Metallica
Load


1.5
very poor

Review

by backtothe80s USER (5 Reviews)
March 5th, 2011 | 71 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: There's an essential line in the song Mama Said that describes Metallica's 90s musicianship perfectly: "The brightest flame burns quickest."

While listening to the album Load, a concept that I discussed in my last review of Iron Maiden’s The Final Frontier entered my mind again. However, instead of applying it solely to Iron Maiden, this time I applied it to Metallica. To those not familiar with this idea, it’s that there is a bold line drawn between fans who only want the same classic album produced time after time by their favorite band, and those who are more open-minded to the different experiments and themes that their band explores.

In Iron Maiden’s case, I found myself belonging to the latter side of this line. However, this is only because when Iron Maiden experimented with progressive elements, they concocted brilliant epics, balanced out with enough classic-sounding shorter songs to keep their overall style varied and interesting. All in all, Maiden tried their hardest, and they delivered.

Metallica on the other hand, did the exact opposite. They took their famous progressive thrash sound that had developed on earlier albums Master of Puppets and ...And Justice For All and simplified it. Like Iron Maiden, Metallica’s evolution didn’t happen all at once, but where Maiden’s increasing use of progressive songs happened over four albums, it only took two albums for Metallica to completely change their sound. And where Iron Maiden’s effort in songwriting got better, Metallica ended up spending less effort to craft their music.

The end results, as everyone knows, were the Load/ReLoad albums. Magnificently lazy and uninspired, the first half of the Load/ReLoad series saw fans on the “classics only” side of the dividing line scream “SELL OUT!” louder than they did when the Black Album was released. And not only are they right, but they didn’t go far enough. Not only is this record an obvious money-grab, but it is also incredibly boring and overlong.

As you keep reading, please bear in mind that I do not believe that “classic” Metallica ceased to exist past 1990. I enjoyed Death Magnetic as well as the Black Album because those albums, like the classics, possessed variety, strong hooks, and interesting solos by Kirk. None of these qualities can be found on Load, and those that say otherwise have to listen to Ride The Lightning again. Many of Load’s songs sound extremely similar, partly due to the fact that almost all of the songs utilize the same monotonous beat by Lars Ulrich. Time signature changes have also been almost completely abandoned, and in those few moments where Metallica breaks out of the mainstream rock mold into something that can actually be called metal, it sounds so out-of-place that it actually does more to bring down the song than to raise it up. Such is the case on songs like “Hero Of The Day” a track which, while it would definitely be labeled filler on even The Black Album, is unfortunately one of the better songs off of Load.

Then there’s Kirk. What do you think is the best company to lazy songs" If you guessed lazy soloing, you were right. Kirk has played so many better solos that anyone familiar with at least one of them will feel disappointed with his performance on this album. The only solo that is even remotely interesting on this album can be found on Bleeding Me, whose bloated length would drive away today’s average music listener before he or she could even get to hear it. In all honesty, when an amateur guitar player like myself could figure out his solos by ear in about an hour, than you know that you’re not listening to the best there is.

As bad as this album is though, there are some bright spots. King Nothing, among the other rockers, stands out as the best of them. And like the Black Album, the softer songs on Load most often house the better moments on the album. Both Mama Said and Until It Sleeps, despite being oddly misplaced on a record of bland radio rock songs, are musically good enough to stand out and possess exceedingly excellent lyrics compared to the other songs. However, besides the fact that these bright spots are amidst many more terrible songs, they are also fairly repetitive, which decreases my ability to recommend anything on this album to other people.

Overall, while it’s true that Metallica was continuing to sell out on a massive scale with the release of Load, this time they did it with a level of mediocrity unmatched even by Judas Priest when they released Turbo. Heartbreakingly greedy and on the whole inexcusable, I recommend Load only to Metallica die-hards and the mostly mindless mass of mainstream media rock listeners.


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Comments:Add a Comment 
backtothe80s
March 5th 2011


40 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Sorry it's late, (and not what I originally said I would review). This is my first review for an album I had no previous association with. Comments/critique appreciated. Thanks!

Maniac!
March 5th 2011


28051 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

break your paragraphs up

Maniac!
March 5th 2011


28051 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

go to your profile and click "edit reviews" under your profile pic

backtothe80s
March 5th 2011


40 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Thanks for the tip. BTW, my review is just an opinion based on my observations. I'm not entirely against the sell out period, I actually think Black Album's an easy 4/5

EverythingEvil2113
March 5th 2011


1326 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Boo. I'm one of the few who actually enjoys this album. Re-Load is balls though.

Josh D.
March 5th 2011


14108 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

BACK TO THE FRONT

Illusionsx
March 5th 2011


95 Comments


Anyone know how to recover forgotten password?

LepreCon
March 5th 2011


5451 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

1.5

yeah but no

KILL
March 5th 2011


81231 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

short hair 1.5

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2011


32190 Comments


Yeah, I can actually look past the whole "this isn't how metallica should sound" argument and recognize this as a relatively decent rock album

Wheelah
March 5th 2011


756 Comments


Very well written review. I subscribe to the notion that the only good Metallica albums came out before 1990, but even looking past that and viewing the album as a whole, it's terribly bland and uninspired.

fr33convict
March 5th 2011


11723 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

They took their infamous progressive thrash sound
I hope you meant famous because they definitely weren't hated for their first albums. Also, there's no way this is a 1.5. I find the way your idea of justifying a 1.5 by saying they sold and that it's not complicated.

fr33convict
March 5th 2011


11723 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

That post should have said "odd" at the end but I fucked up.

backtothe80s
March 5th 2011


40 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

People, please don't discredit this review because you think I'm a paranoid fanboy or because it goes against what you think of this album. This review is solely an opinion, and I can and will stand by it completely. Remember, not all reviews below 2 are made out of blind passion

G3N3R1C
March 5th 2011


1945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'd honestly rather listen to this than 70% of their other material.

fr33convict
March 5th 2011


11723 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Believe me I know that (I've done a 1.5 myself). I just don't understand where you're coming from. You're arguments just seem incredibly weak.

1. Lars has always had weak beats.

2. Time signature changes where only utilized on …And Justice For All (and the title track on Master).

3. The point of Load and Reload was not to "sell out", they're hearts just weren't in metal anymore.

4. The solos have never been good but I personally think Kirk did a better job on this and Reload than on Kill 'Em All.



Your points just feel weak. I didn't neg as your writing is decent and this is one of your first reviews but I don't believe your arguments stand up very well.

rasputin
March 5th 2011


14968 Comments


why, because it's g3n3r1c?

WashboardSuds
March 5th 2011


5101 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

album's pretty decent, but it has its fair share of garbage.



reviews not bad for the most part

Defeater
March 5th 2011


5782 Comments


blood and spunk combine to create an enormous piece of shit

backtothe80s
March 5th 2011


40 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

fr33convict, I can understand your views, but I can give my own reasoning to each of those points you brought

up.



1. Lars used to use some highly technical double bass drum patterns (dyer's eve and battery I think are good

examples).

2. Time changes are on every early album, on songs like Ride The Lightning, The Four Horsemen, Leper Messiah, etc

(Let me know if I'm confusing it for something else)

3. I don't think you can say that their hearts weren't in it anymore was the only reason. That could be a good reason,

but remember that Bob Rock held a lot of influence over Metallica, who were trying to keep their success.

4. I like the fast solos Metallica used on songs like One and Master of Puppets, but besides that, the first RTL solo

and the Fade To Black solo are really good too.



This is what I was thinking when I came in to review this album, and it may be different from your thoughts, but if

you don't agree, write your own review.



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