There are moments of indecision when compiling the above gallery of Metallica Albums, Ranked Worst to Best. After all, we really could have had – for the first time ever – a three-way tie for first. How much do you weight the unbridled popularity of their 1991 self-titled album? And what to do, really, with Lulu?

They rose to fame, of course, as part of a fierce cadre of bands who injected an aggressive new energy into metal, helping to revolutionize the genre with other early thrash legends like Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer. But co-founders James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich haven't been content to rest on those laurels – something that's earned them millions of new fans even as it caused some older ones to scratch their heads.

Their second era, which lasted from 1990-2003, saw them collaborate with producer Bob Rock and achieve huge commercial success. At one point, Rock even served as bassist in the group between the tenures of Jason Newsted and Robert Trujillo. But that period also saw big changes in the way Metallica approached their craft. Subsequent experiments included a collaboration with rock legend Lou Reed which deeply divided supporters from both camps.

Which record of original songs ranked as the pinnacle? Click through the above gallery, as offer our look at Metallica Albums, Ranked Worst to Best. And, as always, we remind you that "worst" doesn't always mean "bad" – and our opinions can change as soon as tomorrow.