Greatest Metallica Albums

Vote for your favourite Metallica album. This includes live, cover and EPs.
The Top Ten
1 Ride the Lightning

Metallica at its finest. It still had a tiny bit of Dave Mustaine influence and Cliff Burton shows great musicianship as well. As overrated as Kirk is, joining the band really helped Metallica find their style towards this release. Plus he brought a couple Exodus riffs, which gave songs like Creeping Death and Trapped Under Ice that much more of an edge. The entire album passes by seamlessly, with a constant duration of excellence, while Master of Puppets tends to be overindulgent. Before you vote for MoP, just remember that this album completely laid out its blueprint, making Ride the Lightning more unique in its own right.

At the time It was easy to Crown Master Of Puppets as the King of Metallica's Discography. Looking back on it though, It's a close horse race between Ride The Lightning and Master Of Puppets. Ride The Lightning is just a little better, Even though these are Flawless albums we're talking about. Ride The Lightning just sits in the Perfect spot between the Shrill, Speed and Fury of Kill 'Em All and the Heavy Polished Master Of Puppets. The best of both worlds.

Battery > Fight Fire With Fire

Master Of Puppets > Ride The Lightning

For Whom The Bell Tolls > The Thing That Should Not Be

Fade To Black > Welcome Home (Sanitarium)

Trapped Under Ice > Disposable Heroes

Leper Messiah > Escape

Orion > The Call Of Ktulu

Creeping Death > Damage Inc.

If you didn't keep up, That is Tied. Sure The Title Track Master Of Puppets is miles ahead of Lightning's but For Whom The Bell Tolls is Miles Ahead of The Thing That ...more

Ride The Lightning is the first Metallica album I listened to and it remains my favourite. I bought it along with Master of Puppets when I first started getting into Metallica. This album got me into metal and I still believe that thrash metal is the greatest thing on earth. Ride The Lightning took everything Kill 'Em All did and turned it up to 11. It has a lot of texture from its slow, anthemic songs like Fade To Black to its face-melting, lead poisoning thrash metal monster tracks like Trapped Under Ice and the title track. Ride The Lightning is truly one of the greatest albums of all time.

More polished than Kill 'Em All. Rawer than Master of Puppets. Ride the Lightning brings all the best elements of their 80's catalogue into a timeless album.

Personally, it's was a tough pick when you consider the stretch of quality releases they had in the 80's (including... And Justice for All). However, invariably Ride the Lightning stands out with it's consistent quality track list and close link (only beaten by Kill 'Em All) to thrash.

Ride the Lightning is a landmark in metal history and stands on the shoulders of it's close predecessor and successor.

2 Master of Puppets

Master of Puppets was to 80's metal what Paranoid was to 70's metal. Like that album, every song here has meaning. I like to think the album has a continuing theme of war and its effects. Almost like a full album dedicated to the subjects of For Whom the Bell Tolls on Ride the Lightning or One on And Justice For All. Disposable Heroes is obviously about forgotten soldiers. The title track is about drugs, something in which many a soldier has tried. Sanitarium is obviously about insanity. This could quite obviously refer to PTSD or other mental disorders associated with war. Maybe this isn't the album's intention but for me it makes it more enjoyable. Even if you don't agree with me, we must acknowledge its brilliance. Cliff Burton was never better on bass. I.e. Orion. But as a whole the band works great. After and justice for all the band could never recover what they created.

Metallica at their very best and where they finally worked together as a rare and unique whole. The pinnacle of songwriting and technique for them. Just look at 'Orion', 'Welcome Home Sanitarium' and the titular track for songwriting. For heaviness, 'The Thing That Should Not Be' and for riffs, the bridge in 'Damage Inc. ' (at 3:14) is arguably their most accomplished riff. Not to mention the groove that follows when the drums come in. And for solos 'Disposable Heroes' is where Hammett took his playing to the next level. The intensity just keeps building and building.

Their greatest album. Period.

There is no denying that "Ride The Lightning" was sphincter puckering upon first listen but "Master Of Puppets" flushed our systems. This album changed everything that had to do with metal and paved the way for every heavy band that came after. The production was crisp and the songwriting was precise. It became the perfect thrash opus and made millions for denim and leather retailers. Let's not forget that this was Cliff's (RIP) swansong album and what a legacy he left behind. There are only a handful of albums that truly define thrash metal and this is certainly one of them.

This is literally the best album EVER! Every single song on here is five stars. Battery has an awesome intro and is so heavy and awesome. MoP is the best song ever. The Thing that Should Not Be is the heaviest song ever. Sanitarium starts out slow and gets heavy and awesome later. Leper Messiah is my least favorite, but it is still great. Orion is an amazing epic. Disposable Heroes is so fast and awesome, and I love how criticizes the military system. Damage Inc. Is a great closing and the chorus is awesome. AMAZING ALBUM!

3 ...And Justice for All

This album gets labelled as near-prog too often. Just because you abuse song lengths by stretching riffs and vocal lines to the max to waste time, it does not make it progressive. Many people, whenever they see a song is 7-9 minutes, are led to the misconception that it has multiple different sections, even if it obviously just an overgrown verse-chorus song. Short acoustic intros (title track) can also fool people. Only Blackened has more structure compared to its length apart from One, but is not any more complex than your average 6-minute thrasher. The title track and The Frayed Ends of Sanity are the same song two times with a solo in between.

I get why this is below Ride and Master - because they had bass and this doesn't. Go look up this album on YouTube with the bass tracks enhanced...your opinion will completely change. It ends up being just as heavy as Master, just as powerful as Ride, and with a whole new level of complexity no other Metallica album has. Really goes to show how much of a difference the bass can make!

"One", "Blackened", and "Dyers Eve" are my favorite songs on this album. "One" is an absolute masterpiece, beginning with a beautiful intro and then building up throughout the song, finally exploding at the end with Kirk's magnum opus solo. "Blackened" has the aggression found on Master, and "Dyers Eve" is a truly powerful and technical closer.

... And Justice For All is such amazing: the first album I have ever bought of Metallica was Master of Puppets, than I have had Ride The Lightning and then Kill 'Em All with this masterpiece. So it was the third album I've heard. I almost know the songs, but when I listened them on the cd, I thought that that album was such fantastic.
The list for me should be this:
1... And Justice For All
2. Master of Puppets
Yeah, I appreciate Ride The Lightning more than this album, but here the instruments has evolved, especially the bass guitar.
3. Ride The Lightning
4. Kill 'Em All
5. Black Album
6. Death Magnetic
7. ReLoad
8. St. Anger
9. Load

To live is to die is their best instrumental by far and away.
Blackened brings intense energy to start off the album.
One is without a doubt one of the best metal songs ever written.
Frayed Ends of Sanity and Dyers Eve are the two most underrated songs in Metallica's discography.

Death Magnetic is a good album but I feel like it's Metallica's attempt to cover Metallica. It seems to me that they tried to recreate song structure similar to this albums. There's no way it could be better than the original.

4 Metallica (Black Album)

Kind of surprised tat this is down at 4th. One key characteristic of this album is every song sounds different. This was not the case in some of their earlier albums. And Justice For All is most guilty of this as all songs on it sound the same except with different lyrics and slightly altered rhythm, with the exception of One.

Their black album generated not only some of their best songs, but the highest quantity of great songs from one album, beginning with their opener, Enter Sandman. Then comes Sad But True, Holier Than Thou, The Unforgiven, Wherever I May Roam, Through the Never, and Nothing Else Matters.

Some people say that this is not a good album and that it was just more radio-friendly, but as someone who owns all Metallica studio albums (except St. Anger, because let's just forget about that), their black album is still my favorite because they focus on the rhythm of their songs rather than making them fast and thrashy. Now don't get me wrong, I love thrash ...more

People hate on it because it's not as "Thrash" but it's still an awesome album and my favorite Metallica song (Unforgiven) came off this album. I love this album to be honest and it was so heavy and the songs had so much meaning put into them. Enter Sandman is the song that got me into Metallica in the first place, however I like more than just this album so don't call me a "fake Metallica fan" I like the first 4 albums too as well as their later albums c:

Simply the best Metallica album I've ever heard, the lyrics are great, drums and guitar rhythms so nice. Try to listen the intro of wherever I may roam and listen to the beating of the drums haha so cool.. Master of puppets,... And justice for all and ride the lightning are great albums but the black or I may say the snake album is the greatest Metallica ever...

I really appreciate lots of its songs, and Sad But True is one of my favorite! I think this album has lots of qualities, like the heavy sound of some songs, the speed of songs like Wherever I May Roam and Holier Than Thou. The sound has changed from the three albums of Cliff Burton, and also from the Justice album, but Jason has his best performance in this album!

5 Kill 'Em All

Though I like this album, I'm sorry fans of the debut but Ride The Lightning is a COLOSSAL step up. Kill Em All is good, and is possibly the most atmospheric album they've made which I love it for, but it's problem is this: all the songs are tooaalike, they aren't adventurous. It's like Metallica came along and thought "we'll make an album to establish our sound " but not to blow everyone away or experiment. I know they're completely different but just as an example: when Linkin Park made their first studio album, straight away they thought you know what, we're gonna take the world by storm, every song is gonna be unique and blow people away, and they did it and that's why Hybrid Theory is huge. But Kill Em All is the opposite, the songs just aren't standout enough. Don't get me wrong, this album is good, it's dark and really atmospheric, but in terms of skill and bringing the elements together then Ride The Lightning is WAY better. Just compare Fade To Black from Ride The Lightning ...more

This list is the worst joke on the internet! Kill 'em All is the greatest thing to be produced by Metallica through their entire career! (2. Ride The Lightning 3. Master of Puppets 4... And Justice for All)
you will get to listen to greatest thrash metal solos on this album, you will find Hetfield doing his best vocal job here and obviously Cliff's greatest bass tracks!

So, why its not no. 1?
I guess you people are voting albums on the basis of their popularity! That's just unfair! Come on, vote KeA up!

My friend brought this album over when I was 14 (1985) and after listening I was never the same. Shortly after we saw Metallica on their RTL tour in a small venue playing with Armored Saint and W.A.S.P. My ears are still ringing. Anyway, this is number one for me because of 'Hit the Lights' 'Four horsemen' and 'Whiplash' which are the pinnacle of thrash for me. Maybe not #1 here because it is so old. Should be #3 at minimum. Admittedly, KEA, RTL and MOP are very close and all great.

With hits like the four horsemen, seek and destroy, hit the lights, and whiplash this album is the best in terms of classic metallica. James Hetfeild's voice is the best on kill 'em all and Dave killed tons of great guitar solos. Cliff Buttons work on bass stands as greatness especially with pulling teeth on the album, flat out the greatest metallica album and possibly the greatest metal album ever.

6 Death Magnetic

This definitely doesn't deserve sixth. This is better than that by far. We call ourselves true Metallica fans and then we just keep listening to their old music. This album should be fourth at least. Yes, master of puppets and black are better, but this album deserves better. In fact, this is one album where the songs are consistently amazing. In ride the lightning, there are some divine ones, but some that are not great. Here, almost every song is divine. I can bet my life, if cyanide, the day that never comes, judas kiss, all nightmare long, suicide and redemption, broken, beat and scarred, unforgiven 3, my apocalypse were in and justice for all, these songs would be worshipped. But no, we have this narrow view that Metallica is no longer the band that used to be. And this is where we fail them as fans.

Brilliant album from start to finish. If only fans didn't have this insular view that "old Metallica is good, new Metallica is bad", many would realize what an incredible album this is. All Nightmare Long, Broken, Beat & Scarred, The Day That Never Comes, My Apocalypse and That Was Just Your Life could EASILY be solid tracks on any of Metallica's first four (in fact, had they actually been on those albums, people would love these tracks a lot more) and the rest are by no means weak. Please revisit the album before voting; it's easy to forget how impressive this album when all the chatter's about their first four.

New Metallica is not always bad. If you compare between Enter Sandman and All Nightmare Long. It has same greatness and between The Day That Never Comes and Nothing Else Matters. It just same as great. In this album, they bring Black Album sound, St. Anger power and some of Master Of Puppets sounds. Yeah, just like the Re-Born of Metallica. And why Load is so high? Never listened The House Jack Built and Ronnie? Fuel and Dirty Window are better than that and these album (including DM) deserve higher than Load.

My Top Ten:
1. Ride The Lightning
2. Death Magnetic
3... And Justice For All
4. Master Of Puppets
5. Black
6. St. Anger
7. Reload
8. Load

This album is so important to metallica... After 20 years, the kings of thrash metal were back!
Also this albums have the best solos overall. U3, TDTNC, my apocalypse, etc, kirk just shows why he is considered one of the best guitarists of all time. Also James solo in suicide & redemption proves that the riff machine can do great solos.
Here are my grades for each song on the album
-that was just your life (9/10)
-the end of the line (8.5/10)
-broken, beat & scared (7.5/10)
-the day that never comes (10/10)
-all nightmare long (10/10)
-cyanide (9.5/10)
-the unforgiven III (9.5/10)
-the judas kiss (8/10)
-suicide & redemption (9.5/10)
-my apocalypse (9/10)
Now my personal favorite metallica albums
1- master of puppets (all time best album with wish you were here) (10.5/10)
2- death magnetic (I explained everything) (9/10)
3- ride the lightning (amazing songs but... escape is just bad) (9/10)
4- and justice for all (amazing songs like ...more

7 Load

I think this album has gotten better retrospectively and is much better understood as well. While it does have some weak areas at times, the album has aged quite well. Keep in mind that this was released during the mid 1990s, when Thrash Metal became weak commercially and critically. And before the term "sellout" comes into play, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer all tried something musically different during the time Metallica released Load and Reload. In fact, Metallica, alongside Pantera did its best in keeping Metal relevant during a time when Grunge music started to take over.

Load really is a fantastic album. The reception of this album when it was released became such a bizarre cultural phenomenon., Fans issued very strong and oddly passionate opinions on how Metallica somehow betrayed them or how they sold out because they changed it up a bit and got haircuts. Load is the logical successor to the Black album. It's amusing to me that nobody saw this coming.

Load has stood up remarkably well 20+ years later, call it whatever you want -- metal, hard rock, alternative -- it doesn't matter what it is; it's an album only Metallica could create. Load and Reload have some of the finest guitar sounds in their entire discography. The production is fantastic and no other albums, have those rich, deep, heavy tones like Load does. Even Reload was a bit thinner in places.

The songs are much more fleshed out, sometimes too much so, but it's a picture of a now matured and life wearied group who commited to new ideas and directions but still keep their ...more

The roots of this music. Simple as that. A truly masterpiece, a diamond record. Metallica knows how to be great songwriters there is variety, simplicity, incredible melodies and rhythms. Lyrics full of meaning. A record that you are able to find sabbath - skynyrd - grudge - hendrix and other more. People were unfair to this album. This is not a mop or justice or even a black album. This is sth else and you should estimate it with its own terms. A wonderful example why metallica are huge musicians and not just metallheads, sth that we are able to see also to other musical creation such as lulu snm garage inc and of course reload itself. A BAND WITH BALLS

I don't understand why this album is this low on the list, as well as Reload. This is definitely a change from their more heavy music, but it's still full of feeling. The melodies are great, the guitars are spectacular and the guys have taken a more bluesy approach to their playing. Lars is on par as well. The lyrics are meaningful and I believe that it shows just how great Metallica's songwriting skills are. This is overall a fantastic album with a more blues-influenced style and is very underrated.

8 Hardwired... to Self-Destruct

Basically, it's the black album but more Megadeth-like with songs like Here Comes Revenge, Atlas Rise, and Murder One which seem to remind me of songs from Countdown to Extinction. There are also a few good thrash songs like Hardwired, Moth into Flame, and Spit out the Bone, with the speed and aggression of Kill Em All along with the sound of Death Magnetic but with better production. There are some disappointments such as Now That We're Dead, Confusion, ManUNKind, and Am I Savage? , but a few other great ones like Dream No More which sounds a little groovy and dark compared to the other songs, and then there's Halo on Fire which is ok, but not that great of a ballad.

I like how they did things a little differently, like adding two sides, making the ballad the 6th track instead of the fourth, and no instrumentals, but the problem is it just doesn't feel that much like a classic Metallica album like the 80s albums, and Death Magnetic is probably better even though the production ...more

Metalica's best album sonically since the Black Album, their best album musically since Justice. Every song on here has different roots, you can hear some old school Thrash riffs and solos reminiscint of the Kill/Ride/Master days, in songs like Hardwired, Atlas! Rise, and Halo on Fire, and songs like Spit Out The Bone just have Justice written all over them (sounds a lot like Dyers Eve! ). Now That Were Dead, Confusion, and Here Comes Revenge are three songs that I could see fitting perfectly on the Black Album, and there are even some traces of the Load/ReLoad Days, good traces, very good traces, in songs like Am I Savage? and Man Unkind. My favorite song on here is Moth Into Flame, which combines all of the best sounds from all of the different eras of Metallica and brings em into one awesome track! This is an amazing album, and if you get the Deluxe Version you get so many other cool 2016 live tracks of Kill/Ride songs, and some covers.

Great album overall with some killer songs! Spit out the bone has to be one of the greatest metallica songs ever made and time will make it a classic. Accompanied with Atlas rise, moth into flame etc it is awesome. Some tracks make me feel dissatisfied with being too repetitive and plain for metallica's standards like manunkind and murder one. I feel it fell short of the greatness of death magnetic and some of the old classics but overall it is a master piece!

To be honest, Death Magnetic is probably going to be better than this album. Hardwired, Moth into Flame, and Atlas Rise are all great, but they're only better than some of the songs from Death Magnetic, and other songs from that album including Broken Beat & Scarred, The Day that Never Comes, All Nightmare Long, The Judas Kiss, Suicide & Redemption, and My Apocalypse are all better.

9 Reload

ReLoad is my personal favourite. The album has everything except thrash, but that is perfectly fine. There is no song in this album I don't like which is why I think this album is excellent as a whole. I also like Metallica's earlier albums, mainly because they contain my favourite songs by them, but they contain also some songs I dislike. This is the best album as an entity.

I came to this site and to this site to only give my opinions about this album of perfection.
Reload is SO atmospheric, even creepy by some songs (Fixxxer, The Memory Remains)
fast-paced (Attitude, Fuel) or just fantastic music and melodies (Carpe Diem Baby, Low Man's Lyric)
If you love Reload as much as I do, you understand what I meant back there.
Without a doubt, the BEST Metallica album EVER.

I have no idea why this album consistently ranks low on lists. It's a solid album from opener to closer, and even the slowest song (Low Man's Lyrics) has more balls than the second half of Load. For my listening pleasure, this album is basically Black part II, and Load, with the exception of the first 5 tracks, can fall off.

Yeah it came after, but this album is better than Load hands down. Why is it 8th while load is 7th? The only song I even liked of that album was King Nothing, while in this album you've got Fuel, Unforgiven 2, and the memory remains?

10 Garage, Inc.

Another good album, and probably their last good one. Their remake of turn the page needs more recognition. So what is another good song, it's also has probably the most tasteless lyrics, but yeah a good song.

This is simply the easiest Metallica Album to listen to from start to finish. Every song on the record is awesome!

Metallica can make any song sound great.

Mercyful fate is awesome!

The Contenders
11 St. Anger

This is album is heavy and aggressive. It is soo underrated because it is way different than any other Metallica album. But the guitars are incredibly heavy and tuned way down and the drums are amazing. Lars made the right choice with his drum tone since it works and had to be that way to be heard. I really like this album and like it more and more as I've gotten older.

If I am a music teacher I would give this album a "B" and I think this album is pretty well and it's very different because when you think about snare drums, no guitar solos and rage you think about the oldschool Slipknot but the right though is Metallica's St. Anger

Actually you people have to chill and listen to it because if Metallica did the same old what they always do (I am actually a oldschool Metallica fan) it would be more! And ok this album could have the terrible snare drums and I really waited for some guitar solos but it's really masterpiece and I swear Metallica did this album good this album is for me #6

Musically this album is very different. Not their best, but it deserves recognition; however, it's horrendously underrated. Songs like Frantic and St. Anger are great. Besides, this record emotionally is really good - the result of years of decay, alcohol, and the bassist leaving the band. It results in lyrics like "if I could have my wasted days back, would I use them to get back on track? " that are good.

This is the worst album ever made in history. It's true, just everything about this album is crappy, disgusting, and unbearable. It would actually be better if Lulu were 11th on the list instead of St Anger, because this is 5 times worse. I mean it, I would rather listen to the entire Lulu album than listen to one minute of this album and especially the song St Anger, that's the crappiest song ever made.

12 S&M

This is most of the best Metallica songs stuck onto one album in the best recordings of most of them ever with one of the best orchestral pieces ever written by any composer, props to the now passed Michael Kamen for what he managed to achieve with Metallica here.

The orchestra sound so awesome in the back.
metal and classical together who would've thunk it eh?

A match made in heaven.

No leaf clover is better than any of their songs since load age

13 Beyond Magnetic

Best EP ever! I am so damn surprised that these songs weren't on DM. This was a great recovery after Lulu; oh god that album made me want to hang myself. I kinda felt like this EP was Metallica's answer to the ticked off fans that listened to Lulu (since this EP was released about a month after that album). But yeah awesome awesome greatness of an EP!

They should've made it a follow up to Death Magnetic instead of an EP. Because the songs that didn't make the cut for Death Magnetic (for some reason) are very cool. It would be like Load and Reload, But better.

Just got this EP... And it's safe to say it's a beast! I can't believe these weren't on death magnetic! My favorites in descending order are as follows:
Hate train
Rebel of babylon
Hell and back
Just a bullet away

This is a good album I like it better than death magnetic they should have recorded two new songs and they could have made it a studio album.

14 Live S***: Binge & Purge

How is this way down here? The Seattle video in paticular is my favorite live album of all time... by anyone! The only complaint I have against it is that the setlists from the 3 concerts are remarkably similar. Could have tried to throw in a few different ones on for each show (Hit the Lights, Fight Fire with Fire, Disposable Heroes, Damage Inc, Phantom Lord, No Remorse-all great songs that don't appear on this album)

Seattle 89' was absolutely amazing. Amazing set, crowd was into it, Tallica at their best.

An awesome live album.

Live in Seattle 1989...

15 Garage Days Re-Revisited
16 Through the Never (Music from the Motion Picture)

I think it's great! Many of my favorite songs. And good quality!

17 72 Seasons

This is a good album if you're open minded and think for yourself.

Best album in 30 years!

18 No Life 'Til Leather

The humble beginnings of Metallica are apparant on this great tape. Even as demo, it sounds awesome! Dave Mustaine killed it on the guitar.

19 S&M2
20 Quebec Magnetic
21 Cunning Stunts

Come on guys, This is badass! It deserves to be higher on this list

22 Some Kind of Monster

A good Live album. Has an edited version of Some Kind of Monster, which was better than the original, and six good songs from the original three albums. The worst track out of the live ones was Leper Messiah, and I still enjoyed it.

Lets do everything it takes to make Lulu last! Some Kind of Monster is actually a really good song, and probably my favorite on St. Anger

Wasn't it a documentary?

23 Lulu

I'm amongst the minority who think this album is actually pretty cool. Being a fan of Lou Reed and the Velvets as well as Metallica, I think the album achieves its purpose. It's a conceptual collaboration between groundbreaking musicians more than it is an album. Metallica churn up a wall of sound with some pretty wicked noise as the background to Lou's rambling.I don't find myself coming to it regularly, but here or there if I'm in the mood for it I'll throw it on and listen until I get tired of it. It's not a Metallica album. I've always seen it as a Lou thing.

I wanted to have all Metallica's albums, despite the fact that I found St Anger and Reload very dissapointing, I still bought them and kept them... this however was where I drew the line, no way was I paying money for this!

I agree with the guy below, this is the worst thing in the metal history that could ever been made, and for the ones that didn't know, this was NOT MADE BY Metallica, it was a colaboration with Lou Reed.

Actually, this is more of a Lou Reed album. The only parts Metallica worked on were compositions of the songs. Lou Reed wrote all of the lyrics and did composition work.

24 Presidio Album

Listened to Temptation, worst song ever. Didn't even make it to St. Anger.

25 Power Metal
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