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Metallica: A Controversial Ranking

I do love me some Metallica, but not the same kind as most people. I prefer the groove-oriented or expansive sounds to that of the merciless thrash, though I do enjoy a fair share of that as well. Needless to say, my opinions are a little bit... different.
13Lou Reed and Metallica

Would one even call this a Metallica album? (Also, this is trash, but "Junior Dad" is gorgeous.)
St. Anger

This album is one hell of a (experiment?) mistake, which has a few solid efforts to bring it back to the basics before falling apart completely.
Kill 'Em All

The punk-thrash roots of Metallica are both invigorating and enjoyable, but it doesn't require repeated listens from the casual listener and mainly serves to highlight the ground-breaking work that comes later in their career.
...And Justice for All

Pushing the limits of thrash music, we can feel Metallica straining to break free of the limitations of the genre. There are a couple really good songs off of here, but their straight-up masterpiece "One" is what makes this album a real winner in the long run.
Death Magnetic

Trying to go all the way back to the thrash without being able to stop their experimental roots, Metallica ends up with a whole bunch of good thrash songs, some great thrash-grooves, and the beautiful "Unforgiven III," which highlights their musical evolution more than anything before.

Still swinging from the previous "Load," this one takes a more alternative approach. The southern-styled tracks are more filler than before, but the ones that go against the grain are just as strong this time around.
Master of Puppets

The widely considered godfather of modern metal seems in my eyes to vary little from "Ride the Lightning," similar riffs, similar ideas, and nearly exact track placement, it's no doubt that this is a great album, but not as much a classic as the previous in my eyes.
Hardwired... to Self-Destruct

Taking back to the more old school, Metallica takes their 80s thrash and 90s grooves and ties them together to make an extremely solid, if occasionally redundant, metal record.
Garage Inc.

Easily the most varied of any Metallica album, they go from thrashy punk to twangin' country covers without ever missing a step.

It took Metallica in an obviously controversial direction, but the brutal southern-rock grooves coupled with the colossal emotion of "The Outlaw Torn" and "Bleeding Me," every song keeps the toes tapping and the heads banging.
Ride the Lightning

Thrash Metallica at its finest, blending blistering riffs with elegant classical-styled compositions and just plain flat-out creativity, everyone can win with this one.

The brilliant addition of an orchestra to metal music causes the most full-sounding music ever put out by Metallica. Nearly every song on here is enhanced by this performance.

Combines the heavy nature of Metallica with more organic, experimental sounds, dispensing thrash to create a more expansive and emotional sound that also ended up being more radio-friendly. And who were they to argue?
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