Although Metallica and Megadeth toured together this past year, there's always been a rivalry between the two groups (and their fans) ever since Megadeth's Dave Mustaine was fired from Metallica in 1983. Both bands are heavy metal gods, but only Metallica is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They both sell out arenas, but only James Hetfield's crew rake in the platinum records. Megadeth has long been the Joe Frazier to Metallica's Muhammad Ali, the Boston Red Sox to their New York Yankees. Except this week, as Megadeth's new album TH1RT3EN is crushing Metallica and Lou Reed's reviled Lulu on the Billboard 200 chart.
TH1RT3EN is on pace to sell between 40,000 and 45,000 copies in its first week, or roughly three times more than the estimated 12,000 to 15,000 Lulus, Blabbermouth reports. Megadeth have finally defeated Metallica by staying steady: Their last album Endgame sold 45,000 in its first week, 2007's United Abominations did 54,000, and 2004's The System Has Failed moved 46,000. All those numbers are in the vicinity of the 40-45K TH1RT3EN is expected to sell this week. Metallica, however, made a bad career decision by linking up with Reed, and they've seen their sales nosedive accordingly. Their albums always debut with six-digit sales -- Death Magnetic sold 490,000 first week copies in 2008 - but Lulu won't even come within a fraction of that. (However, a 12-15K debut for the album would give Reed his best total in decades.)
Megadeth still has a long way to go to catch the number of Black Albums Metallica sold, but this small victory is like their 2004 American League Championship Series.