Metallica Rages With Chart-Topping 'Anger'

Metallica's "St. Anger" explodes out of the gate, debuting at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 this week. The Elektra album sold nearly 418,000 copies in the U.S. since its release last Thursday, according

Metallica's "St. Anger" explodes out of the gate, debuting at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 this week. The Elektra album sold nearly 418,000 copies in the U.S. since its release last Thursday, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The stalwart metal act's fourth No. 1 on The Billboard 200 was originally slated for release on June 10, but was advanced five days in a move Elektra says was meant to prevent pirated copies from entering the marketplace. The early release follows similar publicity-raising tactics employed for albums by Eminem and 50 Cent.

"St. Anger," Metallica's first album since the departure of bassist Jason Newsted, bests the 300,000 units that greeted Metallica's live symphonic effort "S&M" in November 1999. The band's 1996 album "Load" sold 680,000 copies in its first week, and its self-titled 1991 set (aka "The Black Album") opened with sales of more than 500,000 copies.

The title track of the new album bowed at No. 2 last week on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks tally, the highest entry on the survey since Van Halen's "Without You" debuted at No. 1 in March 1998.

"St. Anger" is one of four top-10 debuts on The Billboard 200 this week, and is followed closely by Jewel's latest Atlantic album, "0304." A departure for an artist known for her acoustic folk-leaning fare, the dance-oriented release sold 144,000 copies to give Jewel the highest-charting debut week of her career.

Jewel's 2001 effort "This Way" opened at No. 9 with sales of 140,000 copies, and has sold 1.5 million to date. The new album's first single, "Intuition," has already become a top-40 hit on Billboard's Hot 100.

50 Cent's "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" (Shady/Interscope) slips one slot to No. 3 behind Metallica and Jewel. The album sold 99,000 copies in its 18th week on the chart, a 9% dip from the previous week. Evanescence's "Fallen" (Wind-Up) was on par with its total from last week, selling 90,000 copies, but falls to No. 4.

Up three positions to No. 5 is the Murder Inc./Def Jam soundtrack to "2 Fast 2 Furious," which sold 88,000 copies in its second week, a 17% gain. Train's "My Private Nation" (Columbia) sold 87,000 copies to open at No. 6 on The Billboard 200. The feat ties the opening-week entry of its 2001 set "Drops of Jupiter." That album sold slightly less (81,000 copies) in its first week, and has moved 2.3 million to date.

Lonestar's hits package "From There to Here" (BNA) bows at No. 7 on sales of 86,000 copies. The country act's 2001 effort "I'm Already There" opened at No. 9 with 112,000 copies, which remains the group's largest one-week sales total.

The Disney soundtrack to "The Lizzie McGuire Move" slides two slots to No. 8 on a 1% sales decline to 80,000 copies. Last week's top debut, Led Zeppelin's "How the West Was Won" slides to No. 9 on a 51% sales drop to 76,000 copies. In two weeks of release, the three-disc live package has sold more than 200,000 copies.

Kelly Clarkson's RCA debut "Thankful" rounds out the top-10, dropping six positions on a 15% sales decline to 75,000 copies.

A 2003 Warped Tour compilation from indie label Side 1 Dummy enters The Billboard 200 at No. 21 with sales of 39,000 copies, and the latest from Sugar Ray, "In the Pursuit of Leisure" (Atlantic), arrives at No. 29 with 32,000 copies sold. The group's 2001's self-titled release bowed at No. 6 on sales of 106,000.

"Trouble No More," the Columbia covers set by 2001 Billboard Century Award honoree John Mellencamp, lands at No. 31 with sales of 32,000 copies. His 2001 album "Cuttin' Heads" arrived at No. 15. His last set to reach the top-10 was 1996's "Mr. Happy Go Lucky."

Overall U.S. album sales are up about 1% from last week to 10.5 million units, 9.3% behind the comparable week last year. Year-to-date sales continue to lag by 8.3%.