Metallica must be considered one of the most well-known metal bands
ever, with their work in the 80's in particular receiving
accolades as amongst the finest metal works ever recorded.
Formed in 1981 by the duo of James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, their
youthful energy quickly gained them an incredible underground
following, with their debut Kill 'Em All being one of the most
anticipated underground releases of the era.
And it did not disappoint -- arguably one of the first true thrash
albums, it jumpstarted a thrash scene that would last for years
With each succeeding release their popularity grew, and with the
release of 1986's Master Of Puppets (one of the most popular
thrash albums of all time), it was clear that it would only be
a matter of time before true worldwide fame would be theirs.
They suffered a tremendous setback when bassist Cliff Burton was
killed in a tour bus accident, but even that did not slow them down,
as they recruited new bassist Jason Newsted and continued growing
with 1988's ... And Justice For All.
The rise of Metallica to superstardom culminated in 1991 with the
release of their self-titled album, also famously known as the Black
While the momentum of the past decade insured its success (and
successful it was, reaching Number 1 and selling over seven
million copies in the US alone), a chasm started to develop between
the hardened early thrash fans and the mainstream audience that
welcomed the "new" Metallica.
This chasm was widened with 1996's Load, which saw the band
further delving into mainstream hard rock and greatly lessening
their thrash roots.
Indeed, many early fans gave up on the band completely, but their
mainstream popularity had risen to true superstar status by this
time, and they are still regarded as one of the most popular metal bands
of all time.
After spending several years touring and recording
miscellaneous projects such as the S&M band + orchestra
they released the somewhat controversial
St. Anger in 2003,
and later, in 2008, with new bassist Robert Trujillo solidly in place,
Death Magnetic, which appears to welcome at least a partial return
to their thrashier roots.
More recently they've recorded Lulu, a collaboration with Lou Reed
(thus not really considered a Metallica album per se) that has drawn
divided reviews at best.