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Metallica is an American heavy metal band formed in October 1981. With 57 million albums sold in the United States (RIAA Total Sales), and 40 million albums sold outside the US, the total number of album sales is approximately 100 million. The band has become one of the most commercially successful heavy metal acts in history, as well as the 18th biggest selling act in American music history.
After building a following through its role in the development of modern heavy metal, especially thrash metal, (considered, along with Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax as one of the "big four" of thrash metal) in the mid-1980s, the band broadened its audience in the early 1990s. Accordingly, the band stood as the most commercially visible example of the metal genre for most of that decade. In contrast, Metallica's vastly increased commercial success was accompanied by stylistic changes that fostered accusations of "selling out".
In 2003 Metallica released their 8th studio album, entitled St. Anger, a collection of the most aggressive music they had written in a decade. Although critical reviews for the album were deeply divided, their 2004 "Madly in Anger with the World" tour in support of the album remained very successful.