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Metallica is arguably the pioneer of heavy metal in the United States. While every one of their albums has defined the genre, their most popular albums, Master of Puppets and the Black Album have sold millions of copies and initially brought heavy metal into the public eye. Metallica's tour dates have sold-out the world over and brought fans back again and again for twenty years. Currently, Metallica is blowing the minds of metal fans with their 2011 concert dates as a part of the "Big 4": Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer.
In 1981, drummer Lars Ulrich persuaded Brian Slagel to let him record a song for the producer's upcoming Metal Massacre compilation. With no band to record the song with, Ulrich placed an ad in a Los Angeles newspaper, to which guitarists James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine's responded. With Hetfield on bass and vocals, the trio recorded "Hit the Lights" for the compilation. The song gained the group a small amount of popularity and they soon hired bassist Cliff Burton. Shortly before recording began on Metallica's debut album, Dave Mustaine was ejected by the other band members for excessive drug and alcohol use and violence and replaced by Kirk Hammett. Kill 'Em All was released in 1983 and, along with explosive tour dates, earned Metallica an underground following in the world of metal.
The success of the album paled in comparison to what Metallica experienced with the release of Master of Puppets in 1986. The album personified heavy metal at the time and is considered to be one of Metallica's crowning achievements. The international success of the album and its promotional tour dates was marred by tragedy when Cliff Burton was killed after Metallica's tour bus lost control and flipped over several times. With the consent of Burton's family, Metallica chose to continue and hired Jason Newsted to play bass. As if Metallica hadn't become popular enough, the release of Metallica (commonly known as The Black Album because of its cover) cemented their place as metal gods. The album marked a clear dividing line between "new" and "old" Metallica, as their newer albums showed a wider range of accessibility. Shortly after world wide tour dates, but before heading to the studio to record a new album, bassist Jason Newsted left the band and the Metallica hired former Suicidal Tendencies bassist Robert Trujillo to replace him. Metallica then released St. Anger in 2003, which won a 2004 Grammy for Best Metal Performance, making it the band's ninth Grammy win. After promotional tour dates for the album, Metallica has significantly reduced their concert dates in recent years.
Metallica is currently setting Europe ablaze with 2011 concert dates as a part of the "Big Four". The Big Four has five more tour dates in early July, including stops in Germany, Sweden, Italy, the UK, and France. Metallica will then go on to play a few more tour dates, including the Festival d'ete de Quebec on June 16, Rock in Rio on September 25, and F1 Rocks in Delhi on October 28. Metallica will also make a special tour date appearance at Yankee Stadium in New York on September 14, and a concert date at Bangalore Palace in India on October 30.
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