Metallica's back — and back on top of the charts, too.

Billboard reports that the band's new Hardwired ... to Self-Destruct LP is on track to sell in the neighborhood of 300,000 units — more than 280,000 of which appear to be physical sales — which puts them on course for a No. 1 debut on next week's chart.

Hardwired's chart-topping act will mark Metallica's sixth No. 1 album, and although overall sales have declined in the music industry since the band achieved its mainstream breakthrough in the late '80s and early '90s, it's worth noting that their numbers remain respectable in terms of their own recent releases — and those of their peers. Billboard points out that the band's last release, 2008's Death Magnetic, moved nearly 490,000 copies in its first week and racked up roughly a million in its first month.

Looking further back, Metallica have been just as consistent. Their 2003 album St. Anger sold 418,000 copies over a shortened first week of sales; 1997's Re-Load moved 435,000 copies; 1996's Load debuted at 680,000; and 1991's Black Album opened with 598,000 in sales.

Those numbers aren't as impressive as baseline sales in the record industry's heyday, but in comparison, AC/DC's Rock or Bust moved roughly 172,000 units during its first week on the charts in 2014 — a steep tumble from the 784,000 they sold with the debut of Black Ice in 2008. Aerosmith, meanwhile, dropped from 240,000 with 2001's Just Push Play to 63,000 with 2012's Music from Another Dimension!

Long layoffs between records arguably didn't help momentum for any of the above bands, but even releasing albums regularly doesn't always add up to massive sales. Bon Jovi's new This House Is Not for Sale LP, for instance, sold roughly 129,000 copies in its first week — up from the 101,000 they posted with 2013's What About Now, but down from 2007's Lost Highway (292,000) and 2009's The Circle (163,000).

However the numbers ultimately add up, a number one record is a number one record — and if Hardwired has legs as strong as Death Magnetic's, it could end up sticking around the top of the charts for weeks to come. And with frontman James Hetfield going on record as saying the band doesn't want to wait another near-decade to deliver its next LP, their next No. 1 record might arrive even sooner than we think.

Metallica Albums, Ranked Worst to Best

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