Last modified on May 1, 2022, at 03:42



Country United States
Style Thrash Metal
Heavy Metal
Hard Rock
Speed Metal
Year 1981

Metallica is an American heavy metal band known for establishing the thrash metal genre along with Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax, all of them known as the "Big Four of Thrash Metal". Formed in 1981 in Los Angeles by guitarist and lead vocalist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich,[1] they are one of the most popular in-concert bands while selling about 90 million records worldwide.[2] Their "Metallica" (1991) album (also known as the "Black Album" because of its packaging design) is ranked #26 as the biggest-selling album of all time.[3]

Metallica is the first group or signer to have a #1 song in four different decades, recently attaining that milestone with "All Within My Hands," as performed with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.[4]

Metallica's lead singer, James Hetfield, is a member of the NRA and appears to hold some conservative views.[5] He declined to publicly state his opinion of Donald Trump,[5] in sharp contrast with rock stars who harshly criticize Trump. Hetfield was critical of alarmism about global warming or climate change as follows:

Q: You played at Live Earth. What are your thoughts on the climate crisis. What can METALLICA contribute to [the whole process]?
Hetfield: "I really avoided the press around the Live Earth day. I didn't quite agree with what was going on there. Politics drive me crazy, and I don't like talking politics. Politics get in the way of things; they get in the way of getting things done, and getting our music across is what we wanna do — we don't wanna cloud it with 'Democrat, Republican,' whatever. Our philosophy is 'think for yourself' at the end of the day — do what you think feels right. I really believe that humans will survive. I have a lot of faith in mankind that we will overcome and adapt — whatever it is; whether it's man-made or God-made, or Earth/Mother Nature — we have a lot of smart people on this planet that will make something good out of bad."[6]

Metallica has released a total of ten studio albums, the most well known being Master Of Puppets, Ride The Lightning, and Metallica (The Black Album). In November 2016, the band released its tenth album, Hardwired... to Self-Destruct[7]

The band came under criticism following their campaign to sue internet users who shared their music on Napster.

Original lineup

Originally, the band consisted of;

  • James Hetfield (Rhythm Guitar and vocals)
  • Lars Ulrich (Drums)
  • Dave Mustaine (Lead Guitar)
  • Ron McGovney (Bass)

Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets

Before Metallica's first album was recorded, both McGovney and Mustaine were fired, Mustaine due to his struggles with alcohol and drugs, and McGovney due to his inability to get along with other members. Metallica hired Kirk Hammett to replace Mustaine, and Cliff Burton to replace McGovney. This would be known as the "classic" Metallica lineup. On July 25th, 1983, they released their debut studio album named Kill 'Em All, which helped lay down the foundations for thrash metal, a heavy metal subgenre defined by brisk riffs and intense percussion.

On July 27th, 1984, the band released their second studio album named Ride the Lightning. The album had showcased musical growth and more sophistication of lyrics. It was partly because the bassist Cliff Burton introduced basics of music theory to the rest of the band. The album received widespread acclaim from music critics, mostly positive and praised the album.

On March 3rd, 1984, the band released their third studio album named Master of Puppets. It was their last album to feature Cliff Burton, who died in a tour bus accident in Sweden. The album is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential thrash metal albums of all time.

...And Justice for All, Metallica (Black Album), Load and Reload

After Master Of Puppets, widely believed to be Metallica's best album, bassist Cliff Burton died in a tour bus accident in Sweden. He was replaced with Flotsam and Jetsam's bassist, Jason Newsted.

On September 7th, 1988, the band released their fourth studio album named ...And Justice for All. It was their first album to feature the bassist Jason Newsted, following the death of Cliff Burton. It contains lyrical themes of political and legal injustices, such as government corruption, war and censorship. Hetfield also had written about lyrics he had not addressed before such as his revolt against the Establishment It was acclaimed by music critics for its complexity and depth. However, it was criticized because Newsted's bass guitar was made almost inaudible by the instruction of Hetfield and Ulrich.

On August 12th, 1991, the band released their fifth studio album named Metallica (Also referred to as The Black Album). It marked a change in the band's music from thrash metal to heavy metal, a much slower, polished and refined sound. The album received widespread critical acclaim and became the band's best-selling album.

St. Anger

Just before the recording of Metallica's 8th studio album, Newsted left the band, saying that he felt like he never quite fit in. Producer Bob Rock took over the duty of playing the bass for St. Anger.

Napster Controversy

In 2000, Metallica discovered that its song "I Disappear", which was supposed to be released in combination with the Mission: Impossible II soundtrack was being played on the radio. They traced the source of the leak, the band found the file on the Napster website which was owned by a liberal, and also found that the band's entire catalogue was freely available on the website. They sued Napster. Ulrich led the case against Napster.

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 three days or be shut down. A settlement was reached between Metallica and Napster. Under the terms of this settlement, Napster agreed to block users who shared music by artists who don't want their music shared.

Current lineup

  • James Hetfield (rhythm guitar and vocals)
  • Lars Ulrich (drums)
  • Kirk Hammett (lead guitar)
  • Robert Trujillo (bass)


  • Kill 'Em All (1983)
  • Ride the Lightning (1984)
  • Master of Puppets (1986)
  • ...And Justice for All (1988)
  • Metallica (1991)
  • Load (1996)
  • Reload (1997)
  • Garage Inc. (1998) - Cover album
  • S&M (1999) - Live album with San Francisco Symphony Orchestra (lead by Michael Kamen) backup
  • St. Anger (2003)
  • Death Magnetic (2008)
  • "Lulu" (2011) - Collaboration with Lou Reed providing spoken-word vocals
  • Hardwired... to Self-Destruct (2016)

See also


  5. 5.0 5.1


External links