“Death Magnetic” (Warner Bros.) sold nearly a half million copies in just three days of sales as Metallica became the first act to have five albums debut at No. 1.

Released Friday to accommodate a worldwide release date and potentially block some of the Internet leaks, “Death Magnetic” sold 490,000 copies by Sunday, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Release also marks the band’s fifth consecutive No. 1 disc.

The world’s most popular hard rock band registered its biggest debut week since “Load” unloaded 680,000 copies in 1996.

Prior to “Death Magnetic’s” record-busting feat, Metallica had been in a tie with the Beatles, U2 and the Dave Matthews Band, all of which have logged four No. 1 album debuts, according to Billboard magazine.

Metallica disc also debuted at No. 1 in Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain and about a dozen other countries. Album is released by Warner Bros. in the U.S. and Canada and by Universal Music in the rest of the world.

Eight tracks from the album have charted across three radio formats — alternative, active rock and rock. First leg of the band’s tour starts Oct. 21.

The first country album from Jessica Simpson, “Do You Know” (Columbia Nashville), sold 65,000 to open at No. 4. Veteran rapper LL Cool J opened at No. 9 with “Exit 13” (Def Jam) selling 44,000. Singles from both albums stalled within their genres, leading to sales far below their last releases.

Eric Benet’s “Love and Life” (Friday/Reprise) sold 40,000 copies to give the R&B singer a career-high chart position at No. 11.

On their fourth release, Gym Class Heroes also hit a new high, selling 32,000 copies of “The Quilt” (Decaydance/Fueled By Ramen) to open at No. 14. Comedian Mitch Hedberg’s “Do You Believe In Gosh?” (Comedy Central) sold 27,000 to hit No. 18; one slot lower was Natalie Cole’s “Still Unforgettable” (Rhino), which sold 24,000.

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

Last week’s No. 1, Young Jeezy’s “The Recession,” dropped one slot on sales of 90,000.