Metallica have released some of the most hard-hitting mainstream metal of the past 30 years — and the debate surrounding some of their albums is almost as ferocious as the music. In this installment of Worst to Best, we join the fray by ranking each of the band's LPs.

Since marking their full-length debut with Kill 'Em All in 1983, they haven't exactly been prolific — depending on whether you decide to count Lulu, their 2011 collaboration with Lou Reed, they've either released nine or 10 studio albums, making it a little easier to organize things at least in terms of quantity.

But ordering them from worst to best represents a dilemma almost as crushing as James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett's riffs, and it's one we tackled with the caveats that — as always — "worst" doesn't necessarily mean bad, and this list only represents our opinion at the time we made it; ask us tomorrow, and we might rank these records differently.

With that out of the way, here's a stroll through one of the heaviest discographies assembled over the past 30 years and change, from bravely misguided lowlights (did we count Lulu? You'll have to watch the video to see) all the way to undisputed classics of the genre like the career-crowning trifecta of Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and the aforementioned Kill 'Em All. How does our list match up against yours? Just hit "play" to find out, and after you've finished banging your head, we can argue it out in the comments.

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