The good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s time to rank every Metallica studio album (no live collections, and no collaborations!) in order from worst to best. You probably have a good idea how this list is going to play out… or do you?
This one was a given. Metallica’s songwriting hit an absolute low. The lyrics and this album are downright painful–take this line from ‘Frantic’ as an example: “My lifestyle determines my deathstyle.” Gross. And where are the guitar solos? Metallica, so set the trends, don’t follow them.
Chalk this one up to a disappointment, however, there are a few bright spots on this otherwise unspectacular album. ‘Fuel’ is fun. ‘King Nothing,’ while a complete rewrite of ‘Enter Sandman’ is catchy. The rest? Ugh. There are some questionable decisions on this album too…
…Like making it a two-part album. I think if you cut the crap from both of these albums, you could make one half-decent effort. Sure, it still would have pissed long-time fans off, but it would have at least featured better songs. I don’t care about the hair cuts, or about the fur coats–to me, the music is key. Here, the music wasn’t great.
Good songs, bad production. The guitar tones are so incredibly compressed that all the heaviness is sapped out of the songs. It’s frustrating considering tracks like ‘Cyanide,’ and ‘The Day That Never Comes,’ and ‘All Nightmare Long’ are great. If Metallica decided to re-record this album, I would be ecstatic!
Hardwired… To Self Destruct
There are five songs on this album I really like: ‘Hardwired,’ ‘Atlas Rise,’ ‘Now That We’re Dead,’ ‘Moth Into Flame,’ and ‘Spit Out The Bone.’ If Metallica had ditched the entire second disk besides ‘Spit,’ and added ‘Lords Of Summer,’ this would have been one of my favourite albums in their entire discography. However, despite some of the songs dragging on for too long, I can’t help but enjoy the great guitar work, and a return to form from vocalist James Hetfield.
Ride The Lightning
A lot of people would have this higher, I know. The album is a classic, but so are all the albums ahead of it on my list! Overall, this album set in motion what was to come for Metallica, and featured some of their best work. ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ will always be one of my favorites, while ‘Fade To Black,’ is legendary.
Kill ‘Em All
There’s something to be said about the raw energy featured on Kill ‘Em All. The songs are aggressive, electric, and simple. The message is clear: metal up your ass! This has to be the greatest debut album in metal history. The songs have stood the test of time, including the likes of ‘Seek and Destroy,’ and ‘The Four Horsemen.’
…And Justice For All
Metallica reached their musical peak on Justice. The songs are long, brooding, and extremely complex. The album spawned ‘One,’ arguably the best showcase for the band’s immense musical talent. ‘Blackened,’ is my favorite is my all-time favorite Metallica song, so there’s that too!
Ah yes, the controversial ‘black’ album. And yes, I ranked it above their the previous three albums. Why? Because this album re-defined a genre. It changed music forever, and whether you like it or not, it opened the door for so many bands that we would never have gotten otherwise. ‘Enter Sandman’ is the biggest metal song in history. The other singles–‘ Sad But True,’ ‘Unforgiven,’ ‘Wherever I May Roam,’ and ‘Nothing Else Matters’ –are all classics and live staples.
Master Of Puppets
Greatest album in metal history? Quite possibly. The title track is the song all metal bands aspire to write, while deeper cuts like ‘Disposable Heroes,’ and ‘Damage, INC.’ are true headbangers. The guitar solos are some of the best Kirk Hammett has ever written, James Hetfield’s lyrics are sharp, and Cliff Burton’s bass work is exceptional. ‘Master’ deserves all the praise, and then some more.