Metallica’s “Death Magnetic” held onto the top spot on the nation’s album sales chart, selling 337,000 copies of the Warner Bros. disc in its second frame. Album has sold 827,000 copies in 10 days, according to Nielsen SoundScan data.

Ne-Yo’s “Year of the Gentleman” (Def Jam) posted numbers similar to those for his last two releases to come in at No. 2. Album sold 250,000 copies, just one grand behind the first-week sales of last year’s “Because of You” and 51,000 off his first album, “My Own Words.”

Many hip-hop artists are finding falloffs of as much as 50% from 2004-06 levels unless they have a top 10 pop or R&B hit prior to the album’s release.

Case in point: Nelly. The Universal Motown rapper’s “Brass Knuckles” sold about one-quarter of what his last releases did, moving 84,000 to open at No. 3. In 2004, Nelly released two albums on the same day: “Suit” sold 296,000 and “Sweat” pumped out 342,000.

Darius Rucker, the frontman of Hootie & the Blowfish, becomes the latest rock act to cross over into country, selling 60,000 copies of “Learn to Live” (Capitol Nashville). Album, which opens at No. 5, features one of the hottest country singles, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It.”

DJ Khaled scored a career-best chart position, No. 7, selling 49,000 copies of “We Global” (Koch). Buckcherry also registered career bests as “Black Butterfly” (Eleven Seven Music/Atlantic) sold 47,000 units to come in at No. 8. Band had never registered higher than No. 39.

Among other debuts were All That Remains’ “Overcome” (Razor & Tie), selling 29,000 (No. 16); Raphael Saadiq’s “The Way I See It,” (Columbia) 23,000 (No. 19); Avenged Sevenfold’s “Live in the LBC & Diamond in the Rough” (Warner Bros.), 20,000 (No. 24); and Eli Young Band’s “Jet Black & Jealous” (Universal South), 15,000 (No. 33).

Selling 11,000 each were “Colby O” (Geffen), the debut from Colby O’Donis, at No. 41 and Jem’s “Down to Earth” (ATO) at No. 43. “Gift of Screws” (Reprise), from Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, sold 10,000 (No. 48), as did “Why Wait” (Arista Nashville), the debut disc from “American Idol” contender Kristy Lee Cook.