It could be said, for most people, that if tasked with naming a metal band, the first name that would come to mind would be Metallica.
As one of ‘The Big Four’ (alongside Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax) Metallica helped spearhead thrash metal. By taking the power of NWOBHM and supercharging it with punk influences, thrash quickly became one of the most popular subgenres of metal, catapulting Metallica to considerable popularity.
From 1983 to 1986, Metallica released three of the most influential thrash albums of all time in ‘Kill ‘em All’, ‘Ride the Lightning’, and ‘Master of Puppets’. However, with their next album (1988’s ‘…and Justice For All’), the band started to move beyond the boundaries of the sound they’d helped create. With more progressive and complex compositions, the band were able to demonstrate their talent beyond the specific elements of thrash metal.
As part of this new exploration into bigger concepts and compositions, Metallica produced possibly one of their greatest songs – ‘One’. With its powerful anti-war message, dramatic chorus, and now-iconic melody, ‘One’ continues to be ranked one of the greatest rock/metal songs of all time by various publications.
It was Metallica’s next move, though, that really cemented their status as one of the greats – their 1991 self titled album, famously known as ‘The Black Album’. With it, the band mostly left their thrash roots behind for a more traditional, mainstream heavy metal sound. While it may have alienated some older fans, The Black Album’s success was undeniable. The band saw enormous success and critical acclaim, and launched the band to a whole new level of recognition.
The number of songs from the album that not only are among Metallica’s most popular, but also among the most well known metal songs in history is astonishing.
By this point, Metallica has firmly established themselves as one of the greats, and in the subsequent thirty years they’ve only gotten bigger. As they’ve continued to expand their sound into hard rock, alternative metal, and more, they have continued touring the world to enormous crowds, with multiple generations of fans and a catalogue containing an obscene amount of iconic songs.
With a career coming up on four decades (and no sign of slowing down), Metallica have been immensely influential in heavy metal and hard rock, are considered one of the originators of thrash metal, and are responsible for some of the most popular metal songs in history.
At this point, it is an undeniable fact – Metallica are one of the biggest metal bands of all time, and that is why nobody else could be the 300th post.