Metallica are the biggest heavy metal band of all time. Their catalog is among the most fiercely debated in all of music, which calls for a be-all-end-all of sorts. That means ranking all 115 of their songs.

The band formed in Los Angeles in 1981 when drummer Lars Ulrich secured a spot on Metal Blade Records' Metal Massacre compilation. The problem was he didn't have a band yet and had to quickly put one together in order to have a shot at submitting a song for that forthcoming release.

At the end of the year, Ulrich met James Hetfield, then of the band Leather Charm. The two decided to rework Leather Charm's "Hit the Lights" and the track was slotted to close out the very first Metal Massacre compilation, which also featured enduring artists such as Ratt and Cirith Ungol.

The rest of Metallica's history is well-documented, from their beginnings as aspiring New Wave of British Heavy Metal worshippers to thrash's pioneer and prime mover that eventually opened the floodgates for heavy metal to truly penetrate the mainstream forevermore.

Looking back on it all, we rank every Metallica song — Lulu and cover songs not included!