100 Best Albums of the '90s

From Moby to Nirvana, the records that defined a decade

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Metallica, 'Metallica'

16. Metallica, 'Metallica'

The speed metalheads were barking, "Sellout!" the minute this baby dropped: Metallica had actually bothered to write songs, not just string ten minutes' worth of hot licks into an anti-capital-punishment suite. But in slowing the tempos down from dizzy to primal, in choosing meaty presence over mere velocity in the riffing, Metallica made a record of durable, mature violence — not to mention the biggest metal album of the decade. And don't let the orchestration and James Hetfield's thoughtful growl on "Nothing Else Matters" fool you: Metallica didn't turn into power-ballad suckers; they simply created a ballad with power.

Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: 'Metallica' by Metallica

Rolling Stone's Original 1997 Review

Photos: Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax Rock Big 4 Festival

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