Honorable mentions: NONE. I only own five of their albums.
5. Kill ‘Em All
Also Metallica’s first album, it’s a solid B all the way around, with little to recommend for it or against it.
Best song: “Seek and Destroy”. Although how people think Sting’s theme in TNA sounded like this song is mind blowing.
Worst song: (Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth. I love Cliff Burton as a bassist, and normally I’d be enthused about a 4+ minute bass solo. Unfortunately, the sound quality is shit. I thought “hey, maybe since I bought the album in Russia, maybe it’s the CD?”, but no. Apparently horribly distorted sound is the intent.
4. …And Justice For All
I bought this one pretty much for ‘One’, and while it was good, it ended up not being my favorite song on the CD, which was kind of weird.
Best song: “To Live is to Die”. I love instrumentals, and this was amazing. For me, it just edges out ‘One’. Yes, I know there are lyrics, but over 2/3rds of the song has none, and it’s spoken word, not sung.
Worst song: “…And Justice for All.” It’s just too damned long.
3. Ride the Lightning
For a lot of people, this is their very best album. I do like a lot of it, and it’s a great metal album whether or not you’re a fan of Metallica. (Of course, I’m not sure how you can be a fan of metal and not Metallica, but okay.)
Best song: “Fade to Black.” I’m a sucker for an amazing power ballad, and this one is definitely that, although it follows the usual Metallica power ballad scheme. Start slow and ballad likely, but get faster and angrier as you progress.
Worst song: “Fight Fire with Fire” used to annoy me, but after a while it grew on me. That bumps it ahead of “Trapped Under Ice.” None of these songs are actually bad, but Trapped Under Ice is the worst of a really good bunch.
2. The Black Album
My first Metallica album, and for a long time, the only one I had. It is probably the least “metal” of their albums, which makes it good if you want to dip your toes into the genre.
Best song: This is really, really tough. I have to give the nod to “Nothing Else Matters.” It is the rare Metallica ballad that stays as a proper ballad the entire time, apart from a slight edge the second time through the chorus (which actually makes it even better). “Unforgiven” was, for a long, long time my single favorite Metallica song, but “Nothing Else Matters” is something unique.
Worst song: Ooo, this is a tough one. I guess “Through the Never,” but that’s only because something has to be the worst.
1. Master of Puppets
I bought Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets at the same time, and a friend really talked up the Ride the Lightning, but this is the better album, and for me it isn’t particularly close. It’s virtually perfect.
Best song: “Orion.” If you force me to choose one with words, it’s “Welcome Home (Sanitarium.)” I could listen to “Orion” on an infinite loop for the rest of my life and not be the least bit disappointed. Easily the best pure instrumental. “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” has some pretty bitchin’ guitar licks, and I can always go for a good song about people going insane.
Worst song: “The Thing That Should Not Be.” Now, as a song, it’s actually pretty good, but here’s my beef with it. It’s allegedly based on my favorite Lovecraft story, “The Shadow over Innsmouth”, and it really, really doesn’t fit that story. If you’re going to take the single most famous couplet out of Lovecraft:
That is not dead which can eternal lie/And with strange aeons even death may die
Then you’d better get it fucking right, asshat. Don’t give me the whole ‘meter’ or ‘rhythm’ excuse either. You work your damned song AROUND it. (If you’ve never read Lovecraft, though, it’s pretty sweet.)
I’ll do one more of these for the only other band I own more than two CDs for — Avenged Sevenfold — tomorrow.