|Released||August 12, 1991|
|Recorded||October 6, 1990 – June 16, 1991|
Metallica (commonly known as The Black Album) is the fifth studio album by American
Metallica received widespread critical acclaim and became the band's best-selling album. It debuted at number one in ten countries and spent four consecutive weeks at the top of the
At the time of Metallica's recording, the band's songs were written mainly by frontman
Four demos for the album were recorded on August 13, 1990; "
Because it was Rock's first time producing a Metallica album, he had the band make the album in different ways; he asked them to record songs collaboratively rather than individually in separate locations. He also suggested recording tracks live and using harmonic vocals for Hetfield. Rock was expecting the production to be "easy" but had trouble working with the band, leading to frequent, engaged arguments with the band members over aspects of the album. Rock wanted Hetfield to write better lyrics and found his experience recording with Metallica disappointing. Since the band was perfectionist, Rock insisted they recorded as many takes as needed to get the sound they wanted. The album was remixed three times and cost US$1 million. The troubled production coincided with Ulrich, Hammett, and Newsted divorcing their wives; Hammett said this influenced their playing because they were "trying to take those feeling of guilt and failure and channel them into the music, to get something positive out of it".
Rock altered Metallica's familiar recording routine and the recording experience was so stressful that Rock briefly swore never to work with the band again. The tension between band and producer was documented in A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica and Classic Albums: Metallica – Metallica, documentaries that explore the intense recording process that resulted in Metallica. Despite the controversies between the band and Rock, he continued to work with Metallica through the 2003 album