LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Metallica’s first album in five years will take the No. 1 slot on the U.S. pop chart when sales data are issued on Wednesday, according to preliminary estimates.
Informed sources estimate “Death Magnetic” sold 450,000-500,000 copies during the week ended September 14, despite being on sale for only three days.
The Warner Bros. release was released worldwide on Friday; U.S. albums usually come out on a Tuesday, and a day earlier everywhere else.
Metallica’s last studio album, “St. Anger,” also had a Friday release in 2003, but in that case, the off-cycle street date was a rushed release motivated by Internet leaks.
“St. Anger” sold 419,000 copies during that abbreviated three-day window, securing Metallica its fourth chart-topping start on The Billboard 200. But the album is now considered a critical and commercial disappointment.
Metallica’s last chart appearance was for the soundtrack EP “Some Kind of Monster,” which debuted No. 37 in 2004.
One unpredictable variable for “Death Magnetic” sales is a ticket/album bundle offered by Ticketmaster. The album was also packaged with “Guitar Hero” at Best Buy, sold through “Guitar Hero” platforms Xbox and Playstation and packaged with a Metallica-branded set of headphones by Skull Candy.