Many fans believe that they "sold out" in the Black Album, which featured their most widely known (though not most popular) song, Enter Sandman, which was their first music video, and won best hard rock music video at the 1992 MTV music video awards.
Their most popular album is probably Master of Puppets, for the song represented in the title. Their most controversial is St. Anger, which was written shortly after James Hetfield (the lead singer) got over some really bad alcohol-related problems. Arguably the least popular member of the band is Lars Ulrich, who led Metallica's infamous lawsuit against Napster.
"Ride the Lightning" is still often referred to in popular popular culture, and is often used as a one-liner by characters in video-games and movies when killing someone with electricity.
"Totally sold out after the Black Album. I can't believe them."
"They changed their style, they didn't sell out."
"FUCK YOU, MASTER OF PUPPETS IS TEH BEST SONG EVER!"
"... Okay, but how does that actually reinforce your argument?"
"... FUCK YOU!"
In 2002 (or was it 03?) they released St. Anger, an album which shocked us again at how low they could go. They completely removed the guitar solo (a vital part of the heavy metal song) from all the songs. This resulted in their worst album and their grouping with nu-metal.
One shouldn't forget, however, that their 80's albums are some of the best from that decade, including great tracks like Fade To Black, Sanitarium, One, Ride The Lightning, Battery, The Four Horsemen, Master Of Puppets.
Friend: With the symphony? Yeah, that was cool, pity James's voice has gone down the drain.
James Hetfield - Guitar, vocals
Lars Ulrich - Drums
Kirk Hammett - Guitar
Rob Trujillo - Bass
Cliff Burton - Bass
Jason Newsted - Bass, Backing vocals
Dave Mustaine - Guitar, vocals
Ron McGoveny - Bass
Lloyd Grant - Guitar