Metallica are by far the most commercially successful of any of the 'Big 4' thrash bands, and are in fact one of the most successful bands in metal or any other genre. Their lineup has also been pretty stable with James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich there from the beginning and Kirk Hammett on board since the recording of their debut album Kill ‘Em All.

The band has had a few different bassists. After the tragic death of Cliff Burton in 1986, Jason Newsted took over and was in the band for 15 years. Robert Trujillo replaced him in 2003. Even producer Bob Rock held down the low end at one point, playing on 2003‘s St. Anger.

After a flurry of albums early in their career, Metallica’s output slowed to a trickle. They returned in a big way in 2016 with Hardwired ... To Self-Destruct. In the ranking above, we're sticking to proper studio albums. That means releases like Garage Inc., S&M and Lulu (a collaboration with Lou Reed) are not included.

Click through the gallery below to see how we’ve ranked Metallica’s albums!

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