When listening to Metallica it's hard to imagine anyone other than James Hetfield behind the mic. While he might not be the most technically gifted singer, he more than makes up for it with his unbridled conviction and street-ready snarl. However, early in Metallica's career the frontman didn't have the confidence he exudes today, which almost led to another band member fronting the now legendary thrashers.

Before tracking their Kill 'Em All debut, the band was discussing the possibility of Lars Ulrich relieving Hetfield of lead vocal duties. "Lars and I planned a lot of stuff. But James wasn't the most confident of singers. I don't think he felt comfortable," the band's 1982 manager Jon "Jonny Z" Zazula told Metal Hammer (via TeamRock). Opening up all avenues, he went on to reveal, "At one point there was even talk of Lars becoming the frontman. For about five seconds."

Without Hetfield up front, Metallica may have never become the transcendental icons they are now. Their biggest commercial breakthrough, Metallica, otherwise known as "The Black Album," has netted platinum status over 16 times as certified by the RIAA. The record routinely makes its way into top-selling charts each week and is the third-highest selling hard rock / metal album of 2016.

The album has moved in excess of 90,000 copies this year alone, 25 years after its initial release. Only Disturbed's Immortalized and Megadeth's Dystopia have shifted more copies, 112,500 and 108,400 respectively (via Metal Insider). Closing in on 'The Black Album' is Deftones' newest, Gore, which sits at 80,400 and was released almost one month ago on April 8.

Also on the charts is Metallica's Master of Puppets, ...And Justice for All, Ride the Lightning at 58,200, 54,250 and 47,000 units sold this year respectively. The thrash kings have the chance to top all of these numbers this year as they prepare their long-awaited and highly-anticipated successor to 2008's Death Magnetic. Ulrich has stated the album is "mostly done," but until a definitive date is locked down, fans will have to continue to hold out hope for a 2016 release.

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