The heavy metal American band Metallica was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, California after James Hetfield responded to a local newspaper ad that was posted by Lars Ulrich. Featured in the current line up are Kirk Hammett, the band’s long time lead guitarist who joined in 1983, Ulrich, Hetfield and bassist Robert Trujillo, who joined in 2003. Notable past members include Dave Mustaine, former lead guitarist and founder of Megadeth, along with former bassists Jason Newsted, Cliff Burton and Ron McGovney. The band and producer Bob Rock have collaborated for a long time. From 1990 through 2003 Rock produced all of Metallica’s albums. He was also the band’s temporary bassist between Newsted leaving and Trujillo being hired.
The early releases of Metallica’s included aggressive musicianship, instrumentals and fast tempos and placed the group as one of thrash metal’s big four bands along with Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer as the genre developed and became popular. Metallica earned critical acclaim and a growing underground music fan base when they released “Master of Puppets” in 1986. The album has been described as one of the more influential heavy thrash metal sets. Their fifth self-titled album (also called “The Black Album”) brought the band substantial commercial success. It debuted on Billboard’s 200 chart at number one. The release saw the band beginning to expand their musical direction which resulted in music that appealed to more mainstream audiences.
Metallica in 2000 was one of the artists that filed a lawsuit on Napster due to the company sharing the copyright protected material of the band for free without their consent. Napster settled and the service became pay-to-use. “St. Anger,” despite reaching the top of Billboard’s 200 chart, alienated many of their fans due to the absence of any guitar solos and steel sounding snare drum. The documentary “Some Kind of Monster” followed Metallica’s recording process on “St. Anger” as well as the turmoil the band was experiencing at that time.
Over the course of their career Metallica has released 45 singles, 24 music videos, two EPs, three live albums and nine studio albums. Metallica has been awarded nine Grammys. The band has also had five albums in a row debut on Billboard’s 200 chart at number one, making them the first band ever to accomplish that feat. Dave Matthews later matched them. “Metallica,” their 1991 album, has sold more than 15 million U.S. copies as well as 22 million worldwide copies. In December 2009 “Metallica” became the SoundScan era’s best selling album, surpassing Shania Twain’s 1997 set “Come On Over.” Metallica has sold 100 million worldwide records. Their latest release is “Death Magnetic.”