Metallica's blockbuster 1991 self-titled album Metallica (better known as The Black Album) turns 25 this year, and its impact hasn't diminished over time. For good reason: Aside from the sky-high quality of the album, it remains the best-selling album of the SoundScan era (which started tracking sales in 1991) according to Nielsen Music with 16.4 million copies sold in the U.S.
Speaking to Billboard's Zack Ruskin, Metallica recalls they weren't quite aware of how big The Black Album would get until they started playing it live.
"Putting that album together was a long process, and we got so involved in the album and music," guitarist Kirk Hammett says. "The first time we played 'Enter Sandman' live, the response from the audience was… different. Different than any response we'd gotten at that point." Hammett, who wrote that immortal riff, says that after the album came out they realized "we were sitting on something bigger than what I thought, at least."
Watch the interview above and read Billboard's full cover story on Metallica and their new album Hardwired… To Self-Destruct here.