Metallica’s ‘Black Album’ Hits New Sales Record; Remains No. 1 Charting Album In Soundscan

Metallica’s 1991 self-titled album, best known as The Black Album, a record which has remained a sort of crossroads for the legendary hyper thrash/hyper progressive foursome, has for a long time been the best-selling album in the history of Nielsen Soundscan. Now, the record has become the first album to scan over 16 million units in SoundScan’s history.

The Black Album also holds the record for the most weeks spent on the Billboard 200 chart in the Nielsen SoundScan era, perched high up atop that vaunted spot for a mind-boggling 307 weeks and counting, as well as being the third-longest charted record in Billboard history. This distinction makes The Black Album only trail behind only two other seminal and influential records which hold the number one and two spot in that category — Pink Floyd’s sonic landmark Dark Side of the Moon and singer/songwriter Carole King’s emotional and complex pop music magnum opus Tapestry respectively. It’s also the sixth longest-charting album of any kind in Billboard history.

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Streaming Review: Classic Albums: Metallica: The Black Album

Classic Albums – Metallica: The Black Album
Directed by Matthew Longfellow
Starring James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Jason Newsted, Bob Rock
Eagle Rock Entertainment
Originally Released: November 06, 2001

With the buzz surrounding Metallica‘s upcoming movie, Through The Never, I thought I’d take a glance back at the band during a major turning point in their career that would see them go from heroes of the Thrash Metal scene, to a worldwide phenomenon. The Black Album became Metallica’s springboard to international recognition, propelling into the mainstream, an accomplishment that still largely divides fans to this day.

Prior to 1991, Metallica’s reputation was legendary among metalheads following underground movements. During the Eighties, as far as MTV was concerned, Heavy Metal was all glam and hair; with bands such as Ratt and Poison taking a front seat in the mayhem mainstream. But elsewhere, metalheads knew there was far more to the rapidly growing genre, and that there was more variety in the scene that involved less hairspray and less lipstick.

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Metallica: 20th Anniversary Of The ‘Black Album’

Metallica – The Black Album
U.S.: CD | MP3
UK: CD | MP3
Recorded October 1990 – June 1991
Released August 13, 1991

At the end of the 1980s, an epic battle was about to take place. Grunge was wafting its sweaty cardigan in the direction of the drainpipe-trousered metallers hoping to lay claim to their throne. One band was not about to concede the new decade to any pretenders and set about writing not only one of the defining albums of the decade, but one of the greatest metal albums of all time. The almighty Black Album arrived, and nobody was going to remove Metallica‘s crown.

Officially titled Metallica, it became known as the Black Album thanks to the cover art. It’s black. Released August 13, 1991, it demonstrated a marked change for Metallica. The band’s thrash-heavy, white-hot relentless riffs were replaced by a slower, heavier sound that was less like a machine-gun attack and more like a steady series of hammer blows. On previous albums like “¦And Justice or All and Master Of Puppets, Metallica showcased their songwriting abilities through epic, challenging musical pieces. This time, however, they went in the opposite direction and kept everything much more simple. The riffs were shorter and catchier and in “Nothing Else Matters” they even have a love song that is actually my favourite track on the album. The galloping riffs of “Through The Never,” “The Struggle Within,” and “Holier Than Thou” prove that Metallica is still the same band. Much of this praise — or blame — was laid at the feet of producer-of-the-moment Bob Rock.

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