The iconic 'Master of Puppets' group played a two-hour set which incorporated a performance of their entire iconic self titled album - known to fans as 'The Black Album' - at the festival, held in Castle Donington in England's Midlands.
The band took to the stage with one of their first ever songs, 'Hit The Lights' before playing 'For Whom The Bell Tolls', Master Of Puppets' and new track 'To Hell and Back'.
The group - James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo - then left the stage and a short video clip introduced 'The Black Album', which has sold almost 30 million copies and remains the band's most recognised work.
Metallica then returned and performed the album in its entirety, running through the tracklisting backward, starting with 'Struggle Within', and leading up to huge singles 'Sad But True' and 'Enter Sandman'.
During the set, James talked to the crowd about the ''Metallica family'' and how pleased they were to be performing at Donington park for the seventh time in their history.
The band then revisited their back catalogue for their encore, playing 'Battery'â¨'One'â¨and 'Seek And Destroy'.
Away from the main stage, local band Lostalone drew a huge audience to the Red Bull Bedroom Jam Stage. The group has recently talked about what an honour they felt it was to play at Download, which celebrated its tenth year in 2012.
Singer Steven Batelle said: ''The last time we played Download was when Iron Maiden were headlining, a band I have grown up loving and this time it's Metallica, another titan of metal. It's a great thing for us.''
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