Metallica’s ‘The Black Album’ Is 25 Years Old

This 1991 masterpiece was the band’s most successful and divisive record.

On Friday, one of the most famous metal albums of all time hits the quarter-century mark. That’s right, Metallica’s self-titled breakthrough—commonly referred to as “The Black Album”—is turning 25.

It’s easily their biggest overall hit, having sold more than 16 million copies. The next best selling record, …And Justice for All, is just as brilliant, but it has sold a little less than five and a half million copies.

You probably know Black Album as the record that contained the band’s mega-hit, “Enter Sandman.”

The Black Album came under scrutiny from OG Metallica fans after release because the band dropped their fast, aggressive sound in favor of catchy chorus hooks and slower song progression.

Frontman James Hetfield publicly defended the group’s sound during the album’s media tour in 1991, defying critics when the album debuted at number one on the Billboard charts and dominated for a month.

The album would go on to be platinum 16 times over. That same year Metallica also played one of the largest concerts of all time rocking 1.6 million people at a Moscow music festival.

Whether we’re talking about “Enter Sandman,” “The Unforgiven,” “Nothing Else Matters,” or “Sad But True,” there’s no denying that The Black Album is a significant contribution to rock in general and a legendary collection of hits.

Whether you call it The Black Album or Metallica or Untitled or whatever may be irrelevant, because it’s timeless. Long after Hetfield has put down his axe and Lars Ulrich is done with the drums, heads will still be banging.