Master of Puppets is the third studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica. It was released on March 3, 1986 by Elektra Records. Recorded at the Sweet Silence Studios with producer Flemming Rasmussen, it was the first Metallica album released on a major record label. Master of Puppets was the band’s last album to feature bassist Cliff Burton, who died in a bus accident in Sweden during the album’s promotional tour. The album peaked at number 29 on the Billboard 200 and became the first thrash metal album to be certified platinum. It was certified 6× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2003 for shipping six million copies in the United States. The album was eventually certified 6× platinum by Music Canada and gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).
Released to critical acclaim, the album is considered to be one of the best in history, and one of the most influential to heavy metal. Its driving, virtuosic music and angry political lyrics drew praise from critics outside the metal community. With its atmospheric and meticulously performed songs, critics credit it for consolidating the American thrash metal scene. Many bands from all genres of heavy metal have covered the album’s songs, including tribute albums. Master of Puppets was deemed «culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant» enough for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the United States Library of Congress in 2015, the first metal recording to do so.