Metal by Numbers: The top selling metal of the first half of 2017

Posted by on July 7, 2017

Earlier this year, we examined what metal and hard rock albums sold the most in 2016. What we found wasn’t entirely surprising (Metallica still sells lots of records! Lots of classic albums still get bought!), but it was still an interesting way to see what mass appeal music looked like last year. With half of 2017 in the books (how’d that even happen?), we took a look at a list of the top 200-selling albums of the year for the week ending 6/29. 

If you were thinking Metallica might have a stranglehold on this list again, you’re right. With a new album out, a tour that got every attendee a copy of said album, and a rich catalogue, they continue to crush it. In fact, it’s not a particularly healthy year for new releases. Only six albums on this list were released in 2017, and most of them fall more under the umbrella of “hard rock” than metal. All of these numbers are approximate.


Metallica, Hardwired… To Self Destruct (Blackened Recordings)
487,000 sold

It sure doesn’t hurt that as Metallica announced their first major US tour in eight years that buying a concert ticket would automatically get you a copy of Hardwired… To Self Destruct. The fact that a) it’s a Metallica album and b) it’s a good Metallica album will see it cross 500,000 sold this year om a few weeks.


Linkin Park, One More Light (Reprise)
130,000 sold

Like their new sound or (most likely) not, Linkin Park still can manage to sell a solid amount of records, the most of any rock-leaning act from a record that came out this year. It’s hard to imagine that there were old LP fans that have been around for the last 17 years that are truly pissed off at the band for writing a pop album, but it remains to be seen whether this is a Risk-like detour, or the sound they’re most comfortable with.


Metallica, Metallica (Blackened Recordings)
117,000 sold

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. It’s almost more of a surprise that the #1-selling album of the SoundScan era has only sold 117,000 this year. It’s already sold 16.6 million copies though. That means roughly one of every 20 people in America has a copy.




Incubus, 8 (Island)
75,500 sold

A band that was initially lumped in with nu-metal and have continued to make noise at alternative radio since “Pardon Me,” these Ozzfest alumni might not be quite as heavy/spazzy as they used to be, but they’re still a draw.





Metallica, …And Justice For All (Blackened Recordings)
71,500 sold

We noted at the end of last year how close a margin there was between Metallica’s third and fourth albums, and so far, it seems like everyone that runs out to buy Master picks up Justice as well. 



Metallica, Master of Puppets (Blackened Recordings) 
71,000 sold

While Master might be the most popular of the band’s first four (pre-Black) albums, just a few more people from January through June decided to pick up Justice. And with these being the next two albums to be remastered by the band, look for an uptick in sales for both once they’re released. 


Mastodon, Emperor of Sand (Reprise) 
71,000 sold

Now we’re talking! No offense to Linkin Park or Incubus, but this is the first true band that could be considered metal (as opposed to fitting under the metal umbrella) to make the list that released an album in 2017. It’s continuing to sell, and with the band’s near-constant touring schedule, shows no real signs of slowing down.


Metallica, Ride the Lightning (Blackened Recordings)
63,000 sold

Only 63,000 in sales for Ride the Lightning. And by that, we mean “holy shit, Metallica’s fifth-best selling album sold a lot more than anything else.” Not bad for a 1984 album, and even less bad considering the other four have sold 744,000 combined. 



Guns N’ Roses, Greatest Hits (Interscope/Geffen)
58,000 sold

The band’s tour, which is continuing into this year, has stoked an appetite (see what we did there?) for some to pick up their greatest hits. Either that, or there’s a whole new generation getting turned on to the band, which is entirely possible.


Nickelback, Feed the Machine (BMG)
54,000 sold

Now we’re at that nebulous place, where a band can have a one week debut that’s worse than any they’ve had since a Bush was president and still have one-week sales that place them among the top hard rock though the first half of the year. 




Disturbed, Immortalized (Reprise)
49,000 sold

Have you thought about Disturbed this year? Even if you haven’t, people are still picking up their 2015 album. That’s a pretty solid amount for an album that’s about to celebrate it’s two year anniversary. Probably due to their Simon & Garfunkel cover, but hey, whatever works…



AC/DC, Back in Black (Columbia)
48,000 sold

Here’s hoping AC/DC haven’t played their last show ever, but even if they have, their music will live on pretty much forever, or as long as there are strip clubs and sporting events. Brian Johnson’s debut album for them is a classic from the first toll of “Hell’s Bells” to the last note of “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution.” 


Linkin Park, Hybrid Theory (Warner Bros)
47,000 sold

Chester Bennington basically begged fans that liked this album to give him any shit for liking their debut. At the end of the day, their first album has sold about a third of what their new one did, and will probably still be selling five years from now. One More Night? Probably not. In fact, you probably didn’t even notice that I didn’t call it One More Light, it’s actual title. 


Seether, Poison the Parish (Concord)
46,000 sold

Know any Seether fans? There’s still quite a few out there. This album hasn’t been out for two months, yet the South African rock band, who’ve been around for nearly 20 years, scored with their seventh album (eight technically, their seventh as Seether). This makes them one of the few second or third wave of grunge artists to still be sucessful. Puddle of Mudd must be pretty jeaolous? 


Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill (Def Jam)
47,000 sold

The first Beastie Boys album is one that they’d probably like to forget, that Kerry King would almost absolutely like to forget (he’s on “Fight For Your Right” and “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn”), but it keeps selling more than any of their other albums (or really, any rap-metal album, even though the metal is only on those two songs).


Nirvana, Nevermind (Interscope/DGC)
46,000 sold

This album killed hair metal if you believe hair metal fans. Actually, oversaturation and shitty third-wave metal bands killed it. This just happened to strike a nerve with everyone that heard it, from metalheads to indie kids to ultimately pop fans. Thanks Kurt.


Metallica, Kill ’em All (Blackened Recordings)
45,500 sold

Kill ’em All is slacking. Then again, even though it’s 20,000 behind Ride and …Justice, it’s the  band’s sixth album on this lsit, and they were smart enough to buy their masters (MASTERS!) back from Warner, so this is all money in the bank for them.


AFI, AFI (Blood Album) (Concord)
43,000 sold

More punk than metal, but given that the band has plenty of Hot Topic-y metal fans and the band’s been active for over 25 years, it’s cool to see that they’re still selling some records 10 albums into their careers. 




Guns N’ Roses, Appetite For Destruction (Interscope/Geffen)
43,000 sold

It’s certainly not a surprise that this keeps selling. In fact, as solid as a collection as their Greatest Hits album is, if you REALLY want the band’s greatest hits album, all you need to do is pick this up, if you haven’t already. Apparently, 43,000 people so far this year haven’t. 


I Prevail, Lifelines (Fearless)
41,000 sold

We’re actually a little surprised by this one. It’s not that we’re shocked that they’re on this list, but for an album that came out in October of last year to continue to steadily sell, that’s impressive. Currently on the Warped Tour, the band will probably continue to sell if their singer can stay out of the hospital.


Starset, Vessels (Razor & Tie)
40,500 sold

It’d be tough to call Starset metal, but they definitely have one foot in the genre. Kind of a mashup of several genres, including guitar driven rock and a bit of EDM (think a junior Muse, kind of), the band really came to attention through their massive YouTube presence. Their sophomore album is off to a solid start for them.



Avenged Sevenfold, The Stage (Capitol)
40,000 sold

The surprise release last year might not have helped them any. However, opening for Metallica sure isn’t hurting, and the band’s going to keep touring. This has fallen off a bit, but it’s still enough to (barely) make it on the list. 


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Categorised in: Columns, Metal By Numbers