Metallica is the most celebrated heavy metal band outside of Europe. In fact, they are amongst the most famous metal bands of all time, being the first widely available music source of this genre, as well as a pioneer for many artistic decisions associated with heavy metal.
Metallica started in 1981 in Los Angeles, and they’ve been meaning to play metal from the very start. The name pretty much indicates that. They didn’t go to great lengths creating the name – another variant they considered was ‘MetalMania’, for instance. But they settled on this one.
The very first logo was simultaneously pretty aggressive and somewhat plain. All but the first and the last letters were blocky and squarish, but still pretty basic style-wise. The other two were instead stretched out vertically. The outwardly lines were extended and given thin, long notches.
These were supposed to resemble lightning (which is what this sort of music is often compared to), but also a pair of electric guitars. The entire logo was black.
The 1996 logo was actually plainer and more readable than the last one. It was pretty much just a tall uppercase writing that spelled the band’s name. The only two additions were the pointed tips on the outwardly lines of the side letters (‘M’ and ‘A’), which is something of an homage to the previous design.
The 2003 was a slightly different approach, but the concept remained. This time, they squeezed the letters down to the normal height. They are also now thicker, but the main change is the way they all seem on fire, as well as the addition of a white gruffly outline around the letters.
The elongated sharp tips were once more introduced just like in the first iteration. This time, however, they were bent 90° – the upper tips outwardly, the lower ones beneath the letters themselves.
In 2008, they pretty much just returned to the 1983, except the tips are even longer now, and they tilted them even further outwards.
There is a semi-official emblem associated with Metallica. It’s a combination of many black lightning bolts around a square. This doesn’t have any deeper meaning, except similarities with the Metallica’s own logo that always featured lightning bolts in excess. There are many variations of this emblem, also.