Metallica is an American heavy metal band based in San Rafael, California. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles by drummer Lars Ulrich and vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield. Metallica's current lineup comprises founding members Hetfield and Ulrich, longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, and bassist Robert Trujillo. The band's fast tempos, instrumentals, and aggressive musicianship placed them as one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer. Metallica earned a growing fan base in the underground music community and has won critical acclaim.
Metallica has released ten studio albums, four live albums, five extended plays, 39 music videos, and 37 singles. The band has won eight Grammy Awards and six of its albums have consecutively debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. The band's eponymous 1991 album has sold over 16 million copies in the United States, making it the best-selling album of the SoundScan era. Metallica ranks as one of the most commercially successful bands of all time, having sold over 110 million records worldwide. Metallica has been listed as one of the greatest artists of all time by many magazines, including Rolling Stone, which ranked them 61st on its list of The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. As of 2017, Metallica is the third-best-selling music artist since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991, selling a total of 58 million albums in the US.