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Metallica's 'Black Album' Returns to Top 10 on Billboard 200 After 30th Anniversary Reissue

Metallica
Elektra/PhotoFest

Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield, Jason Newsted and Lars Ulrich of Metallica photographed in 1986. 

Metallica’s 1991 self-titled No. 1 album surges back into the top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart for the first time in 29 years, following the set’s 30th anniversary reissue on Sept. 10. The former chart-topper surges from No. 158 to No. 9 on the Sept. 25-dated chart, earning 37,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending Sept. 16 (up 397%) according to MRC Data.

Metallica (often referred to as The Black Album, due to its stark black cover) was reissued in a variety of formats to commemorate the 30th anniversary of its release.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album. The new Sept. 25, 2021-dated chart (where Metallica jumps to No. 9) will be posted in full on Billboard's website on Sept. 21. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.

Of Metallica’s 37,000 units earned for the week, album sales comprise 29,000 (up 1,365%), SEA units comprise nearly 7,000 (up 34%, equaling 9.17 million on-demand streams of the set’s tracks) and TEA units comprise 1,000 (up 101%). All versions of the album, old and new, are combined for tracking and charting purposes.

Metallica returns to the top 10, and its highest rank, for the first time in 29 years. It was last in the top 10 on the Aug. 22, 1992 chart (at No. 10) and was last higher on the April 11, 1992 tally (No. 6).

The self-titled set became the band’s first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 (of six to-date), and it debuted atop the list dated Aug. 31, 1991 and spent four straight and total weeks at No. 1. It has now spent 625 weeks on the chart in total. That’s the fourth-most weeks on the list since it began publishing on a regular, weekly basis in 1956, and the most weeks on the list for any album since May of 1991, when MRC Data began powering the list.

Metallica launched five entries on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 songs chart: “Enter Sandman,” “The Unforgiven,” “Nothing Else Matters” (all of which reached the top 40), “Where I May Roam” and “Sad But True.”

Metallica remains the top-selling album in the U.S. since MRC Data began electronically tracking music sales in 1991, with 17.3 million copies sold.