Today we will talk about one of the best metal bands in history Metallica, and their albums ranked according to critics and fans. American heavy metal group Metallica was founded in Los Angeles, California, in 1981.
Drummer Lars Ulrich, guitarist Dave Mustaine, bassist Ron McGovney, and vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield made up the band’s original line-up. Kirk Hammett eventually took over for Mustaine in 1983.
One of the original “big four” thrash metal bands, the group is known for its fast tempos, instrumentals, and violent musicianship. Each band member adds substantially, which gives the group its individuality. Lars Ulrich offers the energy behind the drums, Kirk Hammett contributes his dazzling guitar solos, and James Hetfield brings his incredible vocals and guitar prowess.
As a result, a wider audience has been drawn to heavy metal for their incorporation of elements from various genres, including blues and classical music. One of the most successful musical groups of all time, the band has sold more than 110 million records globally.
Most of all, they have been able to develop a deep relationship with their audience. Also, their music is well-respected for its musicianship, inventiveness, and variety, all of which have contributed to their recognition as one of the most popular and significant bands in the history of heavy metal. They have also been an advocate for artists’ rights and have been active in fighting for better compensation for artists.
Metallica Albums Ranked
Ranking Metallica’s albums can be a difficult task because the band has such a diverse and accomplished discography. Moreover, each album has its own unique style, sound, and themes, making it hard to compare them to one another. Additionally, the band has evolved and grown throughout their career, and their style has changed over time. So, comparing an early album like Kill ‘Em All to a later release like Hardwired… to Self-Destruct is not an easy task.
Another thing to consider is personal preference, as everyone has their own taste and may enjoy different albums more than others. One should also keep in mind that the ranking is subjective and it’s based on one’s personal taste.
Moreover, ranking Metallica albums takes into account a number of elements, including the band’s musicianship, songwriting, lyrics, production values, and overall influence on the heavy metal genre. Here are Metallicas’ albums ranked from worst to best.
11. St. Anger
St. Anger, released in 2003, is the band’s least popular album ranked at the bottom of our Metallica albums ranked list. It was produced by Bob Rock, who had previously worked with the band on their self-titled album, Load, and Reload.
The album received criticism for its “tinny” drum sound and raw, minimalistic approach to songwriting, with less emphasis on guitar solos. However, the album showcases the band’s willingness to experiment with new sounds and styles, as heard in tracks like “Frantic,” “The Unnamed Feeling,” and “All Within My Hands.” Also, the album’s lyrics reflect the band’s personal struggles and themes of self-discovery and addiction.
Despite mixed reviews, the album is significant as it marked a departure from the band’s usual style and a turning point in their career. Moreover, it showed their willingness to take creative risks and diversify their music.
Metallica albums ranked at number 10, Reload, the band’s seventh studio album, released in 1997. It showcases Metallica’s eagerness to explore new creative avenues, and expand their musical palette. Moreover, the band experimented with elements of alternative rock, industrial, and electronic music, resulting in a diverse range of tracks that included both heavy and melodic songs.
Most of all, the band’s willingness to try new things was evident on this album. However, not all critics and fans may have agreed with the direction taken, but it highlights the band’s willingness to push the boundaries and explore new creative possibilities.
Released in 1996, Metallica album ranked at number 9, it marked a departure from the band’s previous sound and featured a more blues-influenced style. For example, It includes tracks like “Until It Sleeps,” “Hero of the Day,” and “The Memory Remains” which received positive feedback from the fans and were successful as singles.
However, the album received mixed reviews from critics and some fans, who felt that the band had strayed too far from their thrash metal roots. But, the album’s more experimental and diverse sound, as well as its more introspective and personal lyrics, reflected the band’s desire to explore new sounds and styles.
Load is significant for the band as it marked a turning point in their career. Also, it’s considered a must-listen for fans of heavy metal and rock music who are interested in the band’s evolution and experimentation. However, Load represents a departure from the band’s earlier sound and style.
8. Garage Inc.
The double album, published in 1998, is a collection of cover songs that the group has recorded over the course of their career. Also, it features music by performers including Bob Seger, Queen, Black Sabbath, and more.
The album’s tracks, such as “Whiskey in the Jar,” “Turn the Page,” “Astronomy,” and “Tuesday’s Gone,” have become classics. As a result, the album has received generally favorable reviews. At the same time, this album is significant to the group as it demonstrates their range and appreciation of other musicians.
Also, it provides a window into the band’s influences and the music they grew up with. Most importantly, it’s an intriguing and enjoyable album that demonstrates the band’s diversity and respect for different musicians. It comes in at number eight on our Metallica albums rank.
7. Death Magnetic
Released in 2008, Death Magnetic is a great album that represents the band’s return to their harder style. Rick Rubin produced the album. He worked with the group to return to their thrash metal roots and create a record that was more in line with their earlier work.
Complex guitar riffs, frantic drumming, and strong vocals are all present on the album. Moreover, songs like “All Nightmare Long,” “The Day That Never Comes,” and “Cyanide” are some of the band’s best recent efforts. Additionally, the lyrics on the album are more introspective and intimate, reflecting the band’s feelings and experiences at the time of recording.
Ranked in the seventh position on our Metallica albums ranked list, Death Magnetic is an important album for the band. Most importantly, it demonstrated that even after more than two decades in the business, they were still able to create compelling and current music.
6. Hardwired… to Self-Destruct
Metallica’s tenth studio album Hardwired… to Self-Destruct, released as a double album on November 18, 2016, on their own label Blackened Recordings. After Death Magnetic (2008), it is their first studio album in eight years, which is the longest time between two studio albums in the band’s history.
The band’s return to their thrash metal roots was evident on this album, which was great. “Hardwired,” “Atlas, Rise!” and “Moth Into Flame” are some of the best songs on it.
For fans of heavy metal and rock music, the album is essential listening since it demonstrates that the band still has the vigor and enthusiasm they did in their early years. Moreover, the band’s durability and capacity to do so even after more than three decades in the business are attested to by its ranking in sixth place in Metallica albums rank list.
Released via Elektra Records on August 12th, 1991 self-titled album ranked in 5 of our Metallica album ranked list. Also, the album is popular as “The Black Album,” which signifies a change from the group’s earlier thrash metal sound and helped to increase their appeal to a wider audience.
Some of the hit songs are “Enter Sandman,” “The Unforgiven,” and “Wherever I May Roam”. Moreover, a must-listen for fans of heavy metal and rock music. Most importantly, the album’s more refined sound and captivating composition helped the band attain global recognition. Ranked in the fifth position, it’s a testament to the band’s ability to adapt and evolve while maintaining their integrity.
4. …And Justice for All
” …And Justice for All” is the fourth studio album by the American heavy metal band Metallica, released on August 25, 1988, by Elektra Records. However, produced by Flemming Rasmussen, who had previously worked with the band on their 1986 album “Master of Puppets”.
For instance, the album features a more complex and progressive sound than the band’s previous albums, with longer and more intricate songs, and an emphasis on technical skill and musicianship. Also, it features a more political and socially conscious lyrical theme, with songs addressing issues such as censorship, injustice, and corruption.
The album’s lead single and music video, “One” which is a song about a soldier trapped in war and can’t move, received a lot of attention and airplay. As a result, it is one of the band’s most popular and enduring songs.
Moreover, the album received generally positive reviews and it is one of the band’s best works by both critics and fans. Additionally, It was also a commercial success, debuting at number six on the Billboard 200 and selling over 8 million copies worldwide. Which earns the album the 4th spot on our Metallica albums ranked list.
3. Kill ‘Em All
If you’re a fan of heavy metal music, then the album “Kill ‘Em All” by Metallica is an absolute must-listen. The band’s debut album, released in 1983, established them as one of the most important and influential bands in the genre.
For instance, the album features a raw and aggressive sound, with fast and heavy riffs, precise drumming, and powerful vocals. However, the songs are short, sharp, and to the point, with no filler or fluff. From the opening track “Hit the Lights” to the closing track “Metal Militia”, the album is a non-stop onslaught of heavy metal energy and intensity.
One of the most notable aspects of the album is that it is one of the most influential thrash metal albums of all time. As it helped to establish the genre and paved the way for countless other bands. Moreover, it’s a true classic of the genre and a must-listen for any fan of heavy metal music. The band’s musicianship is on full display, with each member showcasing their skills and talent.
Overall, “Kill ‘Em All” is an essential album for anyone into heavy metal music. It’s a true classic of the genre that continues to stand the test of time. Ranked at number 3 of our Metallica albums list, it’s an album that will leave a lasting impression on you and make you want to listen to it again and again.
2. Ride the Lightning
“Ride the Lightning” by Metallica is an album that should not be missed by any fan of heavy metal music. Released in 1984, it’s the band’s second studio album, and it showcases their growth and evolution as musicians.
Additionally, the album is considered one of the most important and influential thrash metal albums of all time. However, it’s placed at number 2 in our Metallica albums rank due to its diversity in themes, style, and complexity.
The album opens with the powerful and intense “Fight Fire with Fire”, and continues with a mix of fast and heavy songs, such as “Ride the Lightning” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. Also, includes slower and more melodic songs, such as “Fade to Black” and “The Call of Ktulu”.
At the same time, the band’s musicianship is on full display, with each member showcasing their skills and talent. Though the album features more complex songwriting and thematic diversity, it’s more mature and polished when compared to the band’s debut album.
One of the most notable aspects of the album is its experimentation with new sounds and styles. The band pushes the boundaries of traditional heavy metal music by incorporating elements of melodic and progressive music. As a result, it gives the album a unique and dynamic sound.
Furthermore, this experimentation is evident in tracks such as “Fade to Black” and “The Call of Ktulu” which feature a mix of fast and heavy riffs, as well as slower and more melodic sections. The band’s willingness to try new things is a testament to their creativity and willingness to innovate.
Overall, it’s a true classic of the genre that continues to stand the test of time.
1. Master of Puppets
Released in 1986, “Master of Puppets” is one of the greatest and most influential heavy metal albums of all time. It’s the band’s third studio album and is the band’s finest work, and it’s the best Metallica album in our ranking.
For instance, the album is a perfect blend of raw power, technical precision, and emotion. Also, the band’s musicianship is at its peak, with each member showcasing their skills and talent. For example, the guitar riffs are heavy, fast, and memorable, and the solos are nothing short of spectacular. At the same time, the rhythm section is also impressive, with the drums and bass providing a solid foundation for the rest of the band.
Moreover, the lyrics are also noteworthy, with themes such as addiction, power, and control, that resonate with the listeners even today. Most importantly, the album features some of the band’s most iconic songs, such as “Master of Puppets,” “Battery,” “Welcome Home (Sanitarium),” and “Damage, Inc.” These songs are classics in the heavy metal genre and have had a significant influence on other bands.
In conclusion, “Master of Puppets” is an album that should be in every music lover’s collection. Also, a timeless masterpiece that continues to be highly regarded in the heavy metal genre. It’s an album that showcases Metallica at the height of their creativity and musicianship. The album offers a diverse range of themes, styles, and complexity, making it an experience that will leave a lasting impression on you. From the heavy and fast guitar riffs to the thought-provoking lyrics, it’s an album that will keep you coming back for more with each listens.
Metal music has been evolving for decades after decades and Metallica is one of those bands that helped to thrust the evolution. They were at the pick for many years and still many fans believe in them.
Let us know in the comment more about the band you like and leave us your opinion on our Metallica albums ranked list.