Metallica Albums in Order

Metallica, a legendary heavy metal band, has a discography filled with numerous studio albums, live recordings, and compilations. Their albums, released over four decades, showcase the band’s musical evolution and prowess.

With over 125 million albums sold worldwide, including their iconic self-titled “Black Album” with over 30 million copies sold, Metallica have become one of the best-selling bands of all time.

As one of the key influences of thrash metal, their early albums like “Kill ‘Em All” and “Master of Puppets” shaped the genre and inspired countless bands. Their willingness to evolve and experiment led them to transition to a more mainstream sound, captivating a wider audience.

Metallica Albums Chronologically

Metallica has released a series of influential studio albums throughout their career, showcasing their groundbreaking talent in the world of heavy metal. Here’s a chronological list of Metallica’s studio albums, their release years, and some notable songs from each album:

  • Kill ‘Em All (1983) – Metallica’s debut album laid the foundation for their thrash metal sound; notable songs include “Seek & Destroy” and “Whiplash.”
  • Ride the Lightning (1985) – This sophomore effort expanded on their signature sound with tracks like “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “Fade to Black.”
  • Master of Puppets (1986) – Often considered Metallica’s magnum opus, this album boasts classics such as “Battery,” “Welcome Home (Sanitarium),” and “Master of Puppets.”
  • …And Justice for All (1988) – Marked by intricate compositions, standouts from this album include “One” and “Harvester of Sorrow.”
  • Metallica (The Black Album) (1991) – A commercial breakthrough with a more accessible sound, notable tracks feature “Enter Sandman,” “The Unforgiven,” and “Nothing Else Matters.”
  • Load (1996) – A stylistic departure from their earlier work, this record also contains popular songs like “Until It Sleeps” and “King Nothing.”
  • Reload (1997) – As a companion album to Load, Reload continues the band’s ventures into different styles with “Fuel” and “The Memory Remains.”
  • St. Anger (2003) – Known for its raw production, St. Anger includes tracks such as “Frantic” and “St. Anger.”
  • Death Magnetic (2008) – A return to more traditional Metallica heavy metal, with notable songs like “The Day That Never Comes” and “All Nightmare Long.”
  • Hardwired… to Self-Destruct (2016) – Their most recent studio album displays a mix of old-school and modern sensibilities in tracks like “Atlas, Rise,” “Hardwired,” and “Moth Into Flame.”
  • 72 Seasons (2023) – The most recent album they have released, it has been well-received by fans, which features the track “Screaming Suicide.”

The Evolution of Metallica’s Sound

Metallica’s music has evolved considerably since their formation in the early 1980s. Initially known for their thrash metal roots, each album reflects different phases of their musical journey and experimentation in the heavy metal genre.

In the beginning, albums like “Kill ‘Em All,” “Ride the Lightning,” and “Master of Puppets” were characterized by their aggressive thrash metal sound, blistering guitar solos, and heavy drum beats. As their career progressed, Metallica began to incorporate various styles and influences into their music.

“The Black Album” marked a departure from their previous sound, offering a more accessible heavy metal approach that gained them broader commercial success.

“The Load” and “Reload” era saw Metallica venturing into alternative rock territory, experimenting with different song structures and more diverse instrumentation. This period contributed to a more versatile and melodic sound, which allowed the band to explore various creative avenues.

In later years, Metallica’s sound seemed to come full circle with “Death Magnetic” and “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct.” These albums harked back to their thrash-heavy origins while incorporating more modern elements, displaying the band’s continued growth and maturity throughout their decades-spanning career.

Notable Live Albums, EPs, and Compilations

In addition to their remarkable studio albums, Metallica has an extensive non-studio album discography consisting of live albums, EPs, and compilations. Here are some notable releases:

  • The $5.98 E.P. – Garage Days Re-Revisited (1987) – This popular EP features Metallica covering songs by lesser-known bands that influenced their sound, including Killing Joke, Diamond Head, and Misfits.
  • Live Shit: Binge & Purge (1993) – As their first official live album, this release documents Metallica’s thrilling performances from the early 1990s, featuring classics from their early albums through The Black Album.
  • Garage Inc. (1998) –This compilation consists of two discs: the first contains a collection of cover songs recorded throughout their career, while the second reissue Garage Days Re-Revisited and other rare cover tracks.
  • S&M (1999) – A groundbreaking live album, S&M features Metallica’s collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony, conducted by Michael Kamen. This unique fusion of heavy metal and symphonic elements offers fresh interpretations of their notable tracks.
  • S&M2 (2020) – Twenty years after the original S&M, Metallica reunited with the San Francisco Symphony, this time under the baton of conductor Edwin Outwater. S&M2 revisits familiar arrangements from its predecessor, adds new orchestral renditions of more recent songs, and includes a couple of classical pieces.


As a strong powerhouse in the metal genre, Metallica’s extensive and diverse discography has firmly established them as a groundbreaking and influential force. It’s not just about their studio albums; Metallica’s electrifying live recordings, EPs, and captivating compilations showcase their unrivaled energy and eclectic influences.

With each new release, they fearlessly shatter boundaries and redefine what it means to be a metal legend. As they continue to push boundaries, Metallica remains to be unrivaled, leading the charge for all things loud, powerful, and unforgettable.

Metallica Featured Image by: Kreepin Deth, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons