This place is a lot like the movie board, isn't it?
The black album will get zero credit here because it is too "commercial" - oh noz, how can I look cool if I like an album that was enjoyed by the masses? "Enter Sandman" has one of the most catchy and recognizable guitar riffs in any genre. "Sad But True" is probably the heaviest song Metallica has ever written. "Nothing Else Matters" rivals any ballad they've ever written, but is still surpassed by "The Unforgiven," which is lyrically one of their strongest. "Wherever I May Roam" and "Of Wolf and Man" are both great songs that stand on their own as opposed to being formulaic remakes of previous work, which is splattered all over "Justice."
The rhythm section is the backbone of music, yet the bass is indiscernible on "Justice" - and don't get me started on the tin can drums of that album. Metal without a backbone is not metal. Album format? Start off with slow intro/kick into up-tempo song. Follow with the title track. Follow that with a heavy plodding song. Insert ballad here. Toss some filler in the middle. Penultimate instrumental. Finish up with straight thrash/speed metal. Precise duplicate of "Masters."
"Masters" was very much a copy of "Ride the Lightning," but it showed a lot of progression musically. So much tighter, and the peak of production value without being overproduced.
But everyone wants to pick the "oldest" album that meets the criteria of the question...cookie-cutter answer.
This post was edited on 10/7 at 10:26 am