Metallica is the world's premiere Thrash Metal band. They have released nine studio albums, two live albums, and two EPs. Their 1991 album, Metallica/The Black Album has sold over 15 million copies, making it the 25th-highest-selling album in American history. As of September 2008, Metallica is the fourth highest-selling music artist since SoundScan began tracking sales on May 25, 1991, selling a total of 51,136,000 albums in the United States alone.

Founded by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich in 1981, the band's initial lineups included Kirk Hammett, Ron McGovney, Dave Mustaine and Cliff Burton. McGovney and Mustaine were quickly let go from the band for not getting along. In 1986, bassist Cliff Burton passed away in a bus accident when the band's bus driver lost control of the vehicle and it flipped several times. Jason Newstead filled the void that Burton's untimely passing had created. In 2001, Newstead left the band for personal reasons, and Rob Trujillo (formerly of Suicidal Tendencies and Ozzy Osbourne's band) replaced him in 2003.

For a while, fans of South Park and Metallica had speculated whether Metallica appeared on the soundtrack of South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut or if Trey Parker & DVDA were impersonating their sound. Eventually, James Hetfield admitted to lending his vocal to the movie on the Members Only Message Boards at (although the rest of Metallica was not involved).

In December 2011, the original line-up of Metallica (Hetfield, Ulrich, Mustaine, and McGovney) appeared on stage for the first time since 1982 to perform a couple songs at the end of their concert at the Fillmore in San Francisco.

Current Lineup:
James Hetfield - Vocals, guitar (1981 - Present)
Lars Ulrich - Drums (1981 - present)
Kirk Hammett - guitar, backing vocals (1983 - Present)
Rob Trujillo - Bass (2003-present)

Former Members:
Ron McGovney - Bass (1982)
Cliff Burton - Bass (1982-1986)
Dave Mustaine - Lead Guitar, backing vocals (1982 - 1983)
Jason Newstead - Bass (1986-2001)

1983: Kill 'Em All
1984: Ride the Lightning
1985: Garage Days Revisited
1986: Master of Puppets
1987: The $5.98 EP: Garage Days Re-Revisited
1988: ...And Justice for All
1991: Metallica (also called "The Black Album")
1993: Live Sh*t: Binge & Purge (live box set) 1996: Load
1997: ReLoad
1998: Garage, Inc. (includes all tracks from Garage Days Revisited and Garage Days Re-Revisited)
1999: S&M
2003: St. Anger
2008: Death Magnetic