Metallica scores fifth consecutive No. 1

'Death Magnetic' sells 490,000 in three days

NEW YORK -- In just a three-day sales window, Metallica's "Death Magnetic" (Warner Bros.) sold nearly half a million copies and tops the Billboard 200. The band's first studio album since 2003 moved 490,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. "Death Magnetic" hit shelves on Friday instead of last Tuesday in order to accommodate a worldwide release date.

This total outdistances the opening sum of its last studio set, "St. Anger," which sold 418,000 copies in a similarly shorter-than-normal window. The last Metallica album to stage a larger opener than "Magnetic" was 1996's "Load," which rolled 680,000 units in its first frame.

Metallica is the first group to see five of its albums bow at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Previously, the act was tied with the Beatles, U2 and the Dave Matthews Band, with four each. It is also Metallica's fifth consecutive studio album to debut at No. 1 and its seventh release to start with more than 300,000 since 1991, when Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data.

Last week's No. 1, Young Jeezy's "The Recession" (Def Jam), slips to No. 2 with a 65% loss in sales to 90,000. In its 49th week on the chart, Kid Rock's "Rock N Roll Jesus" (Top Dog/Atlantic) climbs from No. 4 to No. 3 on a 5% decline to 75,000 copies.

Jessica Simpson's first country album, "Do You Know" (Columbia Nashville), starts at No. 4 with 65,000 and also lands atop Top Country Albums. The set was preceded by the single "Come On Over," which peaked at No. 18 on Hot Country Songs in August. Simpson's last album, "A Public Affair," debuted and peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 in 2006 with 101,000.

Slipknot's Roadrunner album "All Hope Is Gone" keeps the No. 5 spot warm for a second week with 52,000 (a 31% decline), as the Jonas Brothers' "A Little Bit Longer" (Hollywood) stays put at No. 6 with 50,000 (down 11%). Falling from No. 3 to No. 7, the Game's "LAX" (Geffen) experiences a 44% slip to 49,000. Lil Wayne's Cash Money effort "Tha Carter III" ekes out a 2% sales increase and climbs from No. 10 to No. 8 with 47,000.

L.L. Cool J earns his sixth consecutive top 10 debut as "Exit 13" (Def Jam) enters at No. 9 with 44,000. The set's single "Baby" featuring the-Dream has peaked at No. 52 thus far on the Hot 100. L.L.'s last release, 2006's "Todd Smith," bowed at No. 6 with 116,000.

The Decca soundtrack to "Mamma Mia!" rounds out the top tier of the chart, selling 41,000 (down 27%) and slipping from No. 7 to No. 10.

Eric Benet celebrates a career-high week on the Billboard 200 as "Love and Life" (Friday/Reprise) debuts at No. 11 with 40,000. His previous high-water mark came with 1999's "A Day in the Life," which debuted at No. 25 with 44,000.

Gym Class Heroes' fourth album, "The Quilt" (Decaydance/Fueled By Ramen), debuts at No. 14 with 32,000. First single "Cookie Jar," also featuring the-Dream, has sold 126,000 downloads in 10 weeks of release. The band's last set, 2006's "As Cruel as School Children," started at No. 93 with 10,000 but went on to peak at No. 35.

Comedian Mitch Hedberg laughs his way to a No. 18 entry on the Billboard 200 with "Do You Believe In Gosh?" shifting 27,000. The Comedy Central set also debuts at No. 1 on Top Comedy Albums -- his first chart-topper there.

Starting right behind at No. 19 with 24,000 is Natalie Cole's "Still Unforgettable" (Rhino), another album of interpretations of the Great American Songbook. Her last studio set, 2006's "Leavin'," topped out at No. 97.

Other debuts this week include Jenni Rivera's "Jenni" (Fonovisa, No. 31, 16,000), R.K.M. Y Ken-Y's "Royalty/La Realeza" (Pina/Machete, No. 32, 15,000), Joshua Radin's "Simple Times" (Mom & Pop, No. 34, 14,000), Michael Franti & Spearhead's "All Rebel Rockers" (Anti-, No. 39, 12,000), Kardinal Offishall's "Not 4 Sale" (Konlive/Geffen/Interscope, No. 40, 12,000) and Okkervil River's "The Stand Ins" (Jagjaguwar, No. 42, 11,000).

At 6.84 million units, sales this week are up 1.3% from last week's sum and down a whopping 25% from the same week last year.

Keith Caulfield contributed to this report.