Hotel rooms and motorways / Life out here is raw / But we will never stop / We will never quit / cause YOU'RE Metallica
...And Justice For All. They had just lost arguably the driving force behind their musical evolution into the nine-minute epic-writing band we know them as today and were pissed at having to hire a replacement (the perpetual Butt MonkeyJason Newsted). They somehow channeled that into an album that had enough sheer force behind every song to make every song, from the opening reversed-guitar intro to "Blackened" to the last thrash-tastic moments of "Dyers Eve", an expression of the raw fury they felt at the time. They even managed to score a Grammy off "One", which cemented their meteoric rise to fame.
"One" is also #3 on best Solo and #5 on best song according to Top Ten.com anyway.
Speaking of Grammys, arguably their Moment of Awesome really came when ...And Justice For All LOST to Jethro Tull for the Best Hard Rock Album Grammy. The upset, more than anything else, put Metallica on the mainstream map.
Master of Puppets if only for the title song, and "Battery", but consensus says the entire album qualifies. There's a reason why so many web sites and metal magazines have ranked it as the greatest metal album of all time; it's pure, distilled awesome from start to finish.
"Orion" is one hell of an instrumental. In fact, that whole album reeks of awesomeness, give "Battery" a listen and try to tell me otherwise.
Their debut album, 1983's Kill 'Em All, which may just blow Master of Puppets clear out of the water. "Hit the Lights" is just fucking awesome: not even rabid metal fans had heard a song that fast before! "Motorbreath" is similarly insane, and "The Four Horsemen" is just plain spooky.
Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra's "S&M" performance. See "The Call of Ktulu". It raises the feeling of being with a monster without saying a word.
The S&M "The Thing That Should Not Be" could even surpass the original version.
The performance of "For Whom The Bell Tolls" at the same concert was breathtakingly amazing. The whole performance is basically a Concert of Awesome.
The S&M version of "The Ecstasy of Gold" is just breathtaking and sends chills up the spine. It's unbelievable.
The S&M version of "Battery" is absolutely amazing. Not only is it an absolutely intense song, the intro is complemented to perfection by the Orchestra. Finally, the intensity of the vocals combined with the excellent instrumentals on both sides is absolutely orgasmic.
You will find the words "Metallica instrumental" to be sufficient qualification for the Crowning of a song.
Since Load was such a stylistic change for Metallica, it contains several excellent songs that frequently get overlooked - but the most awesome track off that album would have to be "Hero of the Day". (With an honorable mention to "Bleeding Me", "King Nothing", and "The Outlaw Torn".)
Ride the Lightning deserves a mention, if only for the title track and "For Whom The Bell Tolls".
Alternatively, every song. Except maybe "Escape". Least interesting song on the album? Maybe. Still a good fucking song? Duh. It's Metallica.
"Fade to Black" is another standout; it was their first ballad, and one of the best.
Some songs are admittedly overlong, but highlights from this album include "Frantic", "Sweet Amber" and "The Unnamed Feeling".
The Beyond Magnetic EP. These four songs were cut from Death Magnetic, and finally released in their rough mixes. The song "Shine" finally got released as "Just a Bullet Away" and is totally epic. Also, "The Rebel of Babylon" is a tearjerking tribute to Layne Stayley. This should set aside all doubts about Metallica that stem from LuLu.
Speaking of Lulu, while it may have a reputation as "that album everybody hates", it's not half bad if you pretend Lou Reed isn't mumbling. In fact, there are videos on Youtube with Lou Reed removed from the songs.