Four of the Most Expensive Metal Records Ever Made

  • Axl Rosenberg

1. Guns N’ Roses, Chinese Democracy

Four of the Most Expensive Metal Records Ever Made

Well, duh: everyone knows this record cost a fortune to make. In 1991, before the release of the Use Your Illusion albums, then-manager Alan Niven negotiated a whopping $10 million advance for the band’s next album (closer to $17 million in 2016 dollars) — which, obviously, no one realized at the time was still seventeen years away. By the time of Chinese Democracy‘s release in 2008, it cost a reported $15 million. Assuming that figure is correct, it would make Chinese Democracy not just the most expensive metal record ever made, but the second-most-expensive record ever made in any genre, period: only Michael Jackson’s Invincible, which was allegedly made for $30 million, cost more.

2. Def Leppard, Hysteria

Def Leppard - Hysteria

Although the entire band actually moved to Dublin to record this album specifically so as to avoid England’s high tax rates, they hit something of a snag when drummer Rick Allen lost his arm in a car accident, causing severe delays in their recording schedule. Hysteria‘s eventual price tag? $4.5 million in 1987, which, adjusted for inflation, come out to a cool $9 mil and change. At least, unlike Chinese DemocracyHysteria was a massive success.

3. The Darkness, One Way Ticket to Hell… and Back

The Darkness - One Way Ticket to Hell

You thought Chinese Democracy sounded too busy? One Way Ticket to Hell features an insane number of tracks on each song, with as many as 160 guitar parts on any given tune. The cost of this aural collage? A mere $1.8 million.

4. Metallica, Metallica


Metallica’s highest-selling album was recorded for a million bucks in 1991, which would be about $1.75 million in 2016. It’s difficult to find figures for all of the band’s subsequent recording budgets, but it seems fair to assume that the albums from Load to Death Magnetic were all even MORE expensive.

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