Metallica: a career in pictures

31st Jul 2009 | 11:59

Metallica: a career in pictures
Metallica: a career in pictures
From teenage speed metal pioneers to globe-straddling rock titans

Sunday 2 August sees Metallica headline the UK leg of the Sonisphere Festival at Knebworth in Hertfordshire. This picture gallery charts the band's journey from the San Francisco Bay Area thrash scene to the dizzy heights of Grammy awards, sold-out stadiums and the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Next page: the Mustaine years

Metallica: a career in pictures
The Dave Mustaine era
James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine: "too much personality" for one band?

Although his tenure as Metallica's lead guitarist was brief, Dave Mustaine would be credited for writing contributions on both the Kill 'Em All and Ride The Lightning LPs. After decades of acrimony, relations finally seem to be thawing a little, with Mustaine congratulating his former bandmates on their induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2009.

Metallica: a career in pictures
1983: The classic lineup
L-R: Kirk Hammett, Cliff Burton, Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield

Despite the highschool yearbook appearance in this portrait from the back cover of Kill 'Em All, the classic Metallica lineup of Hetfield, Ulrich, Hammett and Burton would go on to define a genre across their first three albums, peaking with arguably the definitive thrash album, Master Of Puppets.

Metallica: a career in pictures
Masters of a genre
James Hetfield on stage in 1986

Master Of Puppets was Metallica's first Gold record, shifting half a million copies without mainstream radio support or a single release. Live, the band were at the peak of their powers until tragedy struck on 27 September 1986 as their tourbus skidded and crashed, killing bassist Cliff Burton. It was the end of an era. James Hetfield: "Without Cliff, we wouldn't be where we are today."

Metallica: a career in pictures
A new kid on the block
Jason Newsted (left) on the Garage Days EP cover

Flotsam And Jetsam bassist Jason Newsted was selected from around 30 other musicians who auditioned to be Metallica's new bass player. He played on the mighty, amazingly bleak ...And Justice For All LP, but his basslines are virtually inaudible due to an inexplicable mix that hamstrings the album's potential to usurp 'Puppets as the band's defining statement.

Metallica: a career in pictures
Fade to 'Black'
As the 90s ushered in a newfound level of stardom, shades were the only option

1991's Bob Rock-produced eponymous LP, aka 'The Black Album', was the springboard for huge mainstream success. The glossier sound and pop hooks at the heart of the likes of Enter Sandman and Sad But True were a long way from the sound and sensibilities of the Bay Area thrash scene.

Metallica: a career in pictures
Let the awards roll in
Lars had clearly been on holiday

1992 saw Metallica scoop their third successive Grammy for Best Metal Performance. At this point they were well on their way to becoming the biggest rock band on the planet.

Metallica: a career in pictures
A mainstream concern
Metallica dress to impress at the 1997 American Music Awards

By the mid nineties and the Load and ReLoad LPs, Metallica's sound and image was that of a mainstream hard rock band. They were still selling millions of records but were barely recogniseable to many old-school thrash fans. When Jason Newsted departed in January 2001, a new dawn beckoned...

Metallica: a career in pictures
Spinal Tap meets The Office?
Metallica at the Some Kind Of Monster premiere with new bassist Robert Trujillo and filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky

Some Kind Of Monster, released in early 2004, is perhaps the ultimate rock movie. As an insight into the world of a huge rock band wrestling with egos, addictions, internal power-struggles and erm, jumper-wearing therapists, it's unbeatable.

Metallica: a career in pictures
Death Magnetic
Return of the thrash

After the St Anger debacle, 2008's Death Magnetic saw Metallica enlist Rick Rubin on production duties and bring back the thrash on Death Magnetic. Robert Trujillo's first studio record as Metallica bassist would cause controversy for its super-loud mastering, but Lars was characteristically beligerent, commenting: "It sounds fuckin' smokin'!"

Metallica: a career in pictures
The kids from Fame
Metallica reunited with Newsted

4 April 2009 saw Metallica inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Current bassist Robert Trujillo shared the stage with his predecessor Jason Newsted, while Cliff Burton's father Ray accepted the honour on behalf of his late son. An emotional night.

Metallica: a career in pictures
At the rock face
Nobody pulls a meaner rock grimace than James Hetfield

Metallica headline the UK leg of Sonisphere on Sunday 2 August. Recent setlists suggest a healthy mix of old and new. See you down the front!

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