Amid rising calls for racial justice in the wake of the George Floyd death at the hands of police, terms like “master” have fallen out of favor due to their associations with slavery and feudalism. Consequently, industry leaders like GitHub and the Houston Association of Realtors are discontinuing use of these terms.
Seeking to break ground in this new era much as it did with speed metal and file sharing, heavy metal legend Metallica announced today that it will be re-issuing its third album, Master of Puppets, with the problematic language removed.
“We care about all Metallica fans, regardless of race, creed, color, sex, gender, ethnicity, religion, or shoe size,” said guitarist-vocalist James Hetfield. “In recognition of that Metallica will be changing the difficult name of our album, formerly Master of Puppets, to Manager of Equals, so that people know where we stand on this divisive and powerful issue.”
A DMN (Death Metal News Network) reporter witnessed workers removing copies of that Metallica album at her local Wal-mart, presumably to replace them later with a repress. According to inside sources within the Metallica camp, the band departed to Dreamvoid Studios on Friday morning with the intention of re-recording vocals containing the album title, corresponding song title, or other use of language that has fallen into disfavor.
The same source passed along a lyrical fragment, which DMN can verify is written in Hetfield’s customary handwriting, which updates this chorus from the album:
Master of Puppets I’m pulling your strings
Twisting your mind and smashing your dreams
Blinded by me, you can’t see a thing
Just call my name, ’cause I’ll hear you scream
The new lyrics will be:
Manager of Equals I’m cutting your hours
Shattering your 401(k) and burning your dreams
Caught in a meeting, you can’t do a thing
Just file your TPS reports so I hear you scream
According to longtime Metallica press relations manager Nigel Duncan, the new lyrics reflect “the changing social texture of an era in which we all belong to the system, and the system always wins.” He continued: “In the 1980s, you could drop out and go your own way. Now, we all need healthcare and retirement funds, so the only rebellion happens at the water cooler, and the band wanted the lyrics to reflect this new postmodern dystopia.”
The band plans to revisit other lyrics to look for instances of racism, sexism, privilege, and ableism. Sources familiar with the upcoming Metallica tour said that the band has removed its familiar references to moshing, partying, and being healthy from its dialogue with the crowd, focusing instead on social justice topics and hair dye.