Metallica Albums Ranked (rated from worst to best)

Metallica Albums Ranked (rated from worst to best)

Metallica were formed in Los Angeles, California, USA in 1981. They have been ranked as one of the “Big Four” Thrash metal bands, along with Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. Their 3rd album “Master of Puppets” has been cited as one of the heaviest metal albums and Metallica’s best work. 

Their next album “…And Justice For All” was nominated for a Grammy Award and their 5th “Metallica”  was their 1st album that wasn’t purely thrash metal. This led to it being enjoyed by a wider range of listeners and achieving greater commercial success.

Best Metallica Albums Of All Time

Metallica have released 10 studio albums and as always we will rank them from the rest to the best as we see them.

10. St. Anger (2003)

This was the band’s 8th studio album which was released on June 5th 2003. It was their last album released through Elektra Records and their last with producer Bob Rock who had been their producer for the past 13 years.  This is also their only album released when they were officially a trio. Jason Newsted (bass) left the band just before they started recording this album.

If you’re interested in the making of this album and the problems associated with the production, you can watch it on the documentary “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster”. The album had no guitar solos, and an alternative metal style and a raw edge, this album was totally different to any others so far.

9. Reload (1997)

This was their 7th studio album which was released on November 18th 1997 by Elektra Records. It was a follow up to “Load” which was released the year before, and their last studio album to feature the “…And Justice For All” lineup, as Jason Newsted (bass guitar) left in January 2001. 

The album debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with 436,000 copies sold in the 1st week. It also got to number 1 in New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Austria and Germany.

8. Load (1996)

Released on June 4th 1996, this was their 6th studio album. The album leaned more towards hard rock than their usual thrash metal style, which led to a lot of unhappy fans. It also featured influences from Southern rock, country rock, blues rock and alternative rock. It was their longest studio album (79 minutes) and was a commercial success. Debuting at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and staying there for 4 weeks.

There were 4 singles released from this album which were “Until It Sleeps”, “Hero Of The Day”, “Mama Said” and “King Nothing”. Also, “Load” was the 1st Metallica album which had all of the tracks down tuned to Eb tuning. 

7. Hardwired … To Self Destruct (2016)

This was Metallica’s 10th studio album which was released on November 18th 2016 as a double album on their own label, Blackened Recordings. It was their 1st studio album in 8 years since “Death Magnetic” in 2008. This was their 6th consecutive studio album to debut at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.

6. Death Magnetic (2008)

This was their 9th studio album which was released on September 12th 2008 on the Warner Bros. Records label. This album saw Metallica return to their thrash metal roots and also contains their 1st instrumental piece “Suicide and Redemption” since “To Live is to Die” from “…And Justice For All”.

This was their 5th consecutive number 1 studio album on the Billboard 200 chart which made Metallica the 1st band to achieve this. The album sold 490,000 copies in its 1st 3 days of availability.

5. …And Justice For All (1988)

Released on September 7th 1988, this was their 4th studio album and their 1st to feature Jason Newsted on bass guitar. After always refusing to release music videos, Metallica released its 1st for the track “One” which caused some controversy amongst fans who had always valued the band’s opposition to MTV and other mainstream music forms.

4. Metallica (The Black Album) (1991)

This was their 5th studio album which was released on August 12 1991. Better known as “The Black Album” due to its packaging design, this album marked a change in musical style from their earlier thrash metal to a slower, heavier sound.

There were 5 singles released from this album which were; “Enter Sandman”, “The Unforgiven”, “Nothing Else Matters”, “Wherever I May Roam” and “Sad But True”. The track “Don’t Tread On Me” was also released to rock radio but failed to achieve commercial release.

3. Ride The Lightning (1984)

Released on July 27th 1984 by Megaforce Records, this was their 2nd studio album. There were 3 singles released from this album which were; “Fade To Black”, “Creeping Death” and “For Whom The Bell Tolls”. It was their last album to feature any songwriting contributions from former guitarist Dave Mustaine and also the 1st to feature contributions from Kirk Hammett, his successor.

2. Kill ‘Em All (1983)

Released on July 25th 1983 by independent label Megaforce Records, this was Metallica’s debut album. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles by Lars Ulrich (drums) and James Hetfield (vocals, rhythm guitar) along with Ron McGovney (bass) and Dave Mustaine (lead guitar). They recorded a number of songs written by Mustaine for this album including “the Four Horsemen” which is an allegedly rehashed version of Mustaine’s song “The Mechanix” which caused some animosity after Mustaine was told to leave and subsequently formed Megadeth.

1. Master Of Puppets (1986)

This was their 3rd studio album which was released on March 3rd 1986 on Elektra Records. It was their last album to feature Cliff Burton (bass) who died in a bus accident in Sweden whilst the band were on the album’s promotional tour. There was 1 single released from this album which was the title track.

The album reached number 29 on the Billboard 200 chart and received a great deal of praise for the album and its music and lyrics. It is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential thrash metal albums of all time.

All Metallica Albums In Chronological Order

Kill ‘Em All1983
Ride the Lightning1984
Master of Puppets 1986
…And Justice for All 1988
St. Anger2003
Death Magnetic2008
Hardwired… to Self-Destruct 2016

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best selling Metallica album?

The best selling Metallica album is “Metallica” also known as the “Black Album” which has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.

What is the newest Metallica album?

The newest Metallica album is “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct ” which was released on November 18th 2016.

What is the first Metallica album?

The first Metallica album is “Kill ‘Em All” which was released on July 25th 1983.

What is Metallica’s most famous song?

Metallica’s most famous song is “One”  which was taken from the album “…And Justice For All”.

When did Metallica start?

Metallica were formed in Los Angeles, California, USA in 1981.

What genre is Metallica?

The genres ascribed to Metallica are; Heavy metal, hard rock, speed metal and thrash metal.

Who are the members of Metallica?

The current members of Metallica are; James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo. Past members are; Dave Mustaine, Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton and Jason Newstead.

Disclosure: We are a professional review site that receives compensation from the companies whose products we review.

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