Metallica is an American heavy metal band formed in October 1981. With 57 million albums sold in the United States, and 40 million albums sold outside the US, the total number of album sales is approximately 100 million.
The band has become one of the most commercially successful heavy metal acts in history, as well as the 18th biggest selling act in american music history.
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After building a following through its role in the development of modern heavy metal, especially thrash metal, (considered, along with Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax as one of the "big four" of thrash metal) in the mid-1980s, the band broadened its audience in the early 1990s. Accordingly, the band stood as the most commercially visible example of the metal genre for most of that decade.
In 2003 Metallica released their 8th studio album, entitled St. Anger, a collection of the most aggressive music they had written in a decade. Their 2004 "Madly in Anger with the World" tour in support of the album was extremely successful.
In 1991, the self-titled album, Metallica (popularly known as The Black Album) was a huge success for the band. It quickly became the band's most successful release, debuting at number one on the Billboard charts and going gold, then platinum, within weeks. The album featured the hit "Enter Sandman", which exemplified the radically pared-down style of songwriting across the album; it became Metallica's best-known song and has been used by wrestlers and baseball players as their theme music. Another hit was "Nothing Else Matters", a more plaintive, acoustic ballad. The album was a massive crossover hit, bringing Metallica firmly into the mainstream.
Metallica is listed at #5 on VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock".