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Metallica, one of the world's most legendary metal bands, was formed at the end of 1981. In the beginning, they were living in Los Angeles, until they moved to the legendary Bay Harbor area of San Francisco in 1982. The Bay Area became thrash metal's pioneering city, and it's no wonder that bands like Testament, Exodus and Death Angel followed there too. Let's start at the beginning: we can thank Lars Ulrich for Metallica's existence, as he was searching for fellow metal musicians to jam with. He placed an ad in the southern Californian local newspaper "The Recycler": “Drummer looking for other metal musicians to jam with," "Tygers of Pan Tang, Diamond Head and Iron Maiden.”
His ad was answered, and just a short while later, James Hetfield and bassist Ron McGovney reached out in search of a new drummer. After going their separate ways initially, they finally founded Metallica just a few months later, and thankfully so, as we wouldn't have been able to enjoy the various Metallica albums otherwise!
Metallica albums: from "Kill Em All" to "Hardwired...to self-destruct"
In 1982, Metallica had already released their first demo tapes under the names "Power Metal" and "No Life 'Til Leather", which was recorded in Bay Area. Cracks began to show as quickly as their success did, with disputes and discrepancies leading to bassist McGovney leaving the young band in 1982.
Just a short while later, Hetfield and co. threw lead guitarist Dave Mustaine out of the band. Knowing that a thrash metal band doesn't really work with two members, Hetfield and Ulrich set out to find replacements, and stumbled upon worthy successors Kirk Hammett and Cliff Burton.
With a complete line up again, the young thrashers could concentrate on their debut album, recording "Kill 'Em All" for $12,000. The album is now regarded as the epitome of thrash metal, with songs such as "Seek and Destroy" or "Hit The Lights" seen as music scene milestones.
Their second album "Ride The Lightning" made massive waves, too, and was followed by a European headlining tour. After "Ride The Lightning", Metallica released the album "Master of Puppets", which earned gold certification just one month after its release. But things could have gone smoother...
On 27 September 1986, bass legend Cliff Burton died in a tour bus accident on the way to Copenhagen. It was a hard blow of fate not only for Metallica, but also for the entire music scene. But Metallica's journey had to continue without Cliff. Bassist Jason Newsted finally filled Cliff's shoes, and the band brought out their fourth studio album "...And Justice for All" one year later, and although it wasn't the most successful album the thrashers made, it was the most complex.
The fifth Metallica album was much more successful: The "Black Album" was released on 12 August 1991 and sold 28 million copies, securing its position as the most successful metal album of all time.
Successor albums "Load", "ReLoad", and "St. Anger" split the fan community, and it wasn't until "Death Magnetic" that Metallica found real success again.
Hardwired... to self-destruct - Welcome back Metallica
The wait was endless, but it was finally over in 2016: "Hardwired...to self-destruct" was Metallica's next best thing. Brimming with energy, "Hardwired... To Self-Destruct" is an 80-minute long thrash metal slap in the face with 12 songs over 2 CDs. Expect old school metal that will bring you back to the good old times of Bay Harbor thrash. Its first single "Hardwired..." made it clear what the journey is about: going back to Metallica's legendary past. It sounds like a mix between "Kill 'Em All" and "Death Magnetic" - and what a mix that is! Metallica is back!
Hetfield and co. on the screen: Metallica films
Hetfield, Hammett, Trujillo and Ulrich are not just musical geniuses, they're also pretty talented on the big screen. In 2003, they released the Metallica Film "Some Kind of Monster", which documented the production process of the album "St. Anger". They even released a 3D thriller concert film called "Through the Never".
Metallica Fan Shop
From "Kill 'Em All" to "Hardwired...To Self-Destruct" - whether it be for your next concert, festival or just to show the love, you'll find all the Metallica merch you could wish for at the EMP Metallica Online Shop. How do you fancy a classic Metallica t-shirt from your favourite album? We also have a range of Metallica albums, available on CD or vinyl. See you at the next Metallica concert. Fancy some more great music? No worries, check out Slayer, Judas Priest, System of a Down or Megadeth.