Metallica are a rock band who have sold nearly 50 million albums according to Nielsen/Soundscan. Formed in 1981, Metallica have released eight studio albums, a live album, and an EP which was later expanded upon and made into a 2-CD set. Their first four albums, Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, and ...And Justice for All served to establish and then expand upon the thrash metal genre. Their next album, the self-titled "Black Album", employed fewer of these element in favor of a more straight ahead rock style; the album also launched the band into superstardom, debuting at number 1 on the Billboard 200 on its way to selling over 15 million copies.
Load, released in 1996, was the first half of an intended double album that got split up into two parts thanks to, among other things, the band's headlining of Lollapalooza that same year; the second half, Reload, followed in late 1997. These albums incorporated an even wider variety of styles into the Metallica sound, including bluesy elements. The next year saw the release of Garage, Inc, a 2-CD set of covers (One disc was new; the second was a re-release and expansion upon 1988's Garage Days Re-Revisited EP). In 1999 came the live album S&M, which featured Metallica backed up by the San Francisco Symphony.
A four-year hiatus followed, during which lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist James Hetfield went into rehab while the rest of the band searched for a replacement for departed bassist Jason Newsted. After settling on Robert Trujillo, the band released St. Anger in 2003. The album, on which the band took a more raw approach to recording, was controversial upon its release, with the sound of the drums being a particular hot spot amongst listeners. Their latest album, Death Magnetic, is due out on September 12th, 2008.