Metallica's Death Magnetic Looks Set For #1 Debut

Early estimates have band's first studio set in five years selling 500,000-plus.

On Friday, released their ninth album, the Rick Rubin-helmed Death Magnetic. The LP is the band's first full-length studio offering in nearly five years and, if the earliest sales projections are any indication, it seems as though the group's fanbase couldn't wait another minute to grab themselves a copy of the disc.

Even though albums from Jessica Simpson, Gym Class Heroes and LL Cool J had a three-day head start (albums are usually released in the U.S. on Tuesdays; Metallica elected to issue their new LP on a Friday to accommodate a global release date), Death Magnetic is still poised to enter the Billboard albums chart at #1 on Wednesday.

Billboard, citing unnamed "informed sources," reported that Death Magnetic will open with week-one sales in the neighborhood of 450,000 to 500,000 copies, which would earn Metallica its fifth consecutive chart-topping debut.

According to the magazine, the album's total first-week scans could end up being even higher as sales numbers trickle in from Ticketmaster, which offered a ticket/ album bundle to those who'd purchased tickets to the band's upcoming tour online. The album was also packaged with "Guitar Hero" at Best Buy locations nationwide, and was sold through the game's Xbox and PlayStation platforms.

Those aren't quite Lil Wayne numbers but they're impressive nonetheless. Should the early projections ring true, Death Magnetic will earn the distinction of being the band's seventh release to open with more than 300,000 sold in its first frame.

Metallica's last appearance on the chart took place in 2004, when the soundtrack EP for the documentary "Some Kind of Monster" opened at #37 with nearly 30,000 copies sold. The band's last full-length, 2003's St. Anger, debuted at #1 with 418,000 sold; 1997's Re-Load bowed with 435,000-plus units sold; and 1996's Load debuted with 680,000.

The band's self-titled 1991 release (often referred to as The Black Album) sold more than 650,000 copies, marking the first time a Metallica album opened at #1.