The Great Metallica Debate — Round Four

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On Saturday, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum welcomes Metallica to the ranks of popular music’s all-time greats. The band did as much as any group to establish and define thrash metal, then gradually slowed down and became one of the world’s biggest rock bands.

To celebrate the Frisco phenoms’ hard-won recognition, Scene presents The Great Metallica Debate. D.X. Ferris, the paper’s designated metalhead, is moderating. He’ll introduce topics, which will be answered by Chris Akin, Classic Metal Show host and webmaster of Pitriff.com, and Matt Wardlaw, former Metal Show host, Radio 92.3 Inner Sanctum host, and proprietor of music blog AddictedToVinyl.com.

After the band broke through to the masses with 1988’s jamming power ballad “One,” the group truly exploded into popular culture with 1991’s polarizing Metallica (“The Black Album”), which cracked the Billboard Top 10 and eventually sold more than 15 million copies in the US alone.

After that unexpected smash, Metallica hit a rough patch. Over the following decade, the former thrash champions released a series of different and experimental albums, including the rocky Load double-shot, the symphony-backed S&M and the oddly mixed St. Anger. Producer Rick Rubin helped the band return to its metal roots with 2008’s Death Magnetic, which is generally accepted as a satisfying return to form.

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