Review Summary: Enjoyable rock album
If there is one band that needs no introduction is Metallica…saying that I am still going to write one.
Metallica went from being one of the best Metal bands in the 80s, to one of the biggest rock bands in the 90s.
Throughout the 80s, Metallica released four metal albums. Each one of those albums is still highly acclaimed until this day, with ‘Master of Puppets’ being considered by many the best Metal album ever released.
The 90s featured Metallica getting a grip on the mainstream crowd. Their self-titled album sold incredibly well, and was received by generally positive criticism. Despite that, the album is quite repetitive.
In 1996, ‘Load’ was released. ‘Load’ is Metallica’s first non-metal album. It is a rock album, infused with some blues influences.
‘Load’ is generally accepted as the album when Metallica started their decline. Personally I enjoy listening to it.
The first half of ‘Load’ is filled of good, too great, songs. The opening track is a decent rock song, featuring a good chorus, but it’s the second song were the album really hits its stride. ‘2x4’ is a great blues rock song, with good lyrics and a really fun riff. Kirk also gives a decent solo.
‘Until It Sleeps’ and ‘Hero of the Day’ are slower songs, especially the latter. Despite that, they are two of the better songs on the album. The former is also Metallica’s biggest hit from this album.
‘The House Jack built’ is an interesting track also, having an eerie riff, and lyrics that are really quite haunting. It also has a good solo. ‘King Nothing’ goes back to the style of the opening track, being an old fashioned rock song. The song is reminiscence of ‘Enter Sandman’, even to the point of quoting a lyric from that song before the song finishes. Still it’s a really good rock song, catchy and really enjoyable.
‘Bleeding Me’ closes the first half of the album with style. Here we have an eight minute epic featuring a riff that’s memorable, and a really good chorus. As expected a song of this length will contain a lengthy solo by Kirk.
After a great opening half, the album unfortunately declines in quality. ‘Cure’ and ‘Poor Twisted Me’ follow ‘Bleeding Me’. They are both decent enough rock songs, and the latter has a blues riff and same interesting singing by James. Despite that, the songs are forgettable.
‘Wasting My Hate’ packs a good punch, and has a chorus that works better than it should. Even though the song contains a weak solo, it is still the best rock track of the second half of the album. ‘Ronin’ And ‘Thorn Within’ are also heavy tracks, but they are drag a bit and they simply don’t measure up to the rest of the album.
‘Mama Said’ is the infamous country song, hated by Metallica fans around the world. Personally I enjoy when bands experiment with their sound, but even with that mentality, ‘Mama Said’ is only ok. The lyrics are good enough, but the song really drags. Metallica’s ballads work better when they build up pace, reaching a strong climax. Unfortunately, here we don’t see it as the song falls flat.
‘The Outlaw Thorn’ closes the album on a high. Closing at nearly ten minutes, the closer is heavy and catchy. The second half of the song features a long solo by Kirk, the best on the album. The lyrics are dark, and James really sings well here. ‘The Outlaw Thorn’ is not only the best song on the album, it’s one of Metallica’s best period.
Metallica followed up ‘Load’ with “Reload’ a year later, featuring mostly outtakes from this album. ‘Reload’ is a heavier album, but most of the songs fall flat. Saying that ‘Fuel’, ‘Fixxxer’ and ‘Where the wild things are’ are great songs, which should have been included on this album.