Being a Metallica fan myself, I could case less about Metallica selling out. If you want to be serious about it, then the fact of the matter is Metallica has been selling out since 1983 with the release of one particular song. But no one nowadays points this out; if anything they worship the band's 80's music.
The thing that stands out for me about Metallica is that, since the release of the Black Album, their creative juice has dried off... significantly. They haven't released songs like Ride the Lightening, Sanitarium or Disposable Heroes. They've still got the riffs, if you consider Death Magnetic, but they are certainly not the lyricists that they were in the 80's.
Why is Metallica better than the rest of the Big 4, even if you consider only the bands' 80's music? Because Metallica could WRITE. James Hetfeild was a phenomenal lyricist for a metal artist. In fact, I'd go ahead and say that his writing, and his writing alone, was better compared to Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. Case in point, compare Reign in Blood to Disposable Heroes. These three bands have had their moments. Most anti-Metallica fans point to the fact that they've got better, faster and heavier, riffs and solos ( and Lars is a terrible drummer ). That may be very well be true, but that's not to say Metallica as a band sucked at playing their instruments.
Lars, who is the "co-leader" of the band along with James, hasn't probably written a single song in its entirety his whole fucking life!
When James falters, Metallica stops in their tracks. If you're a big fan of their early work, like myself, then it seems as through the Metallica train has been screeching in the tracks for a while ( for ~15 years ), aching to get off to a start! The band was on Howard Stern's radio show last year, and James was asked about his song writing, let say, stuff - for a lack of a better word. He was asked to give a percentage as to his lyrical contributions,and he modestly said, "a lot." Then Howard pressed him and asked "like 90%?," and James said "Yeah..." and the rest of the band happily obliged. Lars, who is the "co-leader" of the band along with James, hasn't probably written a single song in its entirety his whole fucking life! This shows the contrast of Metallica and other bands like Aerosmith and Guns N' Roses. In GNR Slash and Axl were such a tight couple with respect to song writing. In fact, Slash continues to write songs for his own bad even to this day. In that regard, had Metallica broken up like GNR, Lars would be doing drum covers of Thin Lizzy.
Lars Ulrich seriously needs to up his game if Metallica's next album going to be anything similar Ride the Lightening or Master of Puppets. Of course I'm not asking Lars and James to be like Robert Plant and Jimmy Page in the studio, but at least Lars shouldn't just suck up to whatever James is writing. Metallic is not writing to songs to be played at a high school talent show. Maybe they should start drinking again!