Like Kate Bush before them, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Metallica are currently enjoying a Stranger Things bump, as the band’s Master of Puppets title track is prominently featured in the Netflix hit’s newly released Season 4 finale. The heavy-metal institution responded to their song being featured (and taking a subsequent trip up the charts) via social media on Tuesday, enthusing, “The way The Duffer Brothers have incorporated music into Stranger Things has always been next level, so we were beyond psyched for them to not only include ‘Master of Puppets’ in the show, but to have such a pivotal scene built around it.” [Note: If you have yet to watch said pivotal scene, this is your chance to stop reading.]
Netflix released the first seven episodes of Stranger Things 4—their hit original sci-fi series’ penultimate season ahead of a planned fifth and final—on May 27 as Volume 1, followed by its last two episodes, Volume 2, on July 1. Much like Bush’s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)” did in Vol. 1, “Master of Puppets” plays a key role in the story of Vol. 2, figuring prominently into final episode “The Piggyback.” Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) performs the track in the Upside Down to create a diversion—or, as he describes it, to put on “the most metal concert in the history of the world”—while his friends attempt to foil Vecna, this season’s big bad.
Metallica approved not only of their song being featured, but also of that feature’s execution, writing, “We were all stoked to see the final result and when we did we were totally blown away … It’s so extremely well done, so much so, that some folks were able to guess the song just by seeing a few seconds of Joseph Quinn’s hands in the trailer!! How crazy cool is that?”
Stranger Things music supervisor Nora Felder revealed in an interview that creators and showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer had only “Master of Puppets” in mind while writing the scene. “It was another one of those ‘it has to be this song,’ moments,” she told Variety. “This part of the story was anticipated to be a pivotal and especially hair-raising scene in which Eddie heroically stood tall for the fight of his life. I believe the Duffer Brothers felt that playing ‘Master of Puppets’ throughout the extended scene was the clear choice. No other song was discussed further, and we jumped in to clear it straight away.”
Metallica’s statement concludes with a Bush nod: “It’s an incredible honor to be such a big part of Eddie’s journey and to once again be keeping company with all of the other amazing artists featured in the show.”
The band’s bassist Rob Trujillo also shared his own reaction via Instagram, highlighting his son Tye Trujillo’s contribution of guitar tracks to the episode: “That’s my boy! Proud of ya Tye! Stranger Things finale shredding it on “Master of Puppets” and big thanks to @kirkhammett on helping!”
As of this writing, “Master of Puppets” is #17 on Spotify’s global top 50. (“Running Up That Hill” is #1.)
Watch Metallica and Eddie Munson, respectively, perform “Master of Puppets” below, and hear the former play the track at Woodstock 99 via the Paste archives further down. You can read Metallica’s complete Stranger Things statement here.