Released on August 12, 1991 through Elektra Records, it received widespread critical acclaim and went on to become the band's best selling album. Metallica produced five hit singles that are considered today among the band's best-known songs: "Enter Sandman," "The Unforgiven," "Nothing Else Matters," "Wherever I May Roam," and "Sad but True."
The band promoted the album with a series of tours. In 2003, the album was ranked number 255 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The album marked a change in the band's sound to one less harsh than the thrash metal style of their previous four albums.
The recording of Metallica was troubled, with the band frequently entering conflicts with Bob Rock, the band's new producer, during production. The album debuted at No. 1 in 10 countries, and spent four consecutive weeks at the top spot of the Billboard 200, making it Metallica's first album to top album charts.
As of April 2014, the album has stayed over 300 weeks on the Billboard charts, making it among the albums with most weeks on the chart. Metallica is the group's best-selling album, selling 30 million copies worldwide. It is the best-selling album of the SoundScan era. The album was certified 16× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2012, and has sold more than 16 million copies in the United States, being the first album in the SoundScan era to do so. Metallica played the album in its entirety during the 2012 European Black Album Tour
"Bon Jovi producer Bob Rock helped create one of the best-selling metal albums of all time, led by 'Enter Sandman' and the ballad 'Nothing Else Matters." — Rolling Stone