Ranking Metallica is rough — especially when you go beyond ranking the legendary metal band's albums and start grading individual Metallica songs next to each other. But with the group's upcoming album 72 Seasons on the horizon, what better time than now to talk Metallica tunes and dive deep into the band's catalog?

And what better way to start ranking Metallica songs than to rate the opening track on each album?

See our ranking down toward the bottom of this page.

After all, with Metallica, there are a lot of great album openers. Both some early and later Metallica albums have powerful first tracks that — we feel most fans wouldn't argue — are among the most memorable in the genre. What's your favorite Metallica album opener?

See if you agree with our ranking, which spans from the opening track on Metallica's 1983 debut, Kill 'Em All, all the way through the first tune on their last LP, 2016's Hardwired… To Self-Destruct. (It doesn't include Lulu, Metallica's album with Lou Reed, though the band considers it canon in their discography.)

Metallica's Latest, 72 Seasons, Is on the Way

Metallica's 72 Seasons arrives this spring. But as of this writing, we haven't yet heard the effort's opening number — its title track. The 72 Seasons singles "Lux Æterna" (November 2022) and "Screaming Suicide" (January 2023) have emerged so far.

"Is there a special meaning to the title?" Metallica singer-guitarist James Hetfield explained when 72 Seasons was announced in 2022. "Seventy-two seasons. The first 18 years of our lives that form our true or false selves. The concept that we were told 'who we are' by our parents. A possible pigeonholing around what kind of personality we are."

Metallica discography and photo collage
Blackened (8) / Michael Loccisano, Getty Images

The rocker added, "I think the most interesting part of this is the continued study of those core beliefs and how it affects our perception of the world today. Much of our adult experience is reenactment or reaction to these childhood experiences. Prisoners of childhood or breaking free of those bondages we carry."

How Metallica's New Era Got a Jumpstart

Last year, a Metallica song on Netflix's Stranger Things gave the act renewed mainstream visibility. On the Season 4 finale, the character Eddie Munson plays "Master of Puppets" on guitar in a scene. Metallica subsequently welcomed new fans before some seemingly attempted to "cancel" the band.

Meanwhile, Metallica continue to help around the world with their All Within My Hands Foundation. They gave $250,00 in aid after the 2023 Turkey–Syria earthquake and donated $100,000 following tropical cyclones in 2022. They gave $20,000 to a Pittsburgh women's shelter after a 2022 gig in the city.

Keep scrolling down to see how we ranked Metallica album openers. 72 Seasons arrives April 14. Metallica are touring through 2024. Get Metallica tickets here.

Ranking the Opening Song on Every Metallica Album

We ranked the opening track on every one of Metallica's studio albums.

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A photo timeline of Metallica's career.