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[[caption-width-right:350: The current line-up of Metallica. From left to right: [[Music/ExodusBand Kirk Hammett]], James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich and [[Music/SuicidalTendencies Robert Trujillo]].]]

+ Music/DeepPurple, Music/{{Motorhead}}, Music/BlueOysterCult, Music/BlackSabbath, Music/ThinLizzy, Music/LedZeppelin, Diamond Head, Music/JudasPriest, Budgie, Music/{{Queen}}, Music/KillingJoke, Music/{{Venom}}, Music/{{Rush}}, Music/IronMaiden, Music/MercyfulFate, Music/TheMisfits, Samhain, UFO, Angel Witch, Music/{{Saxon}}, Music/BobSeger, Music/TheRamones, Music/{{Aerosmith}}, Music/LynyrdSkynyrd, Music/JoeSatriani

->''"You can always tell a Metallica fan; a fan of any other band, you ask them, 'What music do you like?' they say, 'I like Music/{{U2}}, I like Music/{{Genesis}}', you ask a Metallica fan, they're like '''Metallica, man!'' Oh, 'scuse me, I gotta get to work...'"''
-->-- '''Jim Breuer'''

The one, the only. Formed in the early '80s when aspiring Danish tennis player/drummer Lars Ulrich placed an ad in a UsefulNotes/LosAngeles newspaper, which, in one of those moments of synchronicity, was answered by singer/guitarist James Hetfield. With lead guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist Ron [=McGovney=] (soon to be replaced by virtuoso Cliff Burton), Metallica was one of the pioneering bands of ThrashMetal, and is considered one of the "Big Four" of thrash, along with Music/{{Anthrax}}, Music/{{Slayer}}, and Music/{{Megadeth}} (the last formed after guitarist Mustaine was kicked out of the band and replaced by Kirk Hammett, late of [[Music/ExodusBand Exodus]]).

In the heady days of TheEighties, they forged their way from being the supporting act at tiny club gigs to opening for and headlining stadium tours, with next to no support from radio. Their '86 album ''Music/MasterOfPuppets'' was hailed by critics as a metal masterpiece, but on the subsequent tour, Burton was killed in a bus accident. Choosing to continue on in spite of their grief, they auditioned and hired Music/JasonNewsted, an intense young musician who became the perennial "New Guy" and the butt of 14 long years of hazing, with the bass being almost non-existent in the ''...And Justice For All'' album being seen as the first major instance. It was with this album that the band first started getting accusations of "selling out", after they put out a music video for the song "One", something fans claimed they had promised in the past they'd never do.

In TheNineties, the band moved away from thrash metal (according to Hammett, "Touring behind it, we realised that the general consensus was that songs were "[[EndingFatigue too fucking long]]", though the rise of Grunge and alt-rock probably also had something to do with it), first coming out with their massively successful self-titled album ''Metallica'' (aka "The Black Album"), then the rock-, country- and blues-tinged alt-rock pair ''Load'' and ''[=ReLoad=]''. The band were mostly quiet for a while, and when they finally set about making a new album, they had a full-on CreatorBreakdown, with a fed-up Jason leaving the group (from a combination of his continued hazing treatment, Hetfield's refusal to allow him to become a full song-writing partner, and a neck injury that needed rest), James going into rehab for alcoholism, and the entire future of the band in doubt. ''St. Anger'', the album forged in the midst of all this, is [[FanonDiscontinuity disdained by most fans]], though for others it's an interesting experiment hamstrung by its intentionally unpolished production and [[ContemplateOurNavels overly introspective]] lyrics. Luckily for the band, new bassist Robert Trujillo both helped them mellow out and encouraged them to mix up their set-list on a nightly basis, pulling out songs they hadn't played for the better part of 20 years.

At the time of its release, ''Death Magnetic'' was the most in-character effort they'd had in years. However, it's a casualty of the LoudnessWar, and whether it's any good depends entirely on [[BrokenBase who you ask]]. In 2011, they collaborated with Music/LouReed on ''Lulu'', which has been panned by just about everyone that has an opinion on it (except, strangely, Music/DavidBowie, who loved it and cited it as an influence on his own last album, ''Music/{{Blackstar}}''). In 2012, to tie into their 30th anniversary mega-reunion shows, they released ''Beyond Magnetic'', an EP consisting of four songs left over from the studio sessions for ''Death Magnetic''. On 30 November the same year, they left Creator/WarnerBrosRecords (where they'd been since being signed to subsidiary Creator/ElektraRecords in 1984), with the rights to all their studio albums, master recordings and videos, and formed a new independent label, Blackened Recordings. Its first release, a month later, was ''Quebec Magnetic'', a live DVD culled from two performances in Quebec City in 2009.

In late 2016 they released ''Hardwired ...To Self Destruct'' which is a clear return to their 1980s thrash / speed metal roots and is likely to appeal to their original fanbase --if that fanbase ever hears of it and / or gives it a fair listen after feeling burned by the 90s change of direction. Musically it is very much what those fans have asked for, though whether it will succeed in connecting with and re-energizing them remains to be seen. Some may be skeptical that such a return to form is possible or that it has taken place, feeling that the band has cried wolf with such claims before and dismiss the current one for that reason. Others may retain feelings of betrayal from the aforementioned events that led to accusations of selling out and be unwilling to listen to anything the band produces or has to say on principle. Regardless of any controversy, however, it is significant that the band--for better or worse--has returned to the style that once made them famous.

Metallica is perhaps best known for its somewhat turbulent relationship with its [[BrokenBase fans]]. Some of this is the result of their long career and their experimentation with other musical styles. The fan-base tends to divide thusly: "hardcore" metalheads that stay away from anything after ''Justice'', or after ''Master'' if they're not into prog-metal (Hetfield even mentioned in interviews that the band lost some especially vocal fans after the acoustic guitar intro on "Fade to Black"); fans who got into the band with the Black Album and like their anthemic '90s style better; those who uncritically love everything the band releases; and some who seem to exist solely to antagonise the band and other fans.

Further division among the fandom -- in particular those who play guitar, bass or whatever (of which there are many -- like probably half the audience at the average show) divide their material based on the band's line-up at any given time. Bass players tend to favour the Cliff Burton years, although Newsted has his fans as well, as does Trujillo (though even fans of Trujillo's work with other bands -- mostly Ozzy or Suicidal Tendencies split over whether his funk-influenced tone and style suit Metallica's material). Guitarists may debate whether Hammett's solos or Hetfield's riff-based rhythmic style are the true core of the band's sound. Others love to argue Hammett vs. Mustaine -- still.

If you really want to get an earful, round up three Metallica fans (bonus points for one token hater, for the lulz) and ask them if and when Metallica sold out. It was after Cliff died. It was when they slowed down the music. It was trying to follow the alternative music trend in the '90s. It was the advent of the gimmicky stuff like ''Garage, Inc.'' and ''S & M''. It was trying too hard to get their old sound back after ''[=ReLoad=]''. It was everything after ''Kill 'Em All''. They never "sold out" at all, but got older and less angry and wanted to experiment in other styles, and besides, altering your artistic expression just to appease ''any'' fanbase, even your original one (thrash) is the very definition of "selling out." Whatever. In short, Metallica fanboys are arguably worse than Franchise/StarWars fans in the way they love to argue. Metallica hasn't always helped this situation.

Lars Ulrich's [[DigitalPiracyIsEvil crusade against Napster]] left a bad taste in the mouths of many, who wondered if he hadn't just shot his own band in the foot. Ulrich has never outright apologised for some of the things he said during this time (though he did mention he regretted the way he expressed some of his beliefs at the time), although the band has been much more Internet-friendly since then, playing nice with iTunes, putting up old shows online for free, and allowing recent concert-goers to download a copy of the show they attended.

They also cottoned on with atypical shrewdness to the popularity of ''VideoGame/GuitarHero'' and the potential that their guitar-driven songs had in the format. After licensing a few of their more popular tunes for the series, they went the whole hog by releasing their most recent album as downloadable content, and followed it up by co-developing ''Guitar Hero: Metallica'', [[RuleOfCool an entire game allowing players to perform as the band themselves]]. (The Metallica tracks in any given ''Guitar Hero'' or ''VideoGame/RockBand'' game are generally amongst the hardest, because... Well, it's ''Metallica'').

!! Current Members:
* Lars Ulrich - drums (1981-present)
* James Hetfield - lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1981-present)
* [[Music/ExodusBand Kirk Hammett]] - lead guitar, backing vocals (1983-present)
* [[Music/SuicidalTendencies Robert Trujillo]] - bass, backing vocals (2003-present)

!! Former Members:
* Ron [=McGovney=] - bass, backing vocals (1982)
* [[Music/{{Megadeth}} Dave Mustaine]] - lead guitar, backing vocals (1982-1983)
* Cliff Burton - bass, backing vocals (1982-1986, died 1986)
* [[Music/JasonNewsted Jason Newsted]] - bass, backing vocals (1986-2001)

!! Studio Discography:

* 1983 - ''Kill 'Em All''
* 1984 - ''Music/RideTheLightning''
* 1986 - ''Music/MasterOfPuppets''
* 1988 - ''...And Justice for All''
* 1991 - ''Metallica'', better known as "The Black Album"
* 1996 - ''Load''
* 1997 - ''[=ReLoad=]''
* 1998 - ''Garage Inc.'' (cover album)
* 2003 - ''St. Anger''
* 2008 - ''Death Magnetic''
* 2011 - ''Lulu'' [[note]] A collaboration with Music/LouReed [[/note]]
* 2012 - ''Beyond Magnetic'' (EP)
* 2016 - ''Hardwired... to Self-Destruct''

!! Live Discography:

* 1993 - ''Live Shit: Binge & Purge''
* 1999 - ''S & M''
* 2009 - ''Orgullo, Pasión, y Gloria: Tres Noches en la Ciudad de México''
* 2010 - ''Six Feet Down Under''
* 2010 - ''The Big Four: Live from Sofia, Bulgaria'' [[note]] Also features Music/{{Anthrax}}, Music/{{Megadeth}} and Music/{{Slayer}} [[/note]]
* 2010 - ''Six Feet Down Under Part II''
* 2010 - ''Live at Grimey's''
* 2012 - ''The 30th Anniversary Celebration''
* 2013 - ''Metallica Through the Never''


[[folder: The band members themselves / live performance]]

* TheAlcoholic: Most of the band members have struggled with alcoholism at some point, to the point where the band was nicknamed "Alcoholica" by some fans, In particular, Dave Mustaine, whose alcoholism and violent behavior when he was drunk were the big factors in his being fired from the band, and James, who had to undergo rehab for his issues with it.
-->'''Dave:''' When we would drink, they would get really silly and I would get really violent. And violent people and silly people don't mix when they're inebriated.
* AscendedFanboy:
** Jason, who was a fan of the band before being hired as the new bassist, and became famous as part of his new gig. Unfortunately for him, the rest of the band never let him forget that he was, first and foremost, ''[[ReplacementGoldfish Cliff's replacement]]''.
** Also true for Robert, though less so, as he came to the group with his own professional history (Suicidal Tendencies, playing bass with Music/OzzyOsbourne on tour) and a more even footing.
* AudienceParticipationSong: It's actually harder to name Metallica songs that ''haven't'' become this at one point or another. "Seek and Destroy", "Enter Sandman" (especially if you're an old-school Wrestling/{{ECW}} fan, or a fan of Virginia Tech [[UsefulNotes/CollegiateAmericanFootball football]] or the [[UsefulNotes/{{Baseball}} New York Yankees]] when Mariano Rivera was the closer), "Creeping Death", "Master of Puppets", and "The Memory Remains" are some of the most prominent. "Suicide & Redemption", ''an instrumental'', became one during Metallica's first ever live performance of it without the band even calling for it, when the crowd started singing the melodic, slow solo in the middle of the song.
* BadassBaritone: Hetfield pulls this trope off nicely. Notable in interviews due to the relatively high voices of Lars and Kirk.
* BadassBeard / BadassMoustache: Hetfield has gone for this look to one degree or another since the ''Justice'' days. As his hair has thinned out on top, his beards have gradually gotten bigger.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor / WriterRevolt: In 1996, MTV Europe asked Metallica to play "King Nothing" and don't curse in the EMA's. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kggWc9dFs9E Their response...]]
* ButtMonkey: Jason Newsted quit Metallica because he was constantly mistreated by his bandmates, with the biggest reason for his departure being James Hetfield refusing to allow Jason to form another band as a side project.
* CatchPhrase: During live performances--usually while playing "Battery"--James will often ask the audience "Are you alive?!" followed by "How does it feel to be alive?!"
* ClusterFBomb: Every one in the band dropped the F-bomb at least once per sentence in the early days, as can heard on ''Live Shit: Binge and Purge''. They were surprisingly restrained about it at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, though.
** Even then, James still managed to add a couple of F-bombs into the lyrics of "Stone Cold Crazy" ("Here come the deputy, he'll try to fuckin' get me, gotta fuckin' get up an' run").
* ContinuityPorn: Their 30th anniversary shows. The only thing they DIDN'T have was Cliff's ghost. It featured Music/JasonNewsted, [[Music/{{Danzig}} Glenn Danzig]], [[Music/JudasPriest Rob Halford]], Music/OzzyOsbourne, Music/LouReed, Bob Rock, [[Music/{{Megadeth}} Dave Mustaine]], Ron [=McGovney=], Lloyd Grant, and Hugh Tanner and John Bush (who weren't even in Metallica; the former played with James in his previous band, the other is from local group Armored Saint) among others.
* CoolOldGuy:
** Ray Burton, Cliff Burton's father. He's over 80 and still sometimes appears in Metallica things, and appears remarkably cheery despite his often depressing life (he's outlived his two sons and his wife).
** Torben Ulrich, Lars Ulrich's father. A former tennis champion and now well into his eighties, he has since ridden his son's success into a musical career of his own.
* {{Flanderization}}: James' [[MemeticMutation memetic]] "Something-AHHH" VerbalTic became ''much'' more pronounced after the "Black Album".
* EmbeddedPrecursor: All of the tracks from their 1987 all-cover ''$5.98 EP'', as well as the original "Garage Days Revisited" (released in Europe as a B-side to the "Creeping Death" single), were included on ''Garage, Inc.'' which is a full-length CoverAlbum.
* EveryEpisodeEnding: When you hear the first notes of "Enter Sandman", start heading for the doors.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble:
** Lars: Sanguine.
** James: Choleric.
** Kirk: Melancholic.
** Robert: Phlegmatic.
* HarshVocals: Given Music/{{Motorhead}} is one of their influences, it's not surprising that James likes to mimic Lemmy's vocal tics.
* HeelFaceRevolvingDoor: [[Music/{{Megadeth}} Dave Mustaine]] can't seem to remember whether or not James Hetfield is his enemy. Currently, they seem to be getting along quite well, if the Big Four shows at the Sonisphere Festival are any indication. For whatever reason, though, Dave still dumps on Ron [=McGovney=], the original bassist. The other members neglect him in favor of Cliff sometimes, too (it's honestly hard not to), but Dave went as far as referring to the Ron-era band as a three-piece with him happening to be around them and in their band, but not really important at all. Ron disputes this, saying that he learned to play bass in a short time, and without his house and sometime managerial skills, the group would never have gotten off the ground.
* ImportantHaircut: Lampshaded, years before people knew what lampshading was, by friend of the band and Music/AliceInChains bassist Mike Inez on that group's ''MTV Unplugged'' performance (which was filmed shortly after ''Load'' was released, with Metallica in the audience) when he scribbled "Friends don't let friends get ''Series/{{Friends}}'' haircuts..." on his bass. Made HilariousInHindsight during the 30th Anniversary shows, when Alice in Chains' Jerry Cantrell performed with Metallica, and he was the one with the "Friends haircut".
* InsufferableGenius: Dave Mustaine in a nutshell as far as his time in Metallica was concerned. He was an exceedingly talented guitarist whose ability was acknowledged by everyone. Unfortunately, he was also a godawful mean drunk with drug issues that were serious even then and a sober personality that was apparently not that much better.
* {{Keet}}: Those who knew Lars Ulrich when he was a teenager describe him as being a hyperactive young man who was ''extremely'' enthusiastic about heavy metal. Brian Slagel of Metal Blade Records recalls that whenever they would go to the specialty record stores in the early 1980's to buy imported [[NewWaveOfBritishHeavyMetal NWOBHM]] albums, Lars would jump out of the car ''before it had even stopped moving'' because he was so anxious to get new metal albums to listen to. After Slagel had founded Metal Blade records, he planned on putting together a compilation album called ''Metal Massacre'' featuring local heavy metal bands. When Lars found out about this he got so excited that he begged Slagel to let him record a song for the album despite the fact that Lars ''wasn't even in a band at the time''. This motivated Lars to call up James Hetfield and Lloyd Grant (after the two realised they were short two members, and could get James to play bass) to help him record a song for the album, and that's the story of how Lars' keet-ness resulted in the birth of Metallica.
* KickTheDog: Done to each other by James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine; the most notable incident is when James literally kicked Dave's pitbull for attacking Ron [=McGovney=]'s 1972 Pontiac [=LeMans=].
* LeadBassist: Cliff Burton, considered one of the best of his instrument in metal -- and among older/more fanatical fans, the guy in the only albums worth hearing.
* LeadDrummer: In a case that has more "Lead" than Cliff's above, Lars formed the band, and is the backbone of the whole thing along with James.
* LockedOutOfTheLoop: James, during the late 1990's. During the band's post-Black Album hiatus, Lars and Kirk had developed interests (art, drugs) that he wanted no part of. During the ''Load'' period, they had been the primary forces behind the band's "new image." He had more in common with Jason Newsted, but the hazing that the band had given Jason effectively scorched that bridge to a crisp. As a result, being isolated from the rest of the band, he developed the "Doctor No" personality that led to Jason's departure and almost led to the band's breakup.
* LongRunnerLineUp: As much as Jason was the new guy for 14 years, his tenure was the longest of the band without changing members, until Robert (in the band since 2003) equaled it. Cliff likely would have stayed longer were it not for his tragic death.
* ManOnFire:
** The very thing that resulted in James getting severe burns on the left side of his body and (indirectly) allowing Music/GunsNRoses to cause a riot by refusing to play for more than half an hour. They later mocked this very trope during the ''Load'' tour, where the stage setup "collapsed" during "Enter Sandman" and a member of the crew ran across the stage while on fire. They then came back out and played encores using small lights hanging from the scaffolding and mobile amps wheeled onto the stage. This was recycled for the concert portions of ''Through the Never''.
** Used to great effect during their performances of "One".
* MistakenForTerrorist: James Hetfield was once detained at UsefulNotes/{{London}}'s Luton Airport for questioning. The airport officials released him without any explanations, but everyone believe it was because of the Taliban-like beard he had at the time.
* MysteriousAntarctica: [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7USiW1LQCU They played there]] to become the first band to play on all seven continents (within the same year, too!). At least unlike Music/PinkFloyd in Pompeii, there was an audience.
* NiceGuy: Kirk, Music/{{Jason|Newsted}}, and Cliff deserve special mention.
* NiceHat: Lloyd Grant has one sweet hat on during the 30th anniversary show.
* NobodyLovesTheBassist:
** Music/JasonNewsted, treated as the [[ReplacementGoldfish new guy]] for 14 years.
** Ron [=McGovney=], (original bassist, 1981-83). In Dave Mustaine's autobiography, he was not fond of [=McGovney=] at all. According to various sources (Creator/VH1 documentaries, books, interviews, etc.) Dave hated Ron so much he actually poured beer into his bass to the point it was unplayable, tore up his house and got his dog to get on his car to ruin the paint job. Dave only denies ordering the dog to jump on the car, not that the dog did it.
** At least within the band, averted with Cliff (who the fans also like) and Robert.
* OncePerEpisode: "Are you alive? How does it feel to be alive?", usually said by James before the solo to "Battery" or "Fight Fire with Fire". After the release of Hardwired… to Self‐Destruct he began asking the questions, followed by his own answer "If you want to live forever, then first you must dieee.", before playing the very fitting "Now That We're Dead".
* OverlyLongName: Roberto Augustin Miguel Santiago Samuel Trujillo Veracruz. Fans prefer to call him "Rob", for obvious reasons.
* PutOnABus: Dave Mustaine, quite literally. The rest of the band told him he was fired and gave him a bus ticket back home.
* RagsToRiches: Metallica literally started out as a garage band formed by a bunch of teenage kids. They would go on to become the most successful heavy metal band of all time, and even 30 years after the founding of the band they can still pack arenas and every new album is guaranteed to go multi-platinum, be it ''Music/MasterOfPuppets'' or ''St. Anger''.
* RashomonStyle: The exact details of how Dave Mustaine left the band tend to change depending on who's telling the story.
* RedOniBlueOni: The two founding members of Metallica, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, are known for having very different personalities. Lars is known for being loud, outgoing, and enthusiastic while James is stoic, taciturn, and introverted.
* SensitiveGuyAndManlyMan: Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield.
* SesameStreetCred: Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield guest-starred in ''WesternAnimation/DaveTheBarbarian'' as a pair of dragons.
* SexDrugsAndRockAndRoll:
** In their early days, the band was sometimes nicknamed "Alcoholica" because all the members were such heavy drinkers.
** Metallica's struggle with alcohol was a significant reason for their nasty split with Dave Mustaine. "Some Kind of Monster" (the song) was in part about how years of that lifestyle frays a person.
* ShirtlessScene:
** Lars has a tendency to strip down during shows, especially hot ones, until he is down to his tighty whiteys with sweat flying everywhere.
** James also occasionally removes clothing, but he stops with his shirt, and so the majority of Metallica's fans have never seen James Hetfield in his underwear (unlike Lars).
* StartMyOwn:
** After being fired from Metallica for his drug, alcohol, and violence problems, Dave Mustaine formed Music/{{Megadeth}}.
** After a few side projects and some years of silence, Music/JasonNewsted started his own band, simply called Newsted, in late 2012.
* StepUpToTheMicrophone: On the "Wherever We May Rome" tour and the tour for ''Load'', Music/JasonNewsted would sing "Seek and Destroy" and "Whiplash." On ''very'' rare occasions, the entire band does a Chinese fire drill for "Am I Evil?" with Lars on lead vocals.
** Jason sung most songs for three concerts in 2000 where James was recovering from a back injury. [[GuestStarPartyMember Help was also given by co-headliners]] Music/KidRock, [[Music/SystemOfADown Serj Tankian]] and [[Music/{{Korn}} Jonathan Davis]].
* SurvivorGuilt: It is thought that a great deal of James' angst in the post-''Puppets'' albums stems from having survived the bus accident that took Cliff's life. In their ''Behind the Music'' special, Kirk revealed that earlier that evening, the band had gotten into a mild argument about the sleeping arrangements and had drawn cards to determine who would sleep where. Cliff drew the highest card and claimed Kirk's bunk, which, due to faulty mounting and poor reinforcement of the window, led to his being partially ejected from the bus and killed.
* UrExample: ''Kill 'Em All'' is generally believed to be the first full-length ThrashMetal album ever released. Thrash metal had previously been included on various compilation albums, but ''Kill 'Em All'' was the first album entirely devoted to thrash. Others argue that ''Welcome to Hell'' by Venom was the first thrash metal album, but ''Kill 'Em All'' was [[TropeCodifier the first one to sell a lot of copies]].
* VerbalTic: James LOVES to add extra syllables-ah to his vocals-ah, with the shining example coming in "All Nightmare Long":
--> "You crawl back in, but your luck runs ou-TAH!"
** Another great example from the same album:
--> "You've reached the end of the LIIIINE-AHHHH!"
* VocalEvolution: Starting with ''Justice'' and consolidated with the Black Album, the change in Hetfield's singing style is notable. Compare [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mLDoLWJKZw 1984 James]] to [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jvp5z4z2biw 1991 James]]. While the way he sings in ''Death Magnetic'' sounds like a combination of the two ([[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeE1Y8S6jVc exhibit A]]), he still uses mostly the lower vocals live.
* [[WhatWouldXDo What Would Cliff Do?]]: Popular among fans. Expect Cliff to be cited both against ("Cliff is spinning in his grave" is common) and in favour of (Cliff wasn't just into metal) whatever they've just announced.
* WildHair: During the '80s and early '90s, everyone. Since the ''Load'' era, only Kirk and Robert.

[[folder: Media and Fandom]]

* AscendedMeme: Metallica's first album was called ''Kill 'Em All'' and the cover art was a hammer in a pool of blood. Then they spotted a fan wearing a home-made shirt at one of their shows that said "Alcoholica" and had replaced the hammer with a bottle spilling booze, and titled it "Drink 'em All." They stole the idea and printed up their own shirts.
* DigitalPiracyIsEvil: The Napster controversy. To the band's credit, they've been much better about embracing the Internet and new technology since then, but some downloaders are still bitter. Lars has joked that his obituary will have "Napster" in its first paragraph.
** Notably averted when they posted an [[http://www.loureedmetallica.com/listen-to-lulu.php ENTIRE ALBUM]] on the internet 12 days before it was fully released worldwide.
** They also allowed fans to stream ''Death Magnetic'' from their official web site prior to the album's release.
** When ''Hardwired...to Self-Destruct'' leaked early, the band responded by putting videos for every song on the album up on Website/YouTube.
* TheEighties: Thrash metal, denim, and long hair.
* IconicLogo: One of the most iconic in all of metal music. It's so widely recognised that if you see anyone's logo for ''any'' purpose, and the consonants at the ends have stretched-out uprights with barbed ends, you know exactly who they're ripping off.
** This was averted from ''Load'' through ''St. Anger'', which featured variants on the original logo.
* KillEmAll: Not an example, but the {{Trope Namer|s}}.
* LicensedGame: ''VideoGame/GuitarHero: Metallica''.
* LicensedPinballTable: In addition to the [[Pinball/{{Metallica}} 2013 pinball from Stern,]] artist "Dirty" Donny Gillies had previously rethemed an ''Pinball/{{Earthshaker}}'' table with a Metallica theme. That later led him to do the artwork for the Stern game.
* ManlyTears: Many were shed over Cliff's death. Try watching either [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQQfnADT3Q8 this]] or [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64AULUPCpis this]] without shedding a few of your own.
* TheMovie: ''Metallica: Through the Never'' is a feature-length film by the band that follows the story of Trip, a young Metallica roadie who embarks upon a surreal adventure while on an urgent mission for the band. The film also features concert footage from Metallica concerts held in August of 2012. The film is described as being inspired by the Music/LedZeppelin movie ''Film/TheSongRemainsTheSame.''
* MythologyGag: The bonus disc ''Demo Magnetic'' has demo versions of all of the songs from ''Death Magnetic'', with different titles. The title that the demo version of "Suicide & Redemption" (a long instrumental) goes by is "[=K2LU=]", an apparent reference to that other long instrumental "The Call of Ktulu".
* TheNineties: Traditional metal, alt-rock, black clothes, and short haircuts.
* RecordProducer: The band has had:
** John Zazula (executive producer) and Paul Curcio on ''Kill 'Em All''.
** Flemming Rasmussen for ''Music/RideTheLightning'' (only engineered), ''Music/MasterOfPuppets'', and ''...And Justice for All''.
** Bob Rock on all albums from ''The Black Album'' to ''Some Kind of Monster'' (even playing bass on ''St. Anger'').
** Rick Rubin on ''Death Magnetic'' (whom [[Music/{{Slayer}} Kerry King]] claims to have been stolen).
** The band has self-produced (or at least co-produced) nearly the entire discography with the exception of ''Kill Em' All'' and ''Death Magnetic''.
* RefugeInAudacity: The band originally wanted to call their first album "''[[{{Squick}} Metal Up Your Ass]]''" (complete with metal spike coming out of someone's toilet), but the record label wouldn't have any of it. So they changed it to ''Kill 'Em All'', which the company apparently had no problem with, and then made an ''Ass'' t-shirt with the original concept art.
** Ironically enough, [[WriterRevolt the record executives were the ones they wanted to kill all off.]]
* RideTheLightning: Again, not an example, but the {{Trope Namer|s}}.
* {{Rockumentary}}: ''Some Kind of Monster''.
* UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco: The home of the band, and the setting for many of the videos, including an obligatory chase scene with Hetfield in a black muscle car for "I Disappear".
* SelfDeprecation: Along with making "Alcoholica" merchandise, [[http://eil.com/images/main/Metallica-Whiskey-In-The-Ja-527399.jpg the cover for the "Whiskey in the Jar" single]] consists solely of ''Garage Inc.'' negative reviews.
* SignatureStyle: Graphic artist [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pushead Pushead's]] work is so synonymous with Metallica's image that the band really doesn't need a {{Mascot}} like Music/{{Megadeth}}'s Vic Rattlehead or Music/IronMaiden's Eddie the Head.
* SomethingCompletelyDifferent: Arguably the point behind ''Metallica''. Besides Hammett's comment about the songs being "too fucking long" and his claim that one of the band members swore that they'd never play "...And Justice for All" (the song) again after a grueling concert (he also mentioned "[[EndingFatigue seeing the front row start to yawn by the 8th minute]]"), Hetfield recounted that they were encouraged to actually pursue the direction when they saw that a previously HairMetal-infected Creator/{{MTV}} was showing harder {{Grunge}} stuff.
* XtremeKoolLetterz: Hetfield likes to do this, a ''lot''.
** On the back of their ''S&M'' album, in lieu of a track listing, they just added a picture of the set-list they used for the show. All the song names have been shortened this way. ("Puppetz")
** Used in the recording sessions shown on ''Some Kind of Monster'', and lampshaded in the film ''Some Kind of Monster'' when James noticed someone misspelled "Metallica" to read "Metllica".
** Apparently in high school, he wrote his name as "Jaymz" on his papers and whatnot.
** Besides "Jaymz", the band members were named "KRK", "Jasun", and "Larz" in the inner sleeve for ''The $5.98 EP: Garage Days Re-Revisited''.

[[folder: Lyrics/Themes/Concepts]]

* AfterTheEnd: "Blackened", about some kind of apparently fire-based catastrophe.
* AndIMustScream:
** "One" is about a soldier who's been reduced to an insensate hunk of still-conscious meat after stepping on a land mine.
** "Trapped Under Ice" which is about a person who is cryogenically frozen but still conscious.
* ArcWords: 17 years apart, but they're there: "Fuck it all and fucking no regrets" from "Damage Inc." (1986) and ''St. Anger''[='=]s title track (2003).
* AsTheGoodBookSays: "The Four Horsemen", about the characters of the same name, and "Creeping Death", about the final of the ten plagues of Egypt -- once the band was watching ''Film/TheTenCommandments'', Cliff reacted to the newborn slaughter with "Whoa, it's like creeping death!".
* BadDreams: "All Nightmare Long".
* BawdySong[=/=]AutoErotica: Notably ''averted'' when the band re-purposed Dave Mustaine's "The Mechanix", full of {{double entendre}}s about [[IntercourseWithYou sex]] in an [[AutoErotica auto repair shop]], into "The Four Horsemen", an ode to the Apocalypse. The song is arguably better for it, but don't let any Music/{{Megadeth}} fans hear you say that... or Mustaine, for that matter. They then played it completely straight in their word-for-word CoverVersion of the most profane British punk songs ever recorded, "So What?!", even though the song is a parody about two drunken idiots [[SerialEscalation attempting to outdo each other.]]
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: "King Nothing" includes the lines, "Careful what you wish / You may regret it / Careful what you wish / You just might get it".
* BedlamHouse: "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)".
* CallBack: "St. Anger" contains two in the couplet "Fuck it all and fucking no regrets / I hit the lights on these dark sets" in the chorus. Most of it references the lines "Fuck it all and fucking no regrets / Never happy endings on these dark sets" from "Damage, Inc.", but "I hit the lights" is likely a reference to "Hit the Lights", their first song.
* CelebrityIsOverrated: "Moth Into Flame." The lyrics reflect drug use, self-destruction for the sake of fame, and how quickly people can be replaced in the music business.
* ClusterFBomb: "Ain't My Bitch," ''St. Anger'' to some extent, and most of all, their cover of the Anti-Nowhere League's "So What?".
* ContemplateOurNavels: Started with [[TropesAreNotBad "Dyers Eve"]] from ''...And Justice for All''. Increased on the Black Album and the ''Load'' and ''[=ReLoad=]'' years, reaching its peak on ''[[CreatorBreakdown St. Anger]]'' [[CreatorBreakdown and]] ''[[CreatorBreakdown Some Kind of Monster]]''.
* ContinuityNod: "The Unforgiven III" seems to be more like this than strictly the latest part of the "Unforgiven" trilogy (at least "II" still borrowed some elements from the original; "III" is a completely different composition).
* CosmicHorrorStory: The band has ''four'' pieces, three lyrical and one instrumental, directly inspired by the Franchise/CthulhuMythos, of which Kirk Hammett and Cliff Burton are / were huge fans: "The Call of Ktulu" from ''Music/RideTheLightning'', "The Thing That Should Not Be" from ''Music/MasterOfPuppets'', "All Nightmare Long," from ''Death Magnetic'' (inspired by Literature/TheHoundsOfTindalos, though most people [[MusicVideoOvershadowing just remember the zombies from the video]]) and "Dream No More" from ''Hardwired to Self Destruct''.
* CueTheSun: The ending to "The Unforgiven II":
--> The door is closed, so are your eyes\\
But now I see the sun\\
Now I see the sun\\
Yes, now I see it
* CyberneticsEatYourSoul: "Spit Out The Bone", which is inspired by the current generation's ever-increasing reliance on technology.
* DeathRow: "Ride the Lightning" is about execution by the electric chair.
* TheDrifter / WalkingTheEarth: "Wherever I May Roam".
* DrivenToMadness: From "The Thing That Should Not Be":
-->Drain you of your sanity\\
Face the thing that should not be
* DrivesLikeCrazy: "Fuel" is about road rage and / or street racing:
-->Turn on, I see red\\
Adrenaline crash and crack my head\\
Nitro junkie, paint me dead\\
And I see red
* DrugsAreBad: "Master of Puppets":
--> Taste me, you will see\\
More is all you need\\
Dedicated to\\
How I'm killing you
* {{Eagleland}}: ''...And Justice for All'' (the album) is a Type 2. "Don't Tread on Me" from ''The Black Album'' is a Type 1. James said they wrote the latter in response to the anti-American vibe that the former had given and that, even though he feels there is a lot of bad stuff in America, he still considers himself lucky to live there.
* EldritchAbomination: "The Thing That Should Not Be" is inspired by the works of Creator/HPLovecraft, specifically "Literature/TheShadowOverInnsmouth", in which the eponymous Thing is Dagon.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: "The Four Horsemen", "Fight Fire with Fire", and "Blackened".
* EnterEponymous: "Enter Sandman".
* FateWorseThanDeath: "One" details the life of a soldier, after he loses all his limbs, his sight, his speech, and his hearing due to a landmine. He has machines that breathe for him, and so he's unable to die. His mind functions perfectly, leaving him a prisoner in his own body.
--> Darkness, imprisoning me\\
All that I see\\
Absolute horror\\
I cannot live\\
I cannot die\\
Trapped in myself\\
Body my holding cell
* FilkSong: "The Four Horsemen," "Creeping Death", (both invoke ''Literature/TheBible''), "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" (''Film/OneFlewOverTheCuckoosNest''), "One" (''Literature/JohnnyGotHisGun''), "The Memory Remains" (''Film/SunsetBoulevard''), "For Whom the Bell Tolls" (Creator/ErnestHemingway) and four tracks inspired by Franchise/CthulhuMythos (the instrumental "[[Literature/TheCallOfCthulhu The Call of]] [[FunetikAksent Ktulu]]"; "The Thing That Should Not Be", which even quotes directly from Creator/HPLovecraft; "All Nightmare Long", about Literature/TheHoundsOfTindalos; and "Dream No More", featuring Cthulhu awakening).
* FindTheCure: "Cure"
* FireAndBrimstoneHell: "Jump in the Fire" which is sung from the perspective of {{Satan}}.
* FreakOut: "The Unnamed Feeling", given it's supposed to be anxiety.
* FunetikAksent: The title for "Call of Ktulu". The Creator/HPLovecraft character is actually spelt "Cthulhu"; the explanation given for the title change is that writing (or for that matter, saying) "Cthulhu" in the story will [[SpeakOfTheDevil summon him]], and the band members chose this title as a reference.
* GetItOverWith: "Ride the Lightning":
-->The final curtain all I see\\
How true is this?\\
Just get it over with\\
If this is true\\
Just let it be.
* AGodAmI: From "Ride the Lightning", which denounces capital punishment:
-->Who made you God to say,\\
"I'll take your life from you"?
* GoodbyeCruelWorld: "Fade to Black" is about someone on the verge of committing suicide in despair.
* GreyAndGrayMorality: "[[WarIsHell For Whom the Bell Tolls]]":
-->On the fight, for they are right\\
Yes, but who's to say
* HeavyMeta: "Hit the Lights", "Whiplash", and "Metal Militia" from ''Kill 'Em All'', their cover of "Helpless" from ''Garage Days Re-Revisited'', their cover of "It's Electric" from ''Garage Inc.''
* HiddenVillain: Franchise/{{Cthulhu|Mythos}} from "The Thing That Should Not Be":
-->Fearless wretch\\
He watches\\
Lurking beneath the sea
** Also in "Dream No More", though in that he is awakening.
* HumansAreBastards: The narrator of "[=ManUNKind=]" has a firm belief in this.
* HumanPopsicle: "Trapped Under Ice", which is sung from the perspective of someone in a cryogenics chamber.
* InYourNatureToDestroyYourselves: The title ''Hardwired... to Self-Destruct'' shows many of the songs in that album are about this, starting with the TitleTrack.
* IntercourseWithYou / HormoneAddledTeenager: Mostly averted. However, "The Four Horsemen" was originally called "The Mechanix", filled with {{double entendre}}s about sex in an [[AutoErotica auto mechanic shop]]. It was released in the original form on Music/{{Megadeth}}'s debut album,''Killing is My Business... And Business is Good''. Additionally, "Jump in the Fire", a song sung from {{Satan}}'s perspective, was originally about teenage sexual frustration; this version can be heard on the ''No Life 'Til Leather'' demo. Notably, this one also had its origins with Dave Mustaine. Meanwhile, the only publicly released Metallica song that is clearly about sex is "Devil's Dance," which uses the image of Satan tempting followers as a metaphor for somebody soliciting sex.
* IronicNurseryTune: "Enter Sandman" which quotes the "NowILayMeDownToSleep" nursery rhyme verbatim.
* IsntItIronic:
** Not a particularly bad offender but the use of "Master of Puppets" in the film ''Film/OldSchool'' is a little odd during the scene where Beanie, Mitch, and Frank are kidnapping the pledges, seeing as the song is about drug addiction.
** The use of "For Whom the Bell Tolls" in ''Film/{{Zombieland}}''. Again, not a bad offender, but the song is about war between humans and other humans, not between humans and zombies.
* LyricalTic:
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDLZix8NVjg The verb "die" and the word "death"]]. "Fire" and "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LA-NiS2sGO4 kill]]" also appear often.
** About every other line on ''The Black Album'' starts with "You".
* MachineWorship: "Spit out the Bone", a discussion on human dependency on technology - and [[http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/metallica-james-hetfield-on-hardwired-album-a-lot-of-these-songs-deal-with-man-on-the-planet/ in James's words]], how the next step is "[[TranshumanTreachery getting rid of the human flesh part]]" due to "[[CyberneticsEatYourSoul convenience leaning into dependency]]"
-->“Spit Out The Bone" – machinery is so much more efficient. We want things quicker. We want the convenience of technology. […] But at what point is We need it, or else we don’t know what to do.”
* MadLibMetalLyrics: In general, Metallica is noted for averting this, but they play it straight in "Metal Militia".
* MatureAnimalStory: The video for "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpF8Wa2yQH0 Here Comes Revenge]]" is the dark tale of a SerialKiller who is haunted by his victims. Both predator and prey are PettingZooPeople.
* MercyKill: The narrator of "One" asks for this.
--> Fed through the tube that sticks in me\\
Just like a wartime novelty\\
Tied to machines that make me be\\
Cut this life off from me\\
Hold my breath as I wish for death\\
Oh, please, God, wake me
* MissingMom: "The God That Failed" is about James's mother, Cynthia, who was a strict Christian Scientist. She refused treatment for cancer due to her beliefs, and died when James was 16.
* {{Mondegreen}}: It's inevitable the way they stretch their syllables on.
** In "No Leaf Clover" it sounds like they're saying "And I'm constipated" when really they're just repeating "And it comes to be that".
** "Don't Tread on Me": A lot of people mishear the line "So be it, threaten no more" as "[[DirtyCommunists Soviets]] threaten [[UsefulNotes/TheNewRussia no more]]," which is understandable as the album was released during the implosion of the USSR. Others mishear it as "So be it, tread no more", due to the song's title.
** "AND OF [[{{Eagleland}} BAKED APPLE PIES]]!" ("and of things that will bite" from "Enter Sandman").
* MotorMouth: Compared to most Metallica songs, "That Was Just Your Life" from ''Death Magnetic'' counts.
* MythArc: "The Unforgiven" trilogy, possibly. They're united in subject matter, even if they're not about the same guy.
* MurderBallad: Their cover of Music/TheMisfits' "Die, Die My Darling". Not exactly a ballad, but...
* NowILayMeDownToSleep: Famously quoted verbatim in "Enter Sandman".
* OneNationUnderCopyright: "...And Justice for All" (song).
* ThePowerOfRock: "Metal Militia".
* PrecisionFStrike:
** "Damage Inc.": "Slamming through / Don't fuck with razorback" and "Fuck it all and fucking no regrets".
** "Dyers Eve": "I've outgrown that '''FUCKING''' lullaby!"
** "Fuel": "Fuck 'em, man, white knuckle tight / Through black and white!"
** "Whiplash": "There's a feeling deep inside that drives you fucking mad" and "Now it's time to let it rip, to let it fucking loose".
** Live performances will add a few, such as the cover of "Am I Evil" ("Am I evil / Yes, I fucking am!"), the orchestrated version of "Master of Puppets" from [=S&M=] ("Dedicated to how I'm killing you" is replaced by "Dedicated to how I'm ''fucking you!''") and "One" ("Cut this life off from me" -> "Cut this shit off from me!").
** Kirk's comment about ''Justice'':
---> Touring behind it, we realized the consensus was that the songs were too fucking long.
* ProtestSong:
** "Disposable Heroes", which is an anti-war song about a young soldier whose fate is controlled by his superiors.
** Lars [[https://books.google.com/books?id=5zsz129WRgsC&pg=RA1-PA1985 describes]] ''...And Justice for All'' as the "CNN Years," where he and James would watch CNN and write songs on anything they disliked.
* {{Rape as Dram|a}}[[BlackComedyRape edy]] / RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil: The {{cover|Version}} of Music/TheMisfits' "Last Caress / Green Hell" from the "[[CoverAlbum The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited]]":
--> I got something to say / I [[RapeAsDrama raped your mother]] today.
* PunBasedTitle: "[=ManUNkind=]", a combination of mankind and "[[HumansAreBastards man (is) unkind]]".
* RefugeInAudacity:
** The aforementioned cover of "Last Caress / Green Hell". Within the first four lines, the narrator, mentions {{rap|eAsDrama}}ing someone's [[YourMom mother]] and [[WouldHurtAChild killing their baby]].
** Their cover of the Anti-Nowhere League's "So What?", which is based on an argument the band heard two idiots having in a bar. The song's narrators claim to have had sex with a goat, a sheep, a schoolgirl, J.S. Bach, and the Queen of England, as well as having taken every drug imaginable and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking going to Hastings, Brighton, and Eastbourne]]. [[note]] Though that one might have some dirty undertones given said coastal cities are full of [[HelloSailor sailors]]. [[/note]]
* ReligionRantSong: "The God That Failed" (Type 2) and "Leper Messiah" (Type 3).
* ReptilesAreAbhorrent: Played straight with "Slither," subverted with "Don't Tread on Me," as the reptile's fearsome qualities are meant to be associated with strength and honour.
* {{Revenge}}: "Fight Fire with Fire".
* RockMeAsmodeus: "Jump in the Fire" is sung from the perspective of {{Satan}}. "Devil's Dance" is a less literal example of this, as the song is actually using Satan as a metaphor for rape.
* SanitySlippageSong: "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)", "Harvester of Sorrow", and "The Frayed Ends of Sanity".
* SexDrugsAndRockAndRoll:
** "Hit the Lights".
** "Master of Puppets", but it offers a far less positive view of the lifestyle. It was partially inspired by a friend of theirs who was drug addicted and wound up dying of AIDS.
* ShoutOut: A (very off-key) bit of Music/IronMaiden's "Run to the Hills" plays at the end of the "Last Caress / "Green Hell" medley. They replied [[http://www.ironmaidencommentary.com/?url=single23_bequick/lyrics23_bequick&link=singles&lang=eng#track3 in a more jokey manner]].
** "Prince Charming" has a lyrical reference to the Music/{{Voivod}} album ''Nothingface''. Jason Newsted is known as a huge Voivod fan and even became an AscendedFanboy when he later joined the band for awhile.
** On early pressings of ''Music/MasterOfPuppets'', they featured a parody of {{Content Warning}}s:
--->''The only track you probably won't want to play is "Damage, Inc." due to the multiple use of the infamous "F" word. Otherwise, there aren't any "Shits", "Fucks", "Pisses", "Cunts", "Motherfuckers" or "Cocksuckers" anywhere on this record.''
::: Comedy buffs will note that this list contains six of Creator/GeorgeCarlin's SevenDirtyWords. Which one was excluded? "Tits", the one Carlin said "doesn't even belong on the list".
** ''Hardwired'' has the song "Murder One", named after Lemmy's amplifier, and [[SongOfSongTitles filled with references to]] Music/{{Motorhead}} to honor the recently departed frontman.
* StudioChatter: "Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)" starts with Cliff Burton saying "Bass solo, take one."
* TakeThat: "Leper Messiah" is an attack upon televangelism.
* TerrorHero: The eponymous "Creeping Death" which pressures the Pharaoh into letting God's people go, one plague at a time.
* ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight: "Enter Sandman":
-->Hush, little baby, don't say a word\\
And never mind that noise you heard\\
It's just the beasts under your bed\\
In your closet, in your head
* TitleDrop: Quite common, though with "The Unforgiven" and "The Unforgiven II" it reaches StealthPun levels ("I dub ''thee'' unforgiven" and "Or are you unforgiven ''too''?").
** An easy-to-miss one in "One" during the last repeat of the chorus
-->Now the world is gone/I'm just one\\
Oh God help me!
* TogetherInDeath: "Now That We're Dead" is all about this, though the lyrics alternate between "we're going to die" and "we're dead".
* TomatoInTheMirror: The line, "[[YouBastard I'm you]]" from "Sad But True".
* VillainSong: A few are told from the point of view of people such as [[WarIsHell soldiers slaughtering others]] ("Disposable Heroes"), [[SanitySlippageSong people who snap out and murder]] ("Harvester of Sorrow") and [[RockMeAsmodeus Satan]] ("Jump in the Fire").
* WarIsHell: "For Whom the Bell Tolls", "One" and "Disposable Heroes."
* WhamLine:
** "Sad But True":
--->I'm your truth, telling lies\\
I'm your reasoned alibis\\
I'm inside, open your eyes\\
[[TomatoInTheMirror I'm you]]!
** Also used in "Mama Said". And long pause is added for extra dramatic effect:
--->Mama, now I'm coming home\\
I'm not all you wished of me\\
But a mother's love for her son\\
Unspoken, help me be\\
Yeah, I took your love for granted\\
And all the things you said to me, yeah\\
I need your arms to welcome me\\
[[NeverGotToSayGoodbye But a cold stone's all I see.]]
* WhiteDwarfStarlet: "The Memory Remains", about a fading starlet grasping at whatever's left of her former fame.
** "Moth into Flame" also features one, with the overall message of "CelebrityIsOverrated".
* WitchHunt: {{Invoked|Trope}} in "The Shortest Straw".
* WordSaladLyrics: Sometimes they are just strings of cool-sounding phrases. James [[http://www.guitarworld.com/interview-james-hetfield-discusses-metallicas-death-magnetic admitted]] the lyrics' crypticness aims for "anonymous but powerful", making sure they resonate with listeners. ("I'll put two powerful words put together, and sometime I won't know what they mean, but I'll apply them to my life somehow.")
* WorkingTitle: "Until It Sleeps" was "Fobd" as they found it similar to Music/{{Soundgarden}}'s "Fell On Black Days". And ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Metallica_demos#Demo_Magnetic Demo Magnetic]]'' reveals some amusing ones ("Hi Guy", "German Soup", "Gymbag"), which apart from "UN3" for "The Unforgiven III" are all unrelated to the end result.
* XtremeKoolLetterz: "Fixxxer", the last track on ''[=ReLoad=]''.
* YouBastard: "Sad But True":
-->I'm your truth, telling lies\\
I'm your reasoned alibis\\
I'm inside, open your eyes\\
[[TomatoInTheMirror I'm you]]!
* YourMom / WouldHurtAChild: The {{cover|Version}} of "Last Caress / Green Hell" from the "[[CoverAlbum The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited]]"
-->I got something to say / I [[RapeAsDrama raped your mother]] today.
-->I got something to say / [[RefugeInAudacity I killed your baby today.]]

[[folder: Music/Music referential]]

* AlbumTitleDrop: Most of their albums have a TitleTrack in which this happens, but ''Death Magnetic'' is their only album without a title track to have a proper Album Title Drop. It is name-checked in the closing track "My Apocalypse."
** "Hardwired" gives the album's full title in the chorus: "[[PrecisionFStrike We're so fucked! Shit outta luck!]] Hardwired to self-destruct!"
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: During a Seattle concert in 1989:
-->'''James''': Shit! Fuck! [[CountryMatters Cunt!]] Fag! Slut! [[YourMom Yo' Momma!]]
* AudienceParticipationSong: Some songs seem made to elicit this effect.
** Go to a Metallica concert and you'll be able to chant "Die! Die! Die" along with the whole audience during the song "Creeping Death."
* {{Bowdlerise}}: Their first album, ''Kill 'Em All'', fell victim to this; the original title was ''Metal Up Your Ass'', with the cover art showing an electric guitar, complete with spikes and barbed wire, sticking straight up out of a toilet.
* ChartDisplacement: Their sole top-10 hit on the ''Billboard Hot 100'', "Until It Sleeps", is nowhere near as popular as "Master of Puppets", "Enter Sandman", or "One".
* ConceptAlbum:
** ''Music/RideTheLightning'', ''Music/MasterOfPuppets'', and ''...And Justice for All'' each have thematic elements linking their songs together (death, those whose fates are controlled by others or who control others' fates, and the miscarriage of justice, respectively).
** ''Death Magnetic'' is a borderline case, with Hetfield saying the general idea of the title was inspired by the untimely deaths of several friends and colleagues.
* CoverVersion: ''Lots''. They covered "Remember Tomorrow" by Music/IronMaiden for the ''Maiden Heaven'' tribute album. They also did a cover of "Ecstasy of Gold", one of the songs Ennio Morricone did for ''Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly'', and usually open their concerts with the original piece. There's also a heavier version of "Stone Cold Crazy" by Music/{{Queen}}, which they even played at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. It was one of the earliest metal songs, and numerous metal bands have played covers as a way of tribute.
** CoverAlbum: ''The $5.98 EP: Garage Days Re-Revisited'', including songs from Diamond Head, Killing Joke and The Misfits (this was also Newsted's debut). Later, an entire double album of them, ''Garage Inc.'', with one disc being reissues of their older covers and the other being new covers, including Music/BobSeger's "Turn the Page", Music/ThinLizzy's version of "Whiskey in the Jar", and Music/LynyrdSkynyrd's "Tuesday's Gone".
** They also have tribute albums of their songs covered by other artists; ''Metallic Attack: The Ultimate Tribute'' by other metal artists and one by punk artists, ''A Punk Tribute To Metallica''.
*** There's also a ''quadrilogy'' of cover albums from the Cleopatra Records label. If you've ever wondered what Metallica would sound like through a gothic rock / industrial lens, ''The Blackest Album'' 1, 2, 3 & 4 may be for you.
** Generally speaking, if Metallica covers a song, it's going to be awesome. Even ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=224gm8JEVx0 music]].
*** And the reverse works too: You know you made it really big when [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg6e_tbbmqI one of your favourite bands covers one of your songs]].
* CulturedBadass: Metallica's lyrics often deal with deep concepts in a highly poetic style, complete with high literature references and honest philosophical contemplation -- [[SophisticatedAsHell interlaced with profanity]] and {{Metal Scream}}s. Additionally, even some of the most vocal members of metal and thrash's {{Hatedom}} acknowledge Metallica as [[TheOneThingIDontHateAboutYou possibly not an insult to music]]. The band's music often features rich, complex composition, and precise, skilled musicianship side by side with raw, passionate improvisation and pioneering experimentation. If some of their work may occasionally sound like something you've heard before, it's because [[SeinfeldIsUnfunny there are few artists in metal today who don't acknowledge them as a major influence]], and fewer still who aren't just unwilling to admit it.
* DistinctDoubleAlbum: The compilation of covers, ''Garage Inc.''
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness:
** The pre-''Kill 'Em All'' demos. James is imitating [[Music/DiamondHead Sean Harris]], Dave is writing lyrics about sex, Ron is plunking along and Lars' drum kit sounds like a cutlery cupboard being opened and closed. The production quality is also often (no surprise) quite poor.
** ''Kill 'Em All'' counts both in the production quality grounds (the sound isn't as clear as anything from ''Music/RideTheLightning'' onwards), and the NWOBHM-style music, having the band's only HeavyMeta lyrics.
* EpicRocking: They frequently have songs over 5 minutes long, but some really fit the trope, such as "One", "To Live is to Die", "The Outlaw Torn", "...And Justice for All" (the song), "Suicide & Redemption", and the [[Music/KingDiamond Mercyful Fate]] medley "Mercyful Fate".
** Considering the 5-minute referential, ''Death Magnetic'' and ''...And Justice For All'' (the album) are 100% made of this trope. Each has only one song below six minutes ("My Apocalypse" and "Dyers Eve" respectively), but they later wrote a new intro available for free download to "My Apocalypse", which makes it over six minutes. Not to mention every album since the self-titled one surpasses the 70 minute mark (''Load'' clocks in at 78:59, which was the longest the manufacturing company could guarantee them without causing the CD to skip! And that's after shortening "The Outlaw Torn", whose uncut version lampshades with "Unencumbered by Manufacturing Restrictions Version").
*** They've written only 4 songs shorter than 4 minutes: "Motorbreath", "Holier Than Thou", "The Struggle Within" and "Wasting My Hate".
** The ''Lulu'' album has 3 songs over 10 minutes, with the longest being "Junior Dad", which is almost ''20 minutes'' long!
** ''Hardwired...to Self-Destruct'' and ''St. Anger'' both make extensive use of this trope, as well. After the first track, not a single track on ''Hardwired'' is less than five minutes long, and all but three are longer than six, with "Halo on Fire", the longest, topping out at over eight. And of course, the album itself is seventy-seven and a half minutes long, forcing its songs to be spread across two disks. The bonus disc isn't as consistent an employer of this trope, but the longest track, the Ronnie James Dio medley, is over nine minutes long, and several other songs top the six-minute mark. As for ''St. Anger'', every song tops the five-minute long mark and six of them top seven ("All Within My Hands", the longest track, is nearly nine minutes long).
* FindTheCure: "Cure"
* ForDoomTheBellTolls: "For Whom the Bell Tolls", obviously. [[EverythingIsAnInstrument (the sound is actually Lars hitting an anvil)]]
* HeartbeatSoundtrack: "That Was Just Your Life" starts with a few seconds of heartbeats before the opening riff.
* {{Instrumentals}}: "(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth", "The Call of Ktulu", "Orion", "To Live is to Die", "Suicide & Redemption". The first four feature Cliff Burton prominently, even though "To Live [...]" only has a vocal part from him. "Suicide & Redemption", on the ''Guitar Hero'' soundtrack, actually has two versions, with solos from Hammett and Hetfield respectively.
* LampshadeHanging: "King Nothing" is structurally identical to "Enter Sandman". The last line of the song is "Off to never never land..."
* LargeHam: Whenever James is being overtly evil, he [[MetalScream screams]] and hams up. "CANNOT KILL THE BATTA-RY!"
* LoudnessWar: ''Death Magnetic'' is particularly infamous for this.
** And yet the ''VideoGame/GuitarHero'' song pack has the unaltered master tracks that avoid this, [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRyIACDCc1I no seriously]]. The general rule for ''Death Magnetic'' is to buy the album, throw it out, [[KeepCirculatingTheTapes and burn this version instead]].
** ''Beyond Magnetic'', being songs left over from the sessions for DM, has a rough mix that's very loud, but is more dynamic and less clipped than the original master of DM (though still quite clipped in comparison to most other albums, even in modern times). The remaster of DM is substantially more dynamic and substantially less clipped than ''Beyond'', though.
** ''Death Magnetic'' was remastered in 2015/2016 (originally released as the Mastered for iTunes version, then the 24-bit masters for those were released on Metallica's site), and it's a substantial improvement. The new score is [=DR7=], which isn't ''great'', but is a hell of a lot better than the original's [=DR3=], and more importantly, it avoids the original's clipping issues (it's still slightly clipped, but compared to most modern records it's not even noticeable). This is probably how the album was intended to sound in the first place.
** ''Hardwired...to Self-Destruct'' comes out to [=DR6=], which isn't great, but is certainly a hell of a lot better than ''Death Magnetic''. Music/{{Radiohead}} and Music/DavidBowie's 2016 albums were louder than Metallica's, for whatever that's worth.
* LyricalColdOpen: "Gimme fuel, gimme fire, gimme that which I desire- uh!"
* {{Medley}}:
** Giving a recorded example, we have the appropriately named "Mercyful Fate" on ''Garage Inc.'' which mashes up five songs from Music/KingDiamond's old band.
** During the Load tour, a mash-up of older songs called "Kill / Ride Medley" was frequently used. Similarly, a medley of ''Justice'' songs was performed during the Black Album tour; a version of this can be found on ''Live Shit: Binge & Purge''.
** The band recorded another medley of songs for a Music/RonnieJamesDio tribute album, which they entitled "Ronnie Rising Medley". It's also available on the deluxe edition of ''Hardwired...to Self-Destruct''.
** Though it wasn't officially called a medley, when they covered Music/{{Black Sabbath}}'s "Sabbra Cadabra", they also spliced part of "A National Acrobat" into it.
* MetalScream: Metallica are gods at this.
* MohsScaleOfRockAndMetalHardness: Every song in the 80's ranged from 6 ("Fade to Black", "One") to 9 ("Battery", "Disposable Heroes"). The Black Album's songs are mostly between 6-8, with "The Unforgiven" around a 4 and "Nothing Else Matters" at a 3. The ''Load''s were 6 and 7, with some 2-4s in there as ballads, and a couple songs (such as "Fuel" and "Wasting My Hate") bordering on 8. "Hero of the Day" has arguably the widest spread of any Metallica song, from about 2 on the softest parts to 8 on the hardest. ''St. Anger'', ''Death Magnetic'', and ''Hardwired...To Self-Destruct'' are back to mostly 6-9 range, while ''Lulu'' literally hits everything from 1 to at least 8.
** Live, hardness can vary thanks to differences of speed in the album versions. Notably, during the ''Music/MasterOfPuppets'' tour, many songs were played much faster (and performed with gruffer vocals) than their studio recordings, making songs like "Fight Fire with Fire" even higher 9's.
** MohsScaleOfLyricalHardness: The band also ranks pretty high on this scale, where aside the instrumentals nothing is below a 5 -- even the ballads are angsty self-reflections.
* NeverTrustATitle: The song "Through the Never" does not appear in the concert movie ''Through the Never'' or the soundtrack accompanying it.
* NewSoundAlbum: ''The Black Album'', ''Load'' and ''[=ReLoad=]'', ''St. Anger'', ''S & M''. Inverted with ''Death Magnetic'', [[RevisitingTheRoots an "Old Sound Album"]]. ''Hardwired...to Self-Destruct'' provides a strange example because, unexpectedly, it combines elements of the sounds of ''Load'' and ''[=ReLoad=]'' and of ''...And Justice for All'' alongside use of melody that perhaps eclipses that found on any previous Metallica record.
* NonAppearingTitle: "Fade to Black", [[TitleTrack "Ride the Lightning", "...And Justice for All"]], "Disposable Heroes", "Enter Sandman" and "The Unforgiven III".
** Additionally, while "Enter Sandman" doesn't have a line that goes "enter sandman", it does have the following:
---> ''Keep you free from sin / 'till the sandman he comes''
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: Hetfield sometimes sings with great emphasis on ''syllables'' at times. A good recorded example is "Through the Never." (that album marks the point where this became prevalent in their music, apparently [[EnforcedTrope enforced]]: Bob Rock asked James to get [[SesquipedalianLoquaciousness less wordy]] and said the emphasis helped shorter lyrics fit the timing).
* RhymingWithItself: In "Harvester of Sorrow":
--> My life suffocates\\
Planting seeds of '''hate'''\\
I've loved, turned to '''hate'''\\
Trapped far beyond my fate
* SelfBackingVocalist: Hetfield does all the backing vocals himself on the albums. At concerts, Kirk, Jason, and now Rob do the backing vocals.
* SomethingSomethingLeonardBernstein: "Battery".
* SongStyleShift: "Fade to Black", "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)", "One" and "The Day That Never Comes". Furthermore, their instrumentals after ''Ride'' mellow out considerably two thirds in before becoming heavy again.
* SophisticatedAsHell: When introducing the song "Seek and Destroy" live (as seen in their 1989 Seattle show), James would sometimes say the title in a faux-fancy manner.
-->'''James''': It goes something like "[[PunctuatedForEmphasis Seek... and...]] ''[[PunctuatedForEmphasis Destroy.]]''"
** The band's lyrics in general can be this; they are often quite intellectual, based on literary sources or thoughtful political protest, but contain [[PrecisionFStrike Precision F-Strikes]] and the like.
* SpeedyTechnoRemake: "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cG1GeGRXrMY YOU LIVE IT YOU LIE IT]]", a happy hardcore remix of "Frantic", made by the electronic musician Renard under their "Captain Gotobed" alias.
* StrictlyFormula: A few of Metallica's albums seem to follow a specific formula when it comes to track order: A relatively slow song is placed as track four, the second-to-last track is an instrumental track with no singing, and the final track is a high-speed thrasher. ''Music/RideTheLightning, Music/MasterOfPuppets, ...And Justice for All'', and ''Death Magnetic'' all follow this formula (with the sole exception that the places of the instrumental and the high-speed thrasher are switched on ''Ride the Lightning'').
* SurprisinglyGentleSong: "Nothing Else Matters", "Mama Said", "Low Man's Lyric", "Little Dog", and "Junior Dad". "Fade to Black", "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)", "One", "The Day That Never Comes, and "Hero of the Day" start out like this, but build up in intensity.
* ToTheTuneOf:
** Metallica borrowed the intro of Bleak House's [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zowid7KAmnM "Rainbow Warrior"]] for "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)"; the bridge is based on [[Music/{{Rush}} "Tom Sawyer"]]. The latter was acknowledged / lampshaded by thanking Rush in the ''Music/MasterOfPuppets'' liner notes.
** They lifted large parts of "Children of the Damned" by Music/IronMaiden for "The Unforgiven II".
** The opening notes of "Don't Tread on Me" are from "America" from the musical ''Theatre/WestSideStory''.
* TitleTrack: "Ride the Lightning", "Master of Puppets", "...And Justice for All", "St. Anger"... and "Hardwired", which does employ a full AlbumTitleDrop on the chorus.
* UncommonTime: Showed up sometimes during their thrash days; for example the verses of "...And Justice For All" are in 7/4. They're back to using it a lot on ''Hardwired...to Self-Destruct''.

[[folder: Music Videos]]

* BingeMontage: The video for "Whiskey in the Jar."
* UsefulNotes/ColdWar: "All Nightmare Long", which also includes generous helpings of ZombieApocalypse for good measure.
* {{Fanservice}} / FanDisservice: The video for "Whiskey in the Jar", which features lots of scantily-clad women and [[HoYay LesYay]], but also features closeups of women vomiting and using the toilet.
* LyricsVideoMismatch / MusicVideoOvershadowing: Both "Turn the Page" (the song is about a musician, the video about a stripper) and "All Nightmare Long" (instead of an EldritchAbomination, [[SovietSuperscience soviet zombies]]).
* MindScrew: "The Unforgiven", "The Unforgiven II", and "Until It Sleeps".
* NightmareSequence: "Enter Sandman".
* SingleMomStripper: The video for "Turn the Page" features one of these, and it just gets darker and more depressing from there.
* SurrealMusicVideo: "Until It Sleeps", which is full of imagery taken from the surreal paintings of 16th century Dutch painter Creator/HieronymusBosch.
* VideoFullOfFilmClips: Inverted with "One," as the band actually bought the rights to ''Literature/JohnnyGotHisGun'' so they could use it in the video. [[KeepCirculatingTheTapes Unfortunately, they failed to license the film to a different company for home video for a couple of decades afterwards.]]
* WildTeenParty: One of the most raucous house parties ever recorded on film for "Whiskey in the Jar."
* UsefulNotes/WorldWarI:
** "One", specifically the footage from ''Johnny Got His Gun''. The song itself is more evocative of post-UsefulNotes/{{W|orldWarII}}WII battle due to the helicopter in the intro.
** It's easy to excuse people mistaking "For Whom the Bell Tolls" for another song on that theme, but it's actually about ([[Literature/ForWhomTheBellTolls a book about]]) the UsefulNotes/SpanishCivilWar.
* ZombieApocalypse: "All Nightmare Long."