Metallica rocks worldwide charts with new album

Wed Sep 17, 2008 8:28pm EDT
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hard rock band Metallica, hoping for a rebound in its fortunes after a difficult decade, has topped pop charts around the world with its first album in five years, its Warner Bros. Records label said on Wednesday.

"Death Magnetic," which was released worldwide last Friday, went to No. 1 in the United States and Britain, as well as such countries as Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and drummer Lars Ulrich's native Denmark.

Warner Bros. said it expected more No. 1 rankings as charts in other countries are finalized. The Warner Music Group Corp unit handles Metallica in the United States and Canada, while Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group has international rights.

In the United States, "Death Magnetic" sold almost 490,000 copies in the week ended September 14, despite being on sale for only three of those days. Albums are usually released on a Tuesday in the United States and a day earlier everywhere else. But Metallica opted for a Friday street date to make the release a global event.

Its last album, 2003's "St. Anger," released a few days ahead of schedule to combat music piracy, kicked off at No. 1 with 418,000 copies. It was ultimately considered a commercial and critical disappointment, coming on the heels of singer/guitarist James Hetfield's lengthy rehab stint, the departure of bass player Jason Newsted, and a fan backlash against Ulrich's loud condemnations of music piracy. The band's near demise during this period is immortalized in the documentary "Some Kind of Monster."

"Death Magnetic" ranks as one of the biggest chart-toppers of the year in the United States. Only albums by rapper Lil Wayne, British rock band Coldplay and teen idols the Jonas Brothers have done better. It also makes Metallica the only band in chart history to have five albums debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, according to Warner Bros. They were previously tied with the Beatles, U2 and the Dave Matthews Band.

Metallica will begin the first leg of a North American tour near Phoenix, Ariz., on October 21.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman)

 
<p>Lead vocalist James Hetfield of the heavy metal band Metallica performs during their record release party of their new album "Death Magnetic" in Berlin September 12, 2008. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke</p>