The Band: James Hetfield- Vocals, rhythm guitar
Kirk Hammet- Lead guitar, back up vocals
Jason Newsted- Bass, back up vocals
Lars Ulrich- Drums
Metallica’s seventh album was entitled “Load”. After the release of this album their career did implode. Fans were enraged when they switched to hard rock from thrash. They claimed the bands were sell outs and that this was just an attempt to make more cash. This however, was not the case. The band were just trying to take there music to a different place. Although, evidently it wasn’t a place they should’ve taken the time to go, as most of Metallica’s fans had this to say about the album “it blows”. Although I must disagree with this proclamation. I found this album to be rather good, with a few exceptions. A lot of the instrumental work was first rate. So look into this don’t hesitate. It’s not nearly as bad as people make it out to be. Check it out and you will see. The guitar is far from Metallica’s best, but every album can’t be Master Of Puppets so give it a rest. It really wasn’t that bad, but unlike most of their other work it was more ballad. Some songs were in drop C or D. Nothing wrong with that that I can see. The bass had actually improved. Some excellent bridges and interludes. The drums however were a tad lacking, it seemed perhaps that Lars was slacking. Although, they kept the beat and that’s all this album needed to stay on its feet.
Now I’d like to tell you a little bit about what was happening with Metallica at this point in time and whilst I do so I’ll continue to rhyme. Metallica were at a delicate point in their career. The controversial reaction to their last album instilled them with fear. The world was watching their every move and they wanted to put out an album with a brand new groove. This was most likely a mistake as people judged it as trash, perhaps they should’ve stuck with thrash? But musical problems were not their only trouble. The band was going through problems itself, with Hetfield and Ulrich practically in a rumble. I big part of the bands problem was their writing process. It relied pretty much entirely on Hetfield, which was the cause of a lot of their troubles and financial losses. So after the release of Load and Reload they decided to share the writing responsibilities and went on to explore the bands unlimited possibilities.
The first four tracks of the album were very strong and like most Metallica songs were rather long. Some of James’s best vocals came from this, overall. Except for the vocals from …And Justice For All. The guitar work for the first few songs was simply brilliant. Then again I’m a bit of a Metallica fan boy so I may be being a bit lenient. The solo work was less in quality then Hammet’s usual stuff, but all in all I think it takes a little too much guff. They really weren’t band at all but perhaps they were just a tad small. Could’ve been longer could’ve been louder. I’m sure that would’ve made all their fans much prouder. There was also an excessive use of power chords. At times this put in me into somewhat of a bore. There wasn’t too much bass to speak of in these four tracks, but I’ll get to it later so crack open a beer/soda pop and relax.
The next four tracks are a bit of mixture. Some heavier tracks and some ballads, which paints an interesting picture. It liked this because it kept the album going, with no signs of slowing. It’s always great when bands throw in different songs near the middle of the album. It keeps the listener listening, which prompts then raise there thumb (in approval). I especially enjoyed the acoustic tracks. They improved the album, or in other words picked up the slack. Both contained admirable solos. How James manages to write so well nobody knows. The heavier tracks were also very well written. I was indeed pleasantly smitten. I liked “King Nothing” more than “The Cure”. Although, the two are quite close, you can be sure. King Nothing contained some superb bass. Which sky rockets that track into first place (in other words it’s my favourite track off the album). The solo in it was also splendid. I truly wish it had never ended.
The last six tracks, like the mid four had a high level of contrast. Thanks to that aspect of the album, my expectations for this were surpassed. “Mama Said” one was my favourite of the last six songs. Primarily because it seemed sort of like it didn’t belong. It really stood out. Like a fat guy with gout (at a anorexia convention). Although, this album did have its fair share of softer tracks. This one still stood out, leaving most other tracks behind its back. I was extremely impressed with James vocals on the last six songs. He stayed in key, even when the notes were long. Like the previous tracks the solos were superb. Even if they were a tad short, like a sputnik blurb (when the existed).
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Pros: Instrumentally pretty sound
A contrast of songs
Cons: Some tracks sounded the same
I find this album to be some what under-rated. Although, I guess some people have good reason to hate it. After some of Metallica’s previous work, this unexpected change may have made them seem like jerks. Their thousands and thousands of loyal fans, who bought tickets to their concerts and filled the stands, took this as sort of a kick in the jewels. Some even left to worship bands like Megadeth and Tool. But I encourage all of you out there to have trust, there next album will be better, it must! Now I’m going to go watch three blind mice, so until next time keep your stick on the ice.