Pre-Soundscan Billboard charts were kinda wacky (esp. for non-"pop" stuff) so I'm not sure those Metallica numbers are entirely reflective. Definitely up to and including the Black Album each successive Metallica album was a bigger and bigger pop deal, but I'd say certainly by Master they had ceased to be a cult act.
― Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Thursday, 10 May 2012 13:52 (four years ago) Permalink
i guess it depends on how we define "cult band". my recollection is that metallica were still very much a cultish niche act circa master. on release, it sold well to the large and loyal diehard metalhead crowd, but metallica's name was barely starting to spread beyond that.
based on what i saw at the time, justice was a huge street-date breakthrough. most of my college friends went nuts for it instantly. it went head-to-head with straight outta compton for jambox supremacy that late summer & fall. nevertheless, the appeal was still limited to an audience of beer & weed-sodden "rockers" and "partyers" (among whom masters and garage days had been building steam over the two years prior).
real pop-star-type visibility and mainstream/radio success had to wait on the self-titled.
― 10. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Tom Cruise (contenderizer), Thursday, 10 May 2012 14:33 (four years ago) Permalink