Metallica - Load
What happened to Metallica? If this wasn't loudly proclaimed when Load was finally given to the masses after a lengthy hiatus of new material, then I suppose everyone was comfortable with one of the 80's most prominent, dominant, innovating metal bands stripping back, toning down, etc. I'm sure some were comforted by their de-evolution of progressive tendencies. That's truly not a statement of spite, but an easy observation to make all these years later. Passions may have been more heated once upon a time, but in retrospect, it seems that post-thrash metal Metallica had something different and, at times, pretty damn good to offer.
What hurt Load as much as it's sudden shift in style is how slow the album starts. "Ain't My Bitch", "2x4" and "The House Jack Built" are forgettable tracks, the latter featuring some Frampton-esque talkbox on the guitar solo that sounds totally contrived and out of place. The former has lyrics akin to something out of a pissed off freshman's journal. Even though the track was highly overplayed at the time, "Until It Sleeps" is one of the best things Metallica did in the 90's. To my ears it's a logical continuation of "Enter Sandman". "King Nothing" was a bit of an overrated single, but had a decent chorus. "Hero Of The Day" is one of my favorite Met songs, for some reason. It is very well written, and is able to stir up some heat and emotion in a way they weren't exactly known for in the past. "Bleeding Me" is another highlight, given room to build into something memorable over it's 8 minutes. At this point it's worth noting a few things; James Hetfield is at the top of his game vocally. It all started to bottom out sometime between this and the otherwise awesome "S&M" project, but here it's in it's finest form available in my opinion. Furthermore, Kirk Hammet no longer was of much consequence. Yes, there are still solos, leads, etc, but they usually detract from the groove and melody of any song in question rather than add something substantial to it. Lastly, this is probably the point in time we can all agree that Lars Ulrich decided to stop trying to be a better drummer. The sterility and safeness of his playing has, since the days of The Black Album, led me to believe that had James and Kirk a pair of balls between them, they would have ousted that egomaniac and allowed their sound to mature with the assistance of a more able and inspired drummer.
No such luck. And not much else of any real consequence on the rest of the record. "Mama Said" is a decent ballad, but obviously they were never going to be able to duplicate the impact of "The Unforgiven" (even if they ended up making two more parts two it, that have little to nothing to do with the original) or "Fade To Black". But it's not that bad. Neither is "The Outlaw Torn", which kinda lasts too long but is solid despite the repetition. It pains me to say it, but between Load and Death Magnetic, one might, MIGHT have a full album's worth of truly awesome material. And things would get no better from this point on.
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on 2011-11-03 SolitaryMan Said:
You're probably right about that, haha.
on 2011-11-03 hstisgod Said:
juuuust perfectly done!, I would have done 2.5, but the review nailed it, surely Re-Load is being reserved for a 2 star rating or less lol
on 2011-11-03 SolitaryMan Said:
Hey Brian, heads-up on this one for you, since you were saying you wanted to hear what I had to say about it.
on 2009-01-01 SolitaryMan Said:
Not my favorite (or even 2nd favorite) Metallica album, but it really wasn't as bad as so many people make it out to be. Among their more highly-touted early albums, I'd say it ranks above their debut and somewhat below the rest. Memorable songs such as "Until It Sleeps" and "Hero Of The Day" saved this album from the hellish pit of nothing "Reload" turned out to be.