Metallica are one of the most important bands in the history of heavy metal, which makes choosing the best song from each of their studio albums a rather daunting task.

Their first four studio projects helped lay the groundwork for the thrash revolution which reinvigorated the genre in the early '80s. After reaching something of a creative dead end at the end of that decade, Metallica simplified their sound for 1991's "Black Album," which earned them the largest commercial success a heavy metal band has ever seen, but also alienated some of their original fans.

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Sporadic studio output over the following two decades often found Metallica pushing at the boundaries of fan expectations, as they added Southern rock, country and other elements into their music with mixed but typically interesting results. Many of us are still trying to figure out what they were trying to accomplish with 2003's St. Anger, which found Metallica completely turning their backs on guitar solos and willfully unlearning everything producers ever taught them about making drums sound good on record.

Five years later, Metallica made a welcome return to their sophisticated trash roots with Death Magnetic, only to steer directly into confounding territory again with a much maligned collaboration with Lou Reed. They then turned back to familiar territory once more with 2016's Hardwired... to Self-Destruct. It's been one hell of a ride, and we're here to try and sort out the individual highlights from every step along the way.