Today, we're going to be ranking the albums of Metallica, who you may have heard of but if you didn't, are one of metal's all-time greats. Why do this, you ask? Mostly because it's fun to rank things and it's fun to get yelled at on the Internet.
Metallica was the first band I really listened to on my own. Load was my first cassette and I bought it (or had my mom buy it for me) because it had flame-looking things on the cassette case and I was 10. I grew up in Israel and didn't have proper access to the internet or music media until well into high school so as far as I knew, Metallica was just a button down, margarita sipping' rock band. This was my world view until I discovered the Blabbermouth.net comment sections and started getting called horrible names like "wenis." Discovering Metallica's thrash past was like learning my mom used to own a speedboat and kill people for money or nosebleed Styx tickets. But mom is still mom, hence, Load might have crept up a little higher than a few might agree with. Fair warning.
Anyway, on to the rankings!
Otherwise known as the Metallica Switches From Beer to SoCo album. Whatever fine line Load had managed to walk, Re-Load tripped over and barfed on itself. This is what Pantera might have sounded like if they had stuck together for another 10 years and started doing Ford commercials. The southern rock influences are just too much here, dragging whatever merit remains into the realm of strip club intro jams.
#8. Death Magnetic
Look, Death Magnetic is fine. There's really nothing wrong with it. It's perfectly well-produced, it's thrash-y-ish, and hey, Kirk is soloing again! But that was kind of all there was to it. It's a pure fan service from a band who, whatever you want to say about them post-Black Album, had gotten really good at pissing people off. Give me the Emperor Hetfield suing fans to the sound of a 300-man orchestra. Not this. Train wrecks can at least be fascinating. This is just boring. It took bigger balls to make Lulu.
#7. St. Anger
There are a lot of reasons to dislike this album. It sounds terrible, and not in a super kvlt black metal sort of way, and the songs themselves are mostly cringe-worthy dad takes on the aggro metal of the early 2000s. But if you've seen Some Kind of Monster, you know that this wasn't some deliberate attempt at aping something more commercially viable. It's the sound of men who never had to grow up suddenly confronted with their own imploding egos. It's a total mess but at least it's interesting, which is more than I can say for Death Magnetic.
#6. Kill Em All
This is a tricky one. Kill 'Em All is like a horny teen. Brimming with enthusiasm but a little clueless. It's historically significant, and for a debut this is a damn good album. It's just not a Metallica album. Not fully, anyway. For all it's ripping qualities, it's still dripping with NWOBHM tendencies, from the riffs (See: "Hit the Lights") to Hetfield's not-quite-yet-Hetfield vocals. A killer start but far from essential listening and the last "classic" album I would recommend to a newbie.
If you are one of the people who think (incorrectly) that grunge killed metal, then you probably hate this album. The opening strains of "Until it Sleeps," with its dreamy tones and slithery leads could easily have been picked up of Nirvana's cutting room floor and the tempo rarely rises above "unhurried woman picking vegetables at the grocery store." Still, for what it is—a rock album—it's actually pretty damn good. Great, even. And I'll take "Hero of the Day" over anything—ANYTHING—that Puddle of Mudd or Staind would put out just a few years later.
Rankings continue on the next page…