For any band to last nearly four decades would be a feat in itself, but to still be one of the world’s most popular acts is next to unheard of. In that span of time, the legendary San Francisco-based thrash metal band Metallica has played nearly 2,000 shows, but they’ve never played in Lincoln.
On their current tour, the second leg of “The Worldwired Tour,” the Bay Area Thrashers are stopping in a number of North American cities they have yet to grace with their pioneering blend of classic hard rock and the guitar solo-driven British heavy metal of bands like Iron Maiden. The tour finally brings Metallica to Lincoln, where they are set to play Pinnacle Bank Arena on Sept. 6.
With 10 studio albums behind them, Metallica has a vast repertoire from which to build setlists for its concerts which leaves room for surprises with flashy pyrotechnic displays and an ever-changing barrage of the band’s hits and deep cuts. It’s not uncommon for a Metallica show to feature classics like “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and fan favorites like “Leper Messiah.”
The band formed in 1981 when drummer Lars Ulrich placed an ad in a Los Angeles newspaper looking for other artists to jam with. Those humble beginnings led to vocalist and guitarist James Hetfield answering the call, with lead guitarist Kirk Hammett joining the band within the next five years.
With that trio consistent and a revolving door of bassists, Metallica released its most renowned string of albums. The band jumped head-first into the fray of scrappy early 1980s riffing bands with “Kill ‘Em All” and followed that record the next year with “Ride the Lightning.” That album signaled a shift in metal from straightforward, blistering speed to a more sophisticated, agile style that paired rapid riffs with plodding, almost sludgy, breakdowns.
They continued honing that formula, which would become the gold standard in thrash metal, on 1980s classics “Master of Puppets” and “...And Justice for All.” But it was 1991’s “The Black Album” and that album’s hit single “Enter Sandman” that made Metallica cultural icons.
In the years since, Metallica has incorporated alt-rock influences through the 1990s and the early 2000s on records like “Load” and “St. Anger,” all the while maintaining their status at the top of the metal food chain.
In The Daily Nebraskan’s review of Metallica’s most recent LP, 2016’s “Hardwired...to Self-Destruct,” we called the record a return to form from the phoned-in riffs of 2008’s “Death Magnetic” and wrote that “many songs on the track listing prove Metallica still has what it takes to write compelling ragers.”
Metallica comes to Lincoln on the strength of that LP which features the ferocity the band is known for in tracks like “Atlas Rise” and “Moth Into Flame.” Tickets run from $65-135 and can be purchased at pinnaclebankarena.com.