Metallica i/məˈtælɨkə/ is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California, whose releases include fast tempos, instrumentals, and aggressive musicianship that placed them as one of the founding “big four” of thrash metal alongside Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax. They formed in 1981 when James Hetfield responded to an advertisement that drummer Lars Ulrich had posted in a local newspaper. As of 2003, the line-up features long-time lead guitarist Kirk Hammett (who joined the band in 1983) and bassist Robert Trujillo (a member since 2003) alongside Hetfield and Ulrich. Previous members of the band are lead guitarist Dave Mustaine (who went on to found the band Megadeth), and bassistsRon McGovney, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted. The band also had a long collaboration with producer Bob Rock, who produced all of its albums from 1990 to 2003 and served as a temporary bassist between the departure of Newsted and the hiring of Trujillo.
The band earned a growing fan-base in the underground music community and critical acclaim with its third album Master of Puppets (1986), described as one of the most influential and “heavy” thrash metal albums. Metallica achieved substantial commercial success with theireponymous fifth album (also known as The Black Album), 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 a number of artists who filed a lawsuit against Napster for sharing the band’s copyright-protected material for free without any band member’s 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 (2003) 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 and the tensions within the band during that time. In 2009, Metallica was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Metallica has released nine studio albums, three live albums, five extended plays, 24 music videos, and 45 singles. The band has won nineGrammy Awards, and has had five consecutive albums debut at number one on the Billboard 200, making Metallica the first band to do so; this record was later matched by the Dave Matthews Band. The band’s 1991 album, Metallica, has sold over 15 million copies in the United States, and 28 million copies worldwide, which makes it the 25th-best-selling album in the country. In December 2009, it became the best-selling album of the SoundScan era, surpassing 1997’s Come on Over by country artist Shania Twain. The band has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide as of the release of their latest album, Death Magnetic (2008). As of December 2009, Metallica is the fourth best-selling music artist since the SoundScan era began tracking sales on May 25, 1991, selling a total of 52,672,000 albums in the United States alone. As of 2011, Metallica is working on a new album.
Early years (1981–1983)
Metallica was formed in Los Angeles, California, in late 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 founderBrian Slagel if he could record a song for the label’s upcoming compilation album Metal Massacre. Slagel accepted, and Ulrich recruited Hetfield to sing and play rhythm guitar. The band was officially formed in October 1981, five months after Ulrich and Hetfield first met.
Ulrich talked to his friend Ron Quintana, who was brainstorming names for a fanzine. Quintana had proposed the names MetalMania 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 Mustaineanswered, 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 performance 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 West Hollywood 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 Megaforce demo (1983).
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 Johny “Z” Zazula, who had heard the demo No Life ’til Leather (1982), 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.
Kill ‘Em All and Ride the Lightning (1983–1984)
In May 1983, Metallica traveled to Rochester, New York to record its debut album, Metal Up Your Ass, with production duties handled by Paul Curcio. Band members decided to kick Mustaine out of the band due to drug and alcohol abuse and violent behavior just prior to the sessions on April 11, 1983. Exodus guitarist Kirk Hammett flew in to replace Mustaine the same afternoon.
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 debut album Killing Is My Business… and Business Is Good! (1985), Mustaine included the song “Mechanix”, which Metallica reworked and retitled “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. Metallica’s first live performance with Hammett was on April 16, 1983 at the nightclub The Showplace in Dover, New Jersey.
The band’s debut studio album was initially going to be titled Metal Up Your Ass. Due to conflicts with its 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 at number 120 on the Billboard 200 in 1988, 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 the band 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 reached number 100 on the Billboard200. 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 final plague that was visited on the Egyptians), and the instrumental “The Call of Ktulu”. Mustaine received 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 released a limited edition “Creeping Death” single, which sold 40,000 copies as an import in the United States. 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 reached 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 [bus driver]. I don’t know if he was drunk or if he hit some ice. All I knew was, he was driving and Cliff wasn’t alive anymore.” 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.
After Newsted joined Metallica, the band left its El Cerrito practice space (dubbed “the Metalli-mansion”, a suburban house formerly rented by sound engineer Mark Whitaker) and relocated to the adjacent cities of Berkeley and Albany before eventually settling in the Marin County city of San Rafael, North of San Francisco.
Metallica finished its tour in the early months of 1987. In March 1987, Hetfield broke his wrist a second time skateboarding, forcing the band to cancel aSaturday Night Live appearance. In August 1987 an all-covers extended play titled The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited was released. The extended play 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 band’s first studio album since Burton’s death, was released in 1988. The album was a commercial success, reaching 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 writing credit on the track “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 inEntertainment Weekly‘s “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.
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 such as Aerosmith, The Cult, Bon Jovi, and Mötley Crüe, was hired as the producer. Metallica (also known as The Black Album) was remixed three times, cost US$1 million, and ended three marriages. Although the release was stalled until 1991, Metallica debuted at number one in ten countries, selling 650,000 units in the United States during 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 best-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. In April 1992, Metallica appeared at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, performing a three-song set. Hetfield later performed “Stone Cold Crazy” with the remaining members of Queen and Tony Iommi.
On August 8, 1992, during the co-headlining Guns N’ Roses/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 that Hetfield’s skin was “bubbling like onThe 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. Later in 1993, Metallica went on the Nowhere Else to Roam Tour, playing five shows in Mexico City. 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 went on a brief hiatus in the summer of 1994 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 debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and ARIA Charts, 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 image 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. ReLoaddebuted number one on the Billboard 200, and reached number two on the Top Canadian Album chart. Hetfield noted in the 2004 documentary film Some Kind of Monster that some of 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 onNBC‘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 of songs 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 (RICO).
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. USC, however, had a meeting with students to decide 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 Patelordered 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 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”, Ulrich 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.” Ulrich was booed on stage later at the award show when he introduced the final musical act, Blink 182.
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 Conformityalbums. 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 rehabdue to “alcoholism and other addictions”. All recording plans were put on hiatus and the band’s future was in doubt. Hetfield left rehab on December 4, 2001, and the band returned to the recording studio on April 12, 2002, though Hetfield was required to limit his work to 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 January, 2004. In the documentary, Newsted described his former bandmates’ decision to hire a therapist to help solve their problems which he felt they could have solved on their own as “really fucking lame and weak”.
For the duration of the recording period, producer Bob Rock played bass, both on the album and for the few live shows at which Metallica performed during that time frame. Once the record was completed, in early 2003, the band started to hold auditions for Newsted’s permanent replacement. 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 reactions 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 the hospital after having an anxiety seizure, 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 (2006–2011)
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 would not be producing Metallica’s next studio album. The band chose to work with producer Rick Rubin. Metallica scheduled the release date for Death Magnetic as September 12, 2008, and the band filmed a music video for the album’s 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. Rumors of Metallica or Warner Bros. taking any legal action against the retailer were unconfirmed, though drummer Lars Ulrich 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 the United States selling 490,000 units with Metallica becoming 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 remained at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart for three consecutive weeks. Metallica was one of two artists, along with 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 reached number one in 32 countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.
In November 2008, Metallica came to the end of its record deal with Warner Bros., and the band is now considering its options for the future and, according to Ulrich, one of the band’s options is to release its next album through the internet.
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 bassist 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, father of the late Cliff Burton, accepted the honor on his behalf. Although he was not to be inducted with them, Metallica also invited Dave Mustaine to take part in the induction ceremony. Mustaine declined however, citing his touring commitments in Europe.
Metallica, along with Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax, performed on the same bill for the first time on June 16, 2010 at Bemowo Airport (Warsaw, Poland). It was the first performance of that bands played as a part of Sonisphere Festival series, one of the following (Sofia, Bulgaria, June 22, 2010) was sent via satellite in HD to cinemas. They also went on to play in Bucharest, Romania (June 26, 2010) and then in Istanbul, Turkey (June 27, 2010) also as part of the Sonisphere Festival. On June 28, 2010, Death Magnetic was certified 2X platinum by the RIAA.
The band’s World Magnetic Tour ended on November 21, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. The band had been touring for over two years in support of Death Magnetic. To go with its final tour dates in Australia and New Zealand, a live limited edition EP of past performances in Australia was released called Six Feet Down Under. The EP was also followed by Six Feet Down Under (Part II), which was released on November 12, 2010. Part 2 contains a further 8 songs recorded during the first two Oceanic Legs of the World Magnetic Tour.
On November 26, 2010, Metallica released another live EP, titled Live at Grimey’s, which was recorded in June 2008 at Grimey’s Record Store, just prior to its appearance at Bonnaroo that year.
In a June 2009 interview with Italy’s Rock TV, Ulrich stated that Metallica was planning to continue touring through August 2010, stating there were no plans for a tenth album, but was sure that they would collaborate with producer Rick Rubin again. According to Blabbermouth.net, the band may start thinking about recording their next album in the second half of 2011. In a November 2010 interview with The Pulse of Radio, Ulrich stated that Metallica wants to get back to writing again for 2011. Ulrich stated: “There’s a bunch of balls in the air for 2011, but I think the main one is we really want to get back to writing again. We haven’t really written since, what, ’06, ’07, and we want to get back to kind of just being creative again. Right now we are going to just chill out and then probably start up again in, I’d say, March or April, and start probably putting the creative cap back on and start writing some songs.” In an interview at the April 2011 Big Four concert, bassist Robert Trujillo said that Metallica will work with Rick Rubin again as the producer for the new album and were “really excited to write some new music. There’s no shortage of riffage in Metallica world right now.” He also added, “The first album with Rick was also the first album for me, so in a lot of ways, you’re kind of testing the water. Now that we’re comfortable with Rick and his incredible engineer, Greg Fidelman, who worked with Slayer, actually, on this last record – it’s my hero – it’s a great team. And it’s only gonna better; I really believe that. So I’m super-excited.” As of June 2011, according to Rubin, Metallica has begun writing their new album.
On November 9, 2010, Metallica announced that it would be headlining the Rock in Rio, in Rio de Janeiro, on September 25, 2011. On December 13, 2010, the band announced that it would once again play as part of the “big four” during the Sonisphere Festival U.K., on July 8, 2011. It was the first time all of the “big four” members played on the same stage in the United Kingdom. The performance took place at Knebworth House, Hertfordshire. On December 17, 2010, Another “big four” Sonisphere performance was announced that would take place in France on July 9. On January 25, 2011, another “big four” performance was announced in the United States. It took place on April 23, 2011 in Indio, California at the Empire Polo Club. It was the only scheduled concert in the United States, it was also the first time all of the “big four” members played on the same stage in the United States. On February 17, 2011, another show was announced in Europe. The performance took place in Gelsenkirchen, Germany on July 2, 2011. On February 22, another “big four” show was announced, also in Europe. It took place in Milan, Italy on July 6, 2011. On March 2, 2011, again another “big four” concert was announced, which took place in Gothenburg, Sweden on July 3, 2011 at the Ullevi Stadion.
Lulu and tenth studio album (2011–present)
On June 15, 2011, Metallica announced that recording sessions with singer-songwriter Lou Reed had concluded. The album, titled Lulu was recorded over several months, and resulted in ten songs based on Frank Wedekind‘s “Lulu” plays, Earth Spirit and Pandora’s Box. The album was released on October 31, 2011.
On October 16, 2011, Robert Trujillo confirmed that the band was back in the studio and writing new material, stating “The writing process for the new Metallica album has begun. We’ve been in the studio with Rick Rubin, working on a couple of things, and we’re going to be recording during the most of next year.”
Metallica were due to make their first appearance in India at the “India Rocks” concert, supporting the 2011 Indian Grand Prix. However, the concert was cancelled when the venue was proven unsafe. Fans raided the stage during the event and the organizers were later arrested for fraud. Metallica later made their Indian debut in Bangalore on October 30, 2011. On November 10, it was announced that Metallica would play at the Download Festival at Donington Park, England, headlining the main stage on Saturday June 9, 2012, and that they would be playing the The Black Album in its entirety.
In December 2011, Metallica began releasing songs online that were written for Death Magnetic, but were not present on the final album. On December 13, 2011 they were released on Beyond Magnetic, a digital EP release only on iTunes.
Also in December Metallica celebrated its 30 year anniversary by playing 4 shows at the Fillmore in San Francisco. The shows were exclusive only to Met Club members and tickets were only being charged at $6 (or 19.81 for all 4 nights). The shows consisted of songs spanning their entire career and guest appearances by multiple artist that either helped or influenced Metallica. These shows were notable for having Dave Mustaine, Jason Newsted, Glenn Danzig, Ozzy Osbourne, Jerry Cantrell, Apocalyptica, members of Diamond Head, King Diamond among others join Metallica on stage for all appropriate songs.
On February 7, 2012, Metallica announced that they were going to start a new music festival called Orion Music + More, which will take place on June 23 and 24, 2012 in Atlantic City. Metallica also confirmed that they will also headline the festival on both days and will perform two of their most critically acclaimed albums in their entirety: their 1991 eponymous fifth release (The Black Album) on one night and 1984’s Ride the Lightning the other.
Metallica is influenced by early heavy metal and hard rock bands and artists such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Queen,Ted Nugent, AC/DC, Rush, Aerosmith, and Scorpions, New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands such as Venom, Motörhead, Diamond Head, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden, as well as early punk rock bands such as the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, and the Misfits. 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 Load(an album that has been described as “an almost alternative rock” 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. Guitar solos were excluded 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 its ninth studio album, Death Magnetic, the band returned to E tuning (though all songs were tuned half step down live) and guitar solos, and adapted Middle Eastern influences.
Legacy and influence
Metallica has become one of the most influential heavy metal bands of all time, and is credited as one of the “big four” of thrash metal, along with Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth. The band has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, including 59 million in the United States. 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 Master of Puppets – 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 Metallica.” 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 Ademadrummer 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.
The Finnish cello metal band Apocalyptica released a tribute album, Plays Metallica by Four Cellos, which features eight Metallica songs played on cellos. A parody band named Beatallica plays music using a combination of The Beatles and Metallica songs. Beatallica faced legal troubles when Sony, 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 Stone‘s The 500 Greatest 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 Stone‘s “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 a number 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 featured. Eventually in 2009, Metallica collaborated to make Guitar Hero: Metallica, in which a number of Metallica’s songs were included. Harmonix‘ Rock Band series included “Enter Sandman“, with “Ride the Lightning”, “Blackened“, and “…And Justice for All” released as downloadable tracks. The song “Battery” was featured in the game’s sequelRock Band 2.
|Current members||Former members|
• 1983 – Kill ‘Em All
• 1984 – Ride the Lightning
• 1986 – Master of Puppets
• 1988 – …And Justice for All
• 1991 – Metallica
• 1996 – Load
• 1997 – ReLoad
• 2003 – St. Anger
• 2008 – Death Magnetic
• 2011 – Lulu (with Lou Reed)
• 2011 – Beyond Magnetic (EP)