young and just starting out. But the unyielding musicians in Metallica knew no other life but the road and no other destiny than with music, so with the blessing of Burton’s parents, they persevered. They continued to create. They went on pounding out aggression all across the land on every stage they hit, until they became not only the kings of thrash metal, but one of the top rock acts of all time… and they’re still on top today. Although a lot has been written and documented about the band over the last 30-plus years, including those early days, there’s never been any personal memoirs. And while the members of Metallica have always spoke highly of Burton throughout the years and have tearfully relayed the events that occurred on the early morning of September 27, 1986 when they saw their brother killed in front of them as they and their devoted crew stood injured and freezing on a Swedish highway, they’ve managed to keep some details about that time private. Now, the surviving members have joined with Insight Editions, in association with Moonrise Media, for Metallica: Back To The Front: A Fully Authorized Visual History Of The Master Of Puppets Album and Tour, written and compiled by Matt Taylor.

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