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Submitted by on Jul 14, 2021

Metallica is a heavy metal band from the United States. The band was founded in Los Angeles in 1981 by vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich and has spent most of its career in San Francisco. The band was one of the original “big four” bands of thrash metal, with Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer, thanks to their rapid tempos, instrumentals, and violent musicianship.

Hetfield and Ulrich, the band’s founding members and key composers, as well as longstanding lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo, make up Metallica’s current lineup. Former members of the band include guitarist Dave Mustaine (who went on to form Megadeth after being sacked from the band), bassists Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton (who died in a bus accident in Sweden in 1986), and Jason Newsted are former members of the band.

Metallica gained a growing fan base in the underground music scene and received critical praise for its first five albums. Master of Puppets, the band’s third album, was hailed as one of the hardest and most influential thrash metal albums of all time.

Metallica (1991), the band’s first album not rooted primarily in thrash metal, appealed to a broader audience, earning significant financial success and selling over 16 million copies in the United States to date, making it the best-selling album of the SoundScan period. After experimenting with various genres and directions on the following albums, the band returned to its thrash metal origins with the release of Death Magnetic (2008), which received comparable critical acclaim as the band’s previous albums. Hardwired… to Self-Destruct, their most recent album, was published in 2016.

Metallica spearheaded a lawsuit against the peer-to-peer file-sharing website Napster in 2000, in which the band and many other artists accused the service of spreading their copyright-protected content without permission; following a settlement, Napster became a pay-to-use service in 2003. Metallica was the subject of the critically praised 2004 documentary film Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, which chronicled the band’s tumultuous recording of their eighth album, St. Anger (2003), as well as the band’s internal strife at the time.

Metallica was enshrined in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. Metallica: Through the Never, a 2013 IMAX concert film in which the band performed live against a fictitious thriller narrative, was written by the band and starring them.

Metallica has released ten studio albums, four live albums, a cover album, five extended plays, 37 singles, and 39 music videos during the course of their career. From 23 nominations, the band has won nine Grammy Awards, and its past six studio albums (starting with Metallica) have all debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.

Metallica has sold over 125 million records globally as of 2018, making them one of the most commercially successful bands of all time. Magazines such as Rolling Stone have regarded Metallica as one of the best musicians of all time, placing them at number 61 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Metallica is the third best-selling music artist in the United States since Nielsen SoundScan began monitoring sales in 1991, with 58 million records sold.

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