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Metallica Discography

Updated on May 11, 2011

Metallica - Early Days Discography

Metallica formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, California, is undoubtadly one of the most influential and by far the most succesful metal band of all time. Their early style was pure thrash metal, with an emphasis on epic guitar riffs and ear splitting solos. James Hetfield, the singer, wasn't afraid to belt out the often angry, no holds barred lyrics. What started as small garage band from LA has turned into an international, million dollar machine that, as of 2011, shows no signs of slowing down.

Metallica is one of the pioneering thrash metal bands that slowed themselves down as they aged, their lyrics and "sound" becoming less metal and more rock. Diehard early Metallica fans claim that they just aren't what they used to be. But no one can deny that even the most modern Metallica features regular bouts of musical genius.

This Metallica Discography features their first four albums, often refered to as their early days. Quick summaries are provided, as are song lists.

Kill Em All

KILL 'EM ALL was Metallica's first studio album, and one that would firmly cement Metallica into the history of music.
KILL 'EM ALL was Metallica's first studio album, and one that would firmly cement Metallica into the history of music.

Kill Em All - Song List

  1. Hit The Lights (4:17)
  2. The Four Horsemen (7:13)
  3. Motorbreath (3:08)
  4. Jump in The Fire (4:42)
  5. (Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth (4:15)
  6. Whiplash (4:10)
  7. Phantom Lord (5:02)
  8. No Remorse (6:26)
  9. Seek & Destroy (6:55)
  10. Metal Militia (5:10)

Kill 'Em All has been called Metallica's fastest album, with brain splitting solos and classic riffs that are remembered and respected to this day. Kill 'Em All had a low production budget, leading to what some would call a "tin can" style of sound. Regardless, the sound remains popular even as the album closes in on the thirty year old mark.

Kill 'Em All featured James Hetfield on lyrics and rythm guitar, Kirk Hammett on lead guitar, Cliff Burton on bass, and Lars Ulrich on drums. Dave Mustaine of Megadeth was fired before Kill 'Em All was recorded, but did receive writing credits on The Four Horsemen, Jump in The Fire, Phantom Lord, and Metal Militia. Also featured on Kill 'Em All is Seek & Destroy, the song that Metallica is currently using to close their concerts.

Ride The Lightning

Ride The Lightning
Ride The Lightning

Ride The Lightning - Song List

  1. Fight Fire With Fire (4:45)
  2. Ride The Lightning (6:36)
  3. For Whom The Bell Tolls (5:09)
  4. Fade to Black (6:57)
  5. Trapped Under Ice (4:04)
  6. Escape (4:24)
  7. Creeping Death (6:36)
  8. The Call of Ktulu (8:53)

Ride The Lightning is Metallicas second studio album, featuring the same blisteringly fast riffs and solos of Kill 'Em All. Also featured are longer, more intricately detailed songs, as well as Dave Mustaines last writing credits. Initially, four hundred copies of Ride The Lightning were printed incorrectly, the color being green instead of blue. Today, original green copies are hard to find and expensive to aquire.

The production value of Ride The Lightning is noticeably better than Kill 'Em All, featuring richer sound, completely eliminating the "tin can" sound of the first album. Ride The Lightning was a critical success for Metallica, featuring both trash metal and softer sounds (such as Fade to Black). The softer music expanded their fanbase considerably.

Master of Puppets

Master of Puppets
Master of Puppets

Master of Puppets - Song List

  1. Battery (5:11)
  2. Master of Puppets (8:34)
  3. The Thing That Should Not be (6:35)
  4. Welcome Home (Sanitarium) (6:26)
  5. Disposable Heroes (8:16)
  6. Leper Messiah (5:38)
  7. Orion (8:25)
  8. Damage, Inc (5:30)

Master of Puppets has been called Metallicas greatest achievement. Critics have called Master of Puppets one of, if not the best metal album ever released. For many fans, new and old alike, Master is considered their best album to date, with lightning fast riffs and solos, as well as a new found complexity not seem in the first two albums.

Master of Puppets would be the last album that Cliff Burton would be featured on, he died in 1986 in a bus accident in Sweden. Metallica wasn't sure if they wanted to continue or disband, ultimately deciding that Cliff would have been disappointed if they had called it quits. Jason Newstead would be Metallicas new bassist following Master of Puppets.

...And Justice For All

...And Justice For All
...And Justice For All

And Justice For All - Song List

  1. Blackened (6:41)
  2. ...And Justice For All (9:46)
  3. Eye of The Beholder (6:29)
  4. One (7:24)
  5. The Shortest Straw (6:35)
  6. Harvester of Sorrow (5:45)
  7. The Frayed Ends of Sanity (7:41)
  8. To Live is to Die (9:49)
  9. Dyers Eve (5:13)

...And Justice For All would be Metallicas first album without bassist Cliff Burton. It would also become known as their "album with no bass". New bassist Jason Newstead was being heavily hazed by his new band mates at the time, so much so that they turned his bass down so much that it's nearly inaudible. To make up for this, the guitars were layered multiple times, creating the crunched, scoopy sound that the guitars have become known for.

Justice is known for its darker lyrical themes, as well as increased complexity compared to Metallicas earlier albums. For songs with no bass, they are remarkably heavy.

Early Metallica Legacy

The first four Metallica albums are often considered the heaviest, with things turning more "rock" and less "metal" as the years progressed. With their newest album, Death Magnetic, Metallica returned to a heavier sound in some of their sounds, bringing back their legendary solos and classic riff style. Despite this, however, the album still fell flat for many "old sound" fans, who continue to ask for a return to the thrash days.

The early Metallica sound continues to provide inspiration to new and seasoned musicians alike, and it's no secret that lots of people learn a Metallica song as their "first". New thrash metal bands continue to pop up, their sound heavily influenced by early Metallica. How long will classic Metallica continue to remain at the top? No one can know for sure. But nearly thirty years later, Kill 'Em All continues to provide audio entertainment to millions of new metal heads all around the world.


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