The metal band will play their 1991 self-titled album, also known as The Black Album, in its entirety for the festival's tenth year at Donington Park.
The group have headlined the festival twice in the past, including most recently in 2006 when they played Master of Puppets in full.
Metallica released their Lou Reed collaboration album Lulu last month.
Next year's Download Festival will take place from June 8-10. It is currently unknown which night Metallica will headline. More acts are expected to be added to the bill in the near future.
Tickets for the festival will go on sale on November 18.
Last year's event was headlined by Def Leppard, Linkin Park and System of a Down.
Metallica will perform a handful of 30th anniversary shows next month in San Francisco.
Watch Metallica perform 'Seek and Destroy' at the 2006 Download Festival below: