There can be no doubt that Stranger Things has gone back into the past to help define the pop culture of the present, with Joseph Quinn operating as a pivotal figure for the change.
Whether he likes it or not, Joseph Quinn has become the patron saint of modern-day heavy metal. Or, at the very least, his character from Stranger Things 4 has. On the show, Quinn plays (spoilers: played) Eddie Munson, the Dungeons & Dragons-loving self-proclaimed “freak” who also gets his kicks playing thrash metal guitar. Even when fellow Vecna fighter Nancy Wheeler needs music to snap her out of a curse, Munson defiantly holds up an Iron Maiden album and defends with all of his might.
Thanks to a ripping version of ‘Master of Puppets’ used in his most pivotal scene, Quinn has inspired a whole new generation of Netflix watchers to invest in Metallica, 1980s thrash metal, or just heavy metal in general for the first time. When asked by The Hollywood Reporter what his tastes in the genre are leaning towards these days, Quinn admits what should be obvious.
“I’ve been listening to Metallica a lot lately,” Quinn reveals with a laugh. But the actor also paid tribute to the band that invented heavy metal and highlighted one of their most iconic LPs as well. “I also listen to a lot of Black Sabbath, especially Master of Reality,” Quinn adds.
Released in 1971, Master of Reality represented a major sonic change for Black Sabbath. Although they had previously experimented with lower tunings, songs like ‘Children of the Grave’ and ‘Into the Void’ represented the earliest building blocks for sludge and doom metal thanks to their detuned riffs and rumbling low end.
Despite his proclaimed fandom for Ozzy and Company, Quinn also admitted that he wasn’t exactly a metal guy. “When I was younger, I was never a big fan of thrash metal,” he said. “I was aware of new metal bands emerging in the 1990s, which I enjoyed, but I wasn’t enamored of that genre of music.”
In fact, Quinn had to do a major deep dive in order to accurately portray Eddie Munson as the thrash fan he is. Luckily for him, Quinn already had a head start by knowing how to play the guitar, even if the frantic riffage of James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett weren’t necessarily in his wheelhouse before signing onto the fourth season of Stranger Things.
Still, there are a lot worse places to start with your metal education than Master of Reality and Master of Puppets.