Metallica has been one of the most influential bands in the metal world since their formation in 1981. They have delivered some of the most iconic and groundbreaking albums on thrash metal scene, setting the standard for countless bands to follow. With almost 40 years of existence, they have released ten studio albums, each with its unique charm and appeal.
However, not all Metallica albums are considered equal by their fans. Some are considered masterpieces, while others are seen as letdowns. In this post, we aim to rank Metallica’s albums from worst to best, taking into account their commercial success, critical reception, and cultural impact.
11. ST. ANGER
St. Anger was a departure from Metallica’s usual sound, and unfortunately, it didn’t pay off. The album was heavily criticized for its snare drum sound, lack of solos, and subpar songwriting.
Highlights: Frantic, St. Anger, and skip all the rest.
Reload was the follow-up to Load, and while it had some memorable tracks like “Fuel” and “The Memory Remains,” it felt like a continuation of Load rather than a new album.
Highlights: Fuel and The Memory Remains.
Load was the first album where Metallica attempted to depart from their thrash metal roots, and while it had some standout tracks like “Until It Sleeps” and “Bleeding Me,” it ultimately fell short of expectations.
Highlights: Ain’t My Bitch, Until It Sleeps, Bleeding Me, Wasting My Hate, Thord Within, and The Outlaw Thorn.
08. HARDWIRED…TO SELF-DESTRUCT
Still, it beats the beforementioned releases, because the band at the moment returned to their thrash metal roots.
Highlights: Hardwired, Atlas, Rise, Moth Into Flame, Confusion, and Spit Out The Bone.
07. 72 SECONDS
Metallica recently released 72 Seconds, their brand new album. As usual, the crowd has a mixed feelings on this one, but it’s of the best recent works by this legendary thrash metal band.
Highlights: Pretty much the entire album is listenable from scratch to finish.
06. DEATH MAGNETIC
Death Magnetic marked a return to Metallica’s thrash metal roots and was well-received by fans, but some criticized its compressed sound. It’s the effort worth checking out.
Highlights: That Was Just Your Life, The End Of The Line, Broken Beat & Scattered, All Nightmare Long, The Judas Kiss, and My Apocalypse.
05. BLACK ALBUM
The Black Album LP not only marked a shift in Metallica’s sound, but it was also a pioneer of a new era of heavy metal music. It allowed the band to gain mainstream success without sacrificing their heavy sound. In fact, the Black Album LP created a new standard for heavy metal music to follow.
Hightlights: Enter Sandman, Sad But True, Holier Than Thou, The Unforgiven, Whenever Where I Roam, Through The Never, Nothing Else Matters, Of Wolf And Man, and The Struggle Within.
04. KILL ‘EM ALL
Metallica’s debut album established them as a force to be reckoned with in the metal world, and classics like Seek & Destroy and Whiplash still hold up today.
Highlights: Hit The Lights, The Four Horsemen, Motorbreath, Whiplash, Phantom Lord, No Remorse, Seek & Destroy, and Metal Militia.
03. …AND JUSTICE FOR ALL
…And Justice for All is beloved among metal fans for its complex song structures, epic length, and politically charged lyrics. The lack of bass guitar in the mix spoils the listening experience a little bit, but overall, it’s a must for all thrash metal fans.
Highlights: Blackened, …And Justice For All, One, The Shortest Straw, Harvester Of Sorrow, The Frayed Ends Of Sanity, and Dyers Eve.
02. MASTER OF PUPPETS
Master of Puppets is a masterpiece of thrash metal, featuring iconic tracks like Battery and the title track. Probably the most polished, balanced, and consistant in their discography, Master Of Puppets helped out in soldifying the top spot for Metalica.
Highlights: The entire album.
01. RIDE THE LIGHTNING
Ride The Lightning is widely considered as one of Metallica’s best albums, featuring classics like Fade To Black, Creeping Death, and many more. The combination of speed, aggression, and unforgettable riffs make it not only the best Metallica album but one of the greatest metal albums of all time. It’s a true classic that still resonates with fans today and cements Metallica’s place in the pantheon of thrash metal legends.
Highlights: The entire album.