No band has ever failed to live up to its own potential quite like Metallica. While the other three quarters of thrash metal's "big four" (Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer) still cut records and tour for receptive audiences, Metallica moved on to Kid Rock and Nickelback territory. We're used to it now, but it's easy to forget that this was the band that made Kill 'Em All.
The general consensus on Metallica is this: They peaked with Master of Puppets. ...And Justice For All was a bit of a departure, but still a solid record. Then came the self-titled album, followed by the haircuts (Load and ReLoad), hooking up with that guy from Suicidal Tendencies to make a bad Kyuss record (St. Anger), failed attempts at reclaiming past glories (Death Magnetic) and then, well, Loutallica. I have a more heretical view of Metallica's catalog; I think they peaked at Kill 'Em All and I'm not quite sure what happened afterward.
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