Metallica is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 1981. Founded when drummer Lars Ulrich posted an advertisement in a local newspaper, Metallica's line-up has primarily consisted of Ulrich, rhythm guitarist and vocalist James Hetfield, and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, while going through a number of bassists. Currently, the spot is held by Robert Trujillo. Metallica's early releases included fast tempos, instrumentals, and aggressive musicianship that placed them as one of the "big four" of the thrash metal subgenre alongside Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax during the genre's development into a popular style. The band earned a growing fan base in the underground music community and critical acclaim, with the 1986 release Master of Puppets described as one of the most influential and "heavy" thrash metal albums. The band achieved substantial commercial success with Metallica (1991), which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. With this release the band expanded its musical direction resulting in an album that appealed to a more mainstream audience.
In 2000, Metallica was among several artists who filed a lawsuit against Napster for sharing the band's copyright-protected material for free without the band members' consent. A settlement was reached, and Napster became a pay-to-use service. Despite reaching number one on the Billboard 200, the release of St. Anger alienated many fans with the exclusion of guitar solos and the "steel-sounding" snare drum. A film titled Some Kind of Monster documented the recording process of St. Anger.
Metallica has released nine studio albums, two live albums, two EPs, twenty-four music videos, and forty-five singles. The band has won nine Grammy Awards, and has had five consecutive albums debut at number one on the Billboard 200, making Metallica the only band, other than the Dave Matthews Band, to do so. The band's 1991 album, Metallica, has sold over 15 million copies in the United States, and 22 million copies worldwide, which makes it the 25th-highest-selling album in the country. The band has sold an estimated 100 million records worldwide as of the release of their latest album, Death Magnetic. As of September 2008, Metallica is the fourth highest-selling music artist since the SoundScan era began tracking sales on May 25, 1991, selling a total of 51,136,000 albums in the United States alone.
Early years (1981–1983)
Metallica was formed in Los Angeles, California, in early 1981 when drummer Lars Ulrich placed an advertisement in a Los Angeles newspaper—The Recycler—which read "Drummer looking for other metal musicians to jam with Tygers of Pan Tang, Diamond Head and Iron Maiden." Guitarists James Hetfield and Hugh Tanner of Leather Charm answered the advertisement. Although he had not formed a band, Ulrich asked Metal Blade Records founder Brian Slagel if he could record a song for the label's upcoming compilation Metal Massacre. Slagel accepted, and Ulrich recruited Hetfield to sing and play rhythm guitar.
Ulrich talked to his friend Ron Quintana, who was brainstorming names for a fanzine. Quintana had proposed the names Metal Mania and Metallica. Ulrich used Metallica for the name of his band. A second advertisement was placed in The Recycler for a position as lead guitarist. Dave Mustaine answered, and, after seeing his expensive guitar equipment, Ulrich and Hetfield recruited him. In early 1982, Metallica recorded its first original song "Hit the Lights" for the Metal Massacre I compilation. Hetfield played bass on the song and Lloyd Grant was credited with a guitar solo. Released on June 14, 1982, early pressings of Metal Massacre I listed the band incorrectly as "Mettallica". Although angered by the error, Metallica managed to create enough "buzz" with the song and the band played its first live show on March 14, 1982, at Radio City in Anaheim, California with newly recruited bassist Ron McGovney. Metallica recorded its first demo, Power Metal, a name inspired by Quintana's early business cards in early 1982. In the fall of 1982, Ulrich and Hetfield attended a show at the nightclub Whisky a Go Go which featured bassist Cliff Burton in a band called Trauma. The two were "blown away" by Burton's use of a wah-wah pedal and asked him to join Metallica. Hetfield and Mustaine wanted McGovney out as they thought that he "didn't contribute anything, he just followed." Although Burton initially declined the offer, by the end of the year he accepted on the condition the band move to El Cerrito in the San Francisco Bay Area. Metallica's first live performance with Burton was at the nightclub The Stone in March 1983, and the first recording to feature Burton was the 1983 Megaforce demo.
Metallica was ready to record its debut album, but when Metal Blade was unable to cover the additional cost, the band began looking for other options. Concert promoter Johnny "Z" Zazula, who had heard the 1982 No Life 'til Leather demo, offered to broker a record deal with Metallica and New York City-based record labels. After receiving no interest from various record labels, Zazula borrowed the money to cover the record's recording budget and signed Metallica to his own label, Megaforce Records. Band members decided to kick Mustaine out of the band due to drug and alcohol abuse, and violent behavior. Exodus guitarist Kirk Hammett flew in to replace Mustaine the same afternoon. Metallica's first show with Hammett was on April 16, 1983, at the nightclub The Showplace in Dover, New Jersey.
Mustaine, who went on to found Megadeth, has expressed his dislike for Hammett in interviews. He said Hammett "stole my job." Mustaine was "pissed off" because he believes Hammett became popular by playing the guitar leads that Mustaine wrote. In a 1985 interview with Metal Forces, Mustaine slammed Hammett saying, "it's real funny how Kirk Hammett ripped off every lead break I'd played on that No Life 'til Leather tape and got voted No. 1 guitarist in your magazine." On Megadeth's 1985 debut album Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!, Mustaine included the song "Mechanix", which Metallica renamed as "The Four Horsemen" on Kill 'Em All. Mustaine said he did this to "straighten Metallica up", as Metallica referred to Mustaine as a drunk and said he could not play guitar.
Kill 'Em All and Ride the Lightning (1983–1984)
In 1983, Metallica traveled to Rochester, New York to record its first album, Metal up Your Ass, with production duties handled by Paul Curcio. Due to conflicts with the band's record label and the distributors' refusal to release an album with that name, it was renamed Kill 'Em All. Released on Megaforce Records in the United States and Music for Nations in Europe, the album peaked on the Billboard 200 at number 120, and although the album was not initially a financial success, it earned Metallica a growing fan base in the underground metal scene. The band embarked on the Kill 'Em All For One tour with Raven to support the release. In February 1984, Metallica supported Venom on the Seven Dates of Hell tour, where they performed in front of 7,000 people at the Aardschok Festival in Zwolle, Netherlands.
Metallica recorded its second studio album, Ride the Lightning, at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark. Released in August 1984, the album peaked at number 100 on the Billboard 200. A French printing press mistakenly printed green covers for the album, which are now considered collectors' items. Other songs on the album include "For Whom the Bell Tolls", "Fade to Black", "Creeping Death" (which tells the biblical story of the Hebrews' exodus from slavery in Egypt, focusing on the various plagues that were visited on the Egyptians), and the instrumental "The Call of Ktulu". Mustaine received a writing credit for "Ride the Lightning" and "The Call of Ktulu".
Master of Puppets (1984–1986) Elektra Records A&R director Michael Alago, and co-founder of Q-Prime Management Cliff Burnstein, attended a September 1984 Metallica concert. Impressed with what they saw, they signed Metallica to Elektra Records and made the band a client of Q-Prime Management. Metallica's burgeoning success was such that the band's British label Music for Nations issued a limited edition Creeping Death EP, which sold 40,000 copies as an import in the U.S. Two of the three songs on the record (cover versions of Diamond Head's "Am I Evil?", and Blitzkrieg's "Blitzkrieg") appeared on the 1989 Elektra reissue of Kill 'Em All. Metallica embarked on its first major European tour with Tank to an average crowd of 1,300. Returning to the U.S. marked a tour co-headlining with W.A.S.P. and Armored Saint supporting. Metallica played its largest show at the Monsters of Rock festival on August 17, 1985, with Bon Jovi and Ratt at Donington Park in England, playing in front of 70,000 people. A show in Oakland, California, at the Day on the Green festival saw the band play in front of a crowd of 60,000.
Metallica's third studio album, Master of Puppets was recorded at Sweet Silence Studios and was released in March 1986. The album peaked at number 29 on the Billboard 200, and spent 72 weeks on the chart. The album was the band's first to be certified gold on November 4, 1986, and was certified six times platinum in 2003. Steve Huey of Allmusic considered the album "the band's greatest achievement". Following the release of the album, Metallica supported Ozzy Osbourne for a United States tour. Hetfield broke his wrist skateboarding down a hill and continued the tour performing vocals, with guitar technician John Marshall playing rhythm guitar.
Burton's death and Garage Days Re-Revisited (1986–1987) On September 27, 1986, during the European leg of Metallica's Damage Inc. tour, members drew cards to see which bunk of the tour bus they would sleep in. Burton won and chose to sleep in Hammett's bunk. Around dawn near Dörarp, Sweden, the bus driver lost control and skidded, which caused the bus to flip several times. Ulrich, Hammett, and Hetfield sustained no serious injuries; however, bassist Burton was pinned under the bus and was killed. Hetfield recalls, "I saw the bus lying right on him. I saw his legs sticking out. I freaked. The bus driver, I recall, was trying to yank the blanket out from under him to use for other people. I just went, 'Don't fucking do that!' I already wanted to kill the guy." Burton's death left Metallica's future in doubt. The three remaining members decided that Burton would want them to carry on, and with the Burton family's blessings, the band sought a replacement.
Roughly 40 people tried out for auditions including Hammett's childhood friend Les Claypool of Primus, Troy Gregory of Prong, and Jason Newsted, formerly of Flotsam and Jetsam. Newsted learned Metallica's entire setlist, and after the audition Metallica invited him to Tommy's Joynt in San Francisco. Hetfield, Ulrich, and Hammett decided that Newsted was the one to replace Burton, and Newsted's first live performance with Metallica was at the Country Club in Reseda, California. The members took it on themselves to "initiate" Newsted by tricking him into eating a ball of wasabi.
In March 1987, Hetfield broke his wrist a second time skateboarding. Guitar technician Marshall returned playing rhythm guitar, but the injury forced the band to cancel a Saturday Night Live appearance. Metallica finished its tour in the early months of 1987, and in August 1987 an all-covers EP titled The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited was released. The EP was recorded in an effort to utilize the band's newly constructed recording studio, test out the talents of Newsted, and to relieve grief and stress following the death of Burton. A video titled Cliff 'Em All was released in 1987 commemorating Burton's three years in Metallica. Footage included bass solos, home videos, and pictures.
…And Justice for All (1988–1990)
…And Justice for All, the group's first studio album since Burton's death, was released in 1988. The album was a commercial success, peaking at number six on the Billboard 200, the band's first album to enter the top 10. The album was certified platinum nine weeks after its release. Newsted's bass was purposely turned down on the album as a part of the continuous "hazing" he received, and his musical ideas were ignored (However, he did receive a writing credit on track one, "Blackened"). There were complaints with the production; namely, Steve Huey of Allmusic noted Ulrich's drums were clicking more than thudding, and the guitars "buzz thinly". The Damaged Justice tour followed to promote the album.
In 1989, Metallica received its first Grammy Award nomination for …And Justice for All, in the new Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrument category. Metallica was the favorite to win; however, the award was given to Jethro Tull for the album Crest of a Knave. The result generated controversy among fans and the press, as Metallica was standing off-stage waiting to receive the award after performing the song "One". Jethro Tull had been advised by its manager not to attend the ceremony as he was expecting Metallica to win. The award was named in Entertainment Weeklys "Grammy's 10 Biggest Upsets".
Following the release of …And Justice for All, Metallica released its debut music video for the song "One". The band performed the song in an abandoned warehouse, and footage was remixed with the film, Johnny Got His Gun. Rather than organize an ongoing licensing deal, Metallica purchased the rights to the film. The remixed video was submitted to MTV, with the alternate performance-only version held back in the event that MTV banned the remix version. MTV accepted the remix version, and the video was viewers' first exposure to Metallica. It was voted number 38 in 1999 when MTV aired its "Top 100 Videos of All Time" countdown, and was featured in the network's 25th Anniversary edition of ADD Video, which showcased the most popular videos on MTV in the last 25 years.
"Metallica" (1990–1993) In October 1990, Metallica entered One on One studio in North Hollywood to record its next album. Bob Rock, who had worked with the bands The Cult, Bon Jovi, and Mötley Crüe, was hired as producer. Metallica (also known as "The Black Album") was remixed three times, cost $1 million, and ended three marriages. Although the release was stalled until 1991, Metallica debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with shipments exceeding 650,000 units in its first week. The album was responsible for bringing Metallica to the attention of the mainstream and has been certified 15 times platinum in the United States, which makes it the 25th highest-selling album in the country. The making of Metallica and the following tour was documented in A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica. Dubbed the Wherever We May Roam Tour, it lasted 14 months and included dates in the United States, Japan, and the UK.
On August 8, 1992, during the co-headlining GNR-Metallica Stadium Tour with Guns N' Roses, Hetfield suffered second and third degree burns to his arms, face, hands, and legs. There was confusion with the new pyrotechnics setup, which resulted with Hetfield walking into a 12-foot (3.7 m) flame during "Fade to Black". Newsted recalls Hetfield's skin was "bubbling like on The Toxic Avenger". Guitar technician John Marshall, who had previously filled in on rhythm guitar and was now playing in Metal Church, replaced Hetfield for the remainder of the tour as Hetfield was unable to play guitar, although he was able to sing. The band's first box set was released in November 1993 called Live Shit: Binge & Purge. The collection contained three live CDs, three home videos, and a book filled with riders and letters. Load, ReLoad, Garage Inc., and S&M (1994–1999)
After almost three years of touring to support Metallica, including a headlining performance at Woodstock '94, Metallica returned to the studio to write and record its sixth studio album. The band took a break in the summer of 1995 and played three outdoor shows which included headlining Donington Park in the United Kingdom, supported by Slayer, Skid Row, Slash's Snakepit, Therapy?, and Corrosion of Conformity. The short tour was titled Escape From The Studio '95. The band spent roughly one year writing and recording new songs, resulting in the release of Load in 1996, which entered the Billboard 200 and ARIA Charts at number one, marking the band's second number one. The cover of Load was created by Andres Serrano, and was called Blood and Semen III. Serrano pressed a mixture of his own semen and bovine blood between sheets of plexiglass. The release marked a change in musical direction for the band and a new look with band members receiving haircuts. Metallica headlined the alternative rock festival Lollapalooza in the summer of 1996.
During early production of the album, the band had produced enough material for a double album. It was decided that half of the songs were to be released, and the band would continue to work on the remaining songs and release them the following year. This resulted in the follow-up album, ReLoad. The cover was created by Serrano, this time using a mixture of blood and urine. ReLoad peaked at number one on the Billboard 200, and number two on the Top Canadian Album chart. Hetfield noted in the 2004 documentary film Some Kind of Monster that the songs on these albums were initially thought by the band to be of average quality, and were "polished and reworked" until judged to be releasable. To promote ReLoad, Metallica performed on NBC's Saturday Night Live in December 1997, performing "Fuel" and "The Memory Remains" with Marianne Faithfull.
In 1998, Metallica compiled a double album of cover songs titled Garage Inc.. The first disc contained newly recorded covers by bands such as Diamond Head, Killing Joke, The Misfits, Thin Lizzy, Mercyful Fate, and Black Sabbath. The second disc featured the original The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited, which had become a scarce collectors' item. The album entered the Billboard 200 at number two.
On April 21 and April 22, 1999, Metallica recorded two performances with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Kamen. Kamen, who had previously worked with producer Rock on "Nothing Else Matters", approached the band in 1991 with the idea of pairing Metallica's music with a symphony orchestra. Kamen and his staff of over 100 composed additional orchestral material for Metallica songs. Metallica wrote two new Kamen-scored songs for the event, "No Leaf Clover" and "-Human". The audio recording and concert footage were released in 1999 as the album and concert film S&M. It entered the Billboard 200 at number two, and the Australian ARIA charts and Top Internet Albums chart at number one. Napster controversy (2000–2001) In 2000, Metallica discovered that a demo of its song "I Disappear", which was supposed to be released in combination with the Mission: Impossible II soundtrack, was receiving radio airplay. Tracing the source of the leak, the band found the file on the Napster peer-to-peer file-sharing network, and also found that the band's entire catalogue was freely available. Legal action was initiated against Napster with Metallica filing a lawsuit at the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, alleging that Napster violated three areas of the law: copyright infringement, unlawful use of digital audio interface device, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
Though the lawsuit named three universities for copyright infringement, the University of Southern California, Yale University, and Indiana University, no individuals were named. Yale and Indiana complied and blocked the service from its campuses, and Metallica withdrew the universities' inclusion in the lawsuit. Southern California, however, had a meeting with students to figure out what was going to happen with Napster. School administrators wanted it banned as its usage accounted for 40% of the bandwidth not being used for educational purposes.
Metallica hired online consulting firm NetPD to monitor the Napster service for a weekend. A list of 335,435 Napster users who were believed to be sharing Metallica's music was compiled, and the 60,000 page document was delivered to Napster's office as Metallica requested the users be banned from the service. The users were banned, and rap artist Dr. Dre joined the lawsuit against Napster, which resulted in an additional 230,142 Napster users banned.
Ulrich provided a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding copyright infringement on July 11, 2000. Federal Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ordered the site place a filter on the program in 72 hours or be shut down. A settlement was reached between Metallica and Napster when German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG BMG showed interest to purchase the rights to Napster for $94 million. Under the terms of settlement, Napster agreed to block users who shared music by artists who do not want their music shared. However, on June 3, 2002 Napster filed for Chapter 11 protection under U.S. bankruptcy laws. On September 3, 2002, an American bankruptcy judge blocked the sale to Bertelsmann and forced Napster to liquidate its assets according to Chapter 7 of the U.S. bankruptcy laws.
At the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, Ulrich appeared in a skit with host Marlon Wayans that blasted the idea of using Napster to share music. Marlon played a college student sitting in his dorm room listening to Metallica's "I Disappear". Ulrich walked in and asked for an explanation. On receiving Wayans' excuse that using Napster was just "sharing", Lars retorted that Marlon's idea of sharing was "borrowing things that were not yours without asking." He called in the Metallica road crew, who proceeded to confiscate all of Wayans' belongings, leaving him almost nude in an empty room. Napster creator Shawn Fanning responded later in the ceremony by presenting an award wearing a Metallica shirt, saying, "I borrowed this shirt from a friend. Maybe, if I like it, I'll buy one of my own."
Newsted's departure and St. Anger (2001–2005)
As plans were being made to enter the recording studio, Newsted left the band on January 17, 2001. His statement revealed his departure was based on "private and personal reasons, and the physical damage I have done to myself over the years while playing the music that I love." During a Playboy interview with Metallica, Newsted revealed intentions he wanted to release an album with his side project, Echobrain. Hetfield was against the idea and said, "When someone does a side project, it takes away from the strength of Metallica" and a side project is "like cheating on your wife in a way". Newsted countered his statement by saying Hetfield recorded vocals for a song in the film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, and appears on two Corrosion of Conformity albums. Hetfield replied, "My name isn't on those records. And I'm not out trying to sell them", and pondered questions such as, "Where would it end? Does he start touring with it? Does he sell shirts? Is it his band?"
In April 2001, filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky began following Metallica to document the recording process of the next studio album. Over two years, more than 1,000 hours of footage was recorded. On July 19, 2001, before preparations to enter the recording studio, Hetfield entered rehab due to "alcoholism and other addictions". All recording plans were put on hiatus and the band's future was in doubt. However, when Hetfield returned on December 4, 2001, the band returned to the recording studio and Hetfield was required to work four hours a day, noon to 4 PM, and spend the rest of his time with his family. The footage recorded by Berlinger and Sinofsky was compiled into the documentary, Some Kind of Monster, which premiered at the Sundance film festival. In the documentary, Newsted described his former bandmates' decision to hire a therapist to help solve their problems which they could have solved on their own as "really fucking lame and weak".
Metallica held auditions for Newsted's permanent replacement in early 2003, after St Anger 's completion, for which Bob Rock recorded bass. Bassists that auditioned included Pepper Keenan, Jeordie White, Scott Reeder, Eric Avery, Danny Lohner, and Chris Wyse. Following three months of auditions, Robert Trujillo, formerly of Suicidal Tendencies and Ozzy Osbourne's band, was chosen as the new bassist. As Metallica moved on, Newsted joined Canadian thrash metal band Voivod in 2002, and was Trujillo's replacement in Osbourne's band during the 2003 Ozzfest tour, which included Voivod as part of the touring bill.
In June 2003, Metallica's eighth studio album, St. Anger, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, and drew mixed reaction from critics. Ulrich's "steely" sounding snare drum, and the absence of guitar solos received particular criticism. Kevin Forest Moreau of Shakingthrough.net commented that "the guitars stumble in a monotone of mid-level, processed rattle; the drums don't propel as much as struggle to disguise an all-too-turgid pace; and the rage is both unfocused and leavened with too much narcissistic navel-gazing", and Brent DiCrescenzo of Pitchfork Media described it as "an utter mess". However, Blender magazine called it the "grimiest and grimmest of the band's Bob Rock productions", and New York Magazine called it "utterly raw and rocking". The title track, "St. Anger", won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2004, and was used as the official theme song for WWE's SummerSlam 2003.
Before the band's set at the 2004 Download Festival in England, Ulrich was rushed to hospital with a mysterious illness, and was unable to perform. Hetfield searched for volunteers at the last minute to replace Ulrich. Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, and Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison volunteered. Lombardo performed the songs "Battery" and "The Four Horsemen", Ulrich's drum technician Flemming Larsen performed "Fade to Black", with Jordison performing the remainder of the set. Having toured for two years in support of St. Anger on the Summer Sanitarium Tour 2003 and the Madly in Anger with the World tour, with multi-platinum rockers Godsmack in support, Metallica took a break from performing and spent most of 2005 with friends and family. However, for two shows on November 13, 2005, and November 15, 2005, Metallica opened for The Rolling Stones at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Death Magnetic (2006 onward)
In December 2006, Metallica released a DVD containing all the music videos from 1989 to 2004. The DVD, titled The Videos 1989–2004, sold 28,000 copies in its first week, and entered the Billboard Top Videos chart at number three. Metallica recorded a cover of Ennio Morricone's "The Ecstasy of Gold" for a tribute album titled We All Love Ennio Morricone, released in February 2007. The cover received a Grammy nomination at the 50th Grammy Awards for the category "Best Rock Instrumental Performance". A recording of "The Ecstasy of Gold" has been played as the introduction for Metallica performances since the 1980s. However, this new version features the band itself performing the piece, giving a new guitar-based interpretation to the music.
In 2006, Metallica announced on its official website that after 15 years, long-time producer Bob Rock was stepping down and would not be producing Metallica's next studio album. Metallica chose to work with producer Rick Rubin, who has produced albums for the bands Danzig, Slayer, Slipknot and System of a Down. Metallica set the release date for the album Death Magnetic as September 12, 2008, and they filmed a music video for the first single "The Day That Never Comes".
On September 2, 2008, a French record store began selling copies of Death Magnetic nearly two weeks ahead of its scheduled worldwide release date, which resulted in the album being made available on peer-to-peer clients. This prompted the band's United Kingdom distributor, Vertigo Records, to officially release the album two days ahead of schedule, on September 10, 2008. It is currently unconfirmed whether Metallica or Warner Bros. will be taking any action against the retailer, though drummer Lars Ulrich has made such responses to the leak as, "…We're ten days from release. I mean, from here, we're golden. If this thing leaks all over the world today or tomorrow, happy days. Happy days. Trust me," and, "By 2008 standards, that's a victory. If you'd told me six months ago that our record wouldn't leak until 10 days out, I would have signed up for that."
Death Magnetic debuted at number one in several countries to make it top the Australian, Canadian, Mexican and European album chart. Selling 490,000 units in the United States to debut at number one, Metallica became the first band to have five consecutive studio albums debut at number one in the history of the Billboard 200. After a week of its release, Death Magnetic remained at number one on the Billboard 200, the European album chart, and became the fastest selling album in Australia for 2008.
Death Magnetic stayed at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart for three consecutive weeks. Metallica became the only artist, aside from Jack Johnson with the release of the album Sleep Through the Static, to remain on the Billboard 200 for three consecutive weeks at number one in 2008. Death Magnetic had also remained at number one on Billboard's Hard Rock, Modern Rock/Alternative and Rock album charts for five consecutive weeks. Internationally, the album peaked at number one in 32 countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.
Death Magnetic is a return by Metallica to their mid-eighties heavy/thrash metal roots. It is more similar to Master of Puppets and ...And Justice for All rather than their more recent albums.
Since this album's success, MTV Europe nominated Metallica in two categories (Rock Out and Headliner) of their Music Awards edition and also MTV Latin America invited them to perform in their Music Awards edition. Metallica performed "The Day That Never Comes." On October 21, 2008, Metallica started their World Magnetic Tour.
In November 2008, Metallica came to the end of their record deal with Warner Bros., and the band is now considering their options for the future and, according to Ulrich, one of their options is to release their next album through the internet. Recently, James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett were added to "Chop Shop's" list of "Top 100 Most Complete Guitar Players of All Time" at number fourteen and twenty-six, respectively.
On January 14, 2009, it was announced that Metallica would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 4, 2009, and that former bassist Jason Newsted (who left the band in 2001), would perform with the band at the ceremony. Initially, it was announced that the matter had been discussed, and that current bassist Robert Trujillo had agreed not to play, as he "wanted to see the Black Album band". However, during the band's set of "Master of Puppets" and "Enter Sandman", both Trujillo and Newsted were on stage. Ray Burton, the father of late bassist Cliff Burton accepted the honor on his behalf. Metallica also invited Dave Mustaine to take part in the induction ceremony, but he declined, citing his touring commitments in Europe.
On May 27, 2009, it was announced on Metallica's website that a new live DVD will be filmed at the Mexico City, Mexico and Nimes, France shows. The Nimes concert will be released on October 19, 2009.
In a June 2009 interview with Italy's Rock TV, Ulrich stated that Metallica plans to continue touring through August 2010. He also stated that there are currently no plans for a tenth album, but is sure that they are going to do one with Rick Rubin again.
Style and lyrical themes
Influenced by early heavy metal and hard rock bands such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin and New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands such as Venom, Motörhead, Diamond Head, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden, early Metallica releases contained fast tempos, harmonized leads, and nine-minute instrumentals. Steve Huey of Allmusic said that Ride the Lightning featured "extended, progressive epics; tight, concise groove-rockers". Huey felt Metallica expanded its compositional technique and range of expression to take on a more aggressive approach in following releases, and lyrics dealt with more personal and socially conscious issues. Lyrical themes explored on Master of Puppets included religious and military leaders, rage, insanity, monsters, and drugs.
In 1991, with new producer Bob Rock, Huey felt Metallica simplified and streamlined its music for a more commercial approach to appeal to the mainstream audience. The band abandoned its aggressive, fast tempos to expand its music and expressive range, said Robert Palmer of Rolling Stone. The change in direction proved commercially successful as Metallica was the band's first album to peak at number one on the Billboard 200. Metallica noticed changes to the rock scene created by the grunge movement of the early 1990s. In what has been described as "an almost alternative " approach, the band focused on non-metal influences and changed musical direction. Moving away from lyrical themes dealing with drugs and monsters, Metallica's new lyrical approach focused on anger, loss, and retribution. Some fans and critics were not pleased with this change, which included haircuts, the cover of Load, and headlining the alternative rock concert Lollapalooza. David Fricke of Rolling Stone described the move as "goodbye to the moldy stricture and dead-end Puritanism of no-frills thrash" and called Load the heaviest record of 1996. With the release of ReLoad in 1997, the band displayed more blues and early hard rock influences, incorporating more rhythm and harmony in song structures.
St. Anger marked another large change in the band's sound. Bored with guitar solos, Ulrich chose to omit them from the album, leaving a "raw and unpolished sound". The band used drop C tuning, and Ulrich's snare drum received particular criticism. New York Magazine's Ethan Brown noted it "reverberates with a thwong". Lyrics on the album dealt with Hetfield's stint in rehab, including references to the devil, anti-drug themes, claustrophobia, impending doom, and religious hypocrisy. At the advice of producer Rick Rubin, for their ninth studio album, Death Magnetic, the band returned to E tuning and guitar solos, and adapted Middle Eastern influences.
Legacy and influence
Metallica has become one of the most influential heavy metal bands, and is credited as one of the "big four" of thrash metal, along with Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth. The band has sold more than 90 million records worldwide, including 57 million in the United States, which makes Metallica the most commercially successful thrash metal band. The writers of The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll felt Metallica gave heavy metal "a much-needed charge". Stephen Thomas Erlewine and Greg Prato of Allmusic said Metallica, "expanded the limits of thrash, using speed and volume not for their own sake, but to enhance their intricately structured compositions", calling the band "easily the best, most influential heavy metal band of the '80s, responsible for bringing the music back to Earth."
Jonathan Davis of Korn respects Metallica as his favorite band and comments, "I love that they've done things their own way and they've persevered over the years and they're still relevant to this day. I think they're one of the greatest bands ever." Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin said Metallica has been the biggest influence on the band stating, "they really changed my life when I was 16 years old - I’d never heard anything that heavy." Vocalist and guitarist Robb Flynn of Machine Head said that when creating the band's 2007 album, The Blackening, "What we mean is an album that has the power, influence and epic grandeur of that album – and the staying power - a timeless record like that". Trivium guitarists Corey Beaulieu and Matt Heafy said that when they heard Metallica they wanted to start playing guitar. M Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold stated touring with Metallica was the band's career highlight, and said "Selling tons of records and playing huge shows will never compare to meeting your idols ." God Forbid guitarists Doc and Dallas Coyle grew up with Metallica as an inspiration, and the band's bassist John Outcalt admires Burton as a "rocker". Ill Niño drummer Dave Chavarri finds early Metallica releases as "heavy, raw, rebellious. It said, 'fuck you'", and Adema drummer Kris Kohls says the band is influenced by Metallica.
Kerrang! released a tribute album with the April 8, 2006, edition of the magazine, titled Master of Puppets: Remastered, which celebrated the 20-year anniversary of Master of Puppets. The album featured cover versions of Metallica songs by the bands Machine Head, Bullet for My Valentine, Chimaira, Mastodon, Mendeed, and Trivium, all who are influenced by Metallica. Over 15 Metallica tribute albums have been released. On September 10, 2006, Metallica guest starred on The Simpsons eighteenth season premiere "The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer", and Hammett's and Hetfield's voices were used in three episodes of the animated television series Metalocalypse.
Finnish cello metal band Apocalyptica released a tribute album, Plays Metallica by Four Cellos, which featured eight Metallica songs recorded with cellos. A parody band named Beatallica plays music using a combination of The Beatles and Metallica songs. Beatallica faced legal troubles when the Sony Corporation, who own The Beatles' catalogue, ordered a cease-and-desist claiming "substantial and irreparable injury"—ordering the group to pay damages. A fan of Beatallica, Ulrich asked Metallica lawyer Peter Paterno to help settle the legal case.
Metallica was ranked by MTV as the third "Greatest Heavy Metal Band in History", was listed fifth on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock, and was number one on VH1's 20 Greatest Metal Bands list. Master of Puppets was ranked number 167 on Rolling Stones "500 Great Albums of all time", and Metallica was number 252. Master of Puppets was named in Q Magazine's "50 Heaviest Albums Of All Time", ranked number one on IGN's "Top 25 Metal Albums", and number one on the Metal-rules.com "Top 100 Heavy Metal Albums" list. The song "Enter Sandman" was ranked number 399 on Rolling Stones "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".
On March 7, 1999, Metallica was inducted into the San Francisco Walk of Fame. The mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown, proclaimed the day "Official Metallica Day". Metallica was awarded the MTV Icon award in 2003, and a concert was held paying tribute to the band with artists performing Metallica songs. Performances included Sum 41 with a medley of "For Whom the Bell Tolls", "Enter Sandman", and "Master of Puppets". Staind covered "Nothing Else Matters", Avril Lavigne played "Fuel", hip-hop artist Snoop Dogg performed "Sad But True", Korn played "One", and Limp Bizkit performed a rendition of "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)".
The popular Guitar Hero series added many of Metallica's songs into their games. The first instance was Guitar Hero III when "One" was a track in the game. In the sequel, Guitar Hero: World Tour, the song "Trapped Under Ice" was used. Eventually in 2009, Metallica collaborated to make Guitar Hero: Metallica, in which several of Metallica's songs were included. Harmonix's Rock Band series included "Enter Sandman," with "Ride the Lightning," "Blackened," and "...And Justice For All" released as downloadable songs. Later in the sequel game, Rock Band 2, Metallica's song "Battery" was used.