metallica 2023

Every Metallica album ranked: From worst to best

Every single one of Metallica’s 11 studio albums has a place in music history — proving them to be one of the most influential and popular metal bands of all time. From Master of Puppets fully defining their sound and shunting them onto the global stage (with mind-altering guitar riffs) to …And Justice For All and Metallica (The Black Album) finally getting the band the recognition and accolades they deserve, Metallica have been through it all, sometimes faltering, but never failing to give us great music.

Formed in Los Angeles in 1981 by guitarist and vocalist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, the band went from seeing fellow metal acts as clubs like Whisky a Go Go to pioneering the thrash metal subgenre and ushering it towards the mainstream. Despite lineup changes over the years (from Dave Mustaine leaving to join Megadeath early on to the tragic death of Cliff Burton in the late ‘80s) and periods of infighting, Metallica consistently shows up to do the work. There’s no doubting the literal blood, sweat, and tears they produce in order to continue to be the golden standard in metal.

Over 40 years since their inception, a whole new generation of rock fans are catching onto the metal group — in large part thanks to the popularity of a powerful “Master of Puppets” needle drop in Stranger Things season 4. Now, with the recent release of their latest album 72 Seasons, there’s a whole plethora of music for fans to dive into — quick-paced, aggressive, thrash metal, coupled with slow, deliberate, melodic tunes intertwined with storytelling and socio-political commentary. 

While the band has an expansive discography with no truly bad entries, we went ahead and ranked all of their albums.

Read more: Bring Me The Horizon albums ranked: From worst to best

Every Metallica album ranked

Below, find a complete ranking of Metallica’s discography from classics like Master of Puppets to 72 Seasons.