SEPTEMBER 16 2008 07:18h

Metallica Set for No. 1 on U.S. Album Chart


┬┤Death Magnetic┬┤ sold 450,000-500,000 copies during the week ended Sept. 14, despite being on sale for only three days.

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.

The album is already No. 1 in Britain, having gone on sale worldwide last Friday.

Informed sources estimate "Death Magnetic" sold 450,000-500,000 copies across the United States during the week ended Sept. 14. Albums usually come out on a Tuesday in the United States, 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.