Best Metallica Albums

Metallica are one of most influential metal bands in history. They brought thrash metal to the mainstream and in the process became one of the biggest bands in the world. They went through multiple tragedies and personal issues ranging from the death of bassist Cliff Burton to James Hetfield's alcoholism to the general dysfunction chronicled in the documentary Some Kind Of Monster.

Through it all Metallica have persevered and continue making music. Here are our choices for the band's top six albums.

01
of 06

Master Of Puppets (1986)

Metallica's third album Master Of Puppets is their best, and one of the best metal albums, period. It doesn't have the radio singles and MTV videos as some of their later releases, but is a musical tour de force.

From the trademark thrash of "Battery" to the instrumental stylings of "Orion," it's a sound of a band on top of their game. The songs are diverse and the musicianship is simply incredible.

Master Of Puppets Track Listing:

Battery
Master Of Puppets
The Thing That Should Not Be
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Disposable Heroes
Leper Messiah
Orion
Damage, Inc.

02
of 06

Ride The Lightning (1984)

Metallica - Ride The Lightning
Metallica - Ride The Lightning.

Metallica's first album was groundbreaking, and Ride The Lightning, their second release, was another big step forward. Their songwriting improved dramatically, and they also expanded their musical horizons and the result was a much more diverse effort.

Some of the classics on this album include "Creeping Death," "Fade To Black" and "For Whom The Bell Tolls."

Ride The Lightning Track Listing:

Fight Fire With Fire
Ride The Lightning
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Fade To Black
Trapped Under Ice
Escape
Creeping Death
The Call Of Ktulu

03
of 06

Kill 'Em All (1983)

Metallica - Kill 'Em All
Metallica - Kill 'Em All.

Metallica's first album Kill 'Em All was raw, but showed the huge potential they would later fulfill. It is the seminal Bay Area Thrash album. Even though Dave Mustaine had been kicked out of the band by the time the album was recorded, he did co-write several of the songs.

Some of Metallica's best and most well-known songs like "Seek and Destroy" and "Hit The Lights" are from this album.

Kill 'Em All Track Listing:

Hit The Lights
The Four Horsemen
Motorbreath
Jump In The Fire
(Anesthesia)-Pulling Teeth
Whiplash
Phantom Lord
No Remorse
Seek & Destroy
Metal Militia

04
of 06

...And Justice For All (1988)

Metallica - And Justice For All
Metallica - And Justice For All.

Metallica's fourth studio album ...And Justice For All is the one that launched them into the mainstream. The video for the song "One" received extensive airplay on MTV, and "Blackened" was also a rock radio hit.

It's also their most musically complex album, utilizing unusual time signatures, orchestration and epic compositions.

...And Justice For All Track Listing:

Blackened
...And Justice For All
Eye Of The Beholder
One
The Shortest Straw
Harvester Of Sorrow
The Frayed Ends Of Sanity
To Live Is To Die
Dyers Eve

05
of 06

Metallica (The Black Album) (1991)

Metallica - 'Metallica'
Metallica - 'Metallica'.

Commercially The Black Album was Metallica's most successful album, with the hit singles "Enter Sandman," "Nothing Else Matters" and "The Unforgiven." It was a return to basics for the group, and it worked.  Of course, the commercial success caused a backlash as well.

The songs are more straightforward and less experimental than their previous couple albums, and that focus brought forth some outstanding songs.

Metallica (The Black Album) Track Listing:

Enter Sandman
Sad But True
Holier Than Thou
The Unforgiven
Wherever I May Roam
Don't Tread On Me
Through The Never
Nothing Else Matters
Of Wolf And Man
The God That Failed
My Friend Of Misery
The Struggle Within

06
of 06

Death Magnetic (2008)

Metallica - 'Death Magnetic'
Metallica - 'Death Magnetic'. Warner Brothers

Being that it was the follow-up to St. Anger, which along with Lulu is considered by most to be their worst album, expectation weren't very high for the Rick Rubin produced Death Magnetic.

Though there was controversy about the audio levels of the album, the actual songs were surprisingly good. Tracks like "The Day That Never Comes," "Cyanide," "My Apocalypse" and "All Nightmare Long" all received plenty of airplay and exposure in the band's live shows.

Death Magnetic Track Listing:

That Was Just Your Life
The End Of The Line
Broken, Beat & Scarred
The Day That Never Comes
All Nightmare Long
Cyanide
The Unforgiven III
The Judas Kiss
Suicide & Redemption
My Apocalypse