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Metallica 'Load' Review Retrospective part 6- The Metal Voice


By Justin Stockton

After touring for nearly four years to promote their extremely popular self titled fifth album released in '91, Metallica finally took a year long break after going nonstop since '81. Then in 1996, the boys came back with...HAIRCUTS!? I mean I don't really care about this but it was a hot topic at the time. Seriously I have heard more about Metallica's image change than legitimate thoughts on their album they released that year entitled “Load”. Featuring an avante garde style cover and an interesting back album photo, A lot of people thought this was going to be the album that broke Metallica's popularity. As we all know it didn't and people still ate it up. However, does this album still feel relevant today or is it just another popular heavy metal album in the 90s that just faded away?

Track Rundown

1. Ain't My Bitch- Right away you can tell that Metallica went for a more had rock approach in that there is more groove in everyone's playing that comes with a heavy blues influence as well. James still sounds as angry as he did before I think and his singing is on par throughout the whole album. I still think the chorus to this song is catchy as hell and Kirk's slide guitar filled solo was a nice inclusion as well. Overall I still think this song is a solid opener. Solid riffs, solid grooves all around a damn good time.

2. 2 X 4- This song is a lot more slower and relies heavily on that more bluesy groove that is peppered all throughout the record. I personally dig it I mean it is something different but in a good way. This song is probably one of the catchiest on the album especially throughout the verses. It definitely has a hard “90's” feel with it and when you listen to it you'll know what I mean. It definitely is a more oddball song in Metallica's discography but I think it works and is a good driving song.

3.T he House Jack Built- Another very different song with some of the most laid back riffing on the album. I still think it is a good song to check out once in a while but I just feel like it halts the album when I listen to the record fully. It isn't a bad song it just has a very slow pace to it. It definitely has a more artsy feel I think Metallica were going for with this album.

4. Until It Sleeps- One of my favorite songs on the album actually and it doesn't even sound like a Metallica song. It is very catchy still and I think the writing is on par, it just carries a lot of emotion across it and has a dark overtone that I dig. A nice structured 90's hard rock song. The chorus works pretty well too.

5. King Nothing- Much like the opening track, this song ops for a harder edged hard rock sound that I think worked and still works. The bass line in the beginning is really my favorite part as well its just so catchy. This is actually one of the first Metallica songs I've ever heard as well and I always dug it. The chorus I still dig as well, and is one of the best on the album. There is a reason they still bust this one out once in awhile on stage.

6. Hero Of The Day- This song has a lot of a sort of melodic blues element to it, I find it really hard to explain. I really like this song to because it works really well and everything fits together structurally. The really chugging parts at first felt out of place because they are some of the most aggressive moments on the album but the more I've listened to this song, they have grown on me. A good song that I come back to from time to time.

7. Bleeding Me- Oh I have always loved the opening to this song it just sounds so dark and groovy. Definitely one of the artsiest songs on the album but like “Until It Sleeps” it carries a lot of that dark atmosphere that I really like. Another song I like to come back to when In put this album on because it actually works.

8. Cure- This song is just ehhh okay. It has it's moments but again has this slow pace that feels like it isn't reaching its full potential for what it could be. The chorus just doesn't sound complete to me for some reason as well. I do dig the solo though. Overall, I tend to to overlook this song most of the time.

9. Poor Twisted Me- This song has a pretty good groove going on in it but I feel like it goes on for too long sometimes but the solo is pretty cool but the vocals feel very off on this one, they just don't feel right with it sounding like James is singing through a radio. Another eh okay song, some good moments some bad.

10. Mama Said- I always dug this song penned by James Hetfield. It always held a lot of emotion to me and has a vintage country feel that I really actually dig. It is just such a left field song but it is a good one. The emotion, instrumentation and vocals are all extremely on point. I almost never skip this song.

11. Ronnie- This song has a really weird riff to it that has a bit of southern twang to it that I always find my head bobbing to. A pretty good jam that has some really angry and melodic vocal piece from James that I like. Overall I like this song when I am in the mood for it.

12. Wasting My Hate- Easily my favorite song on the album for the sheer anger Hetfield lets out in both his guitar playing and his singing. I always put this song on when I am pissed it just is one of those songs and not to mention has some extremely catchy hard rocking riffs too. I feel a bit of a punk vibe on here too. Probably the closest song on the album that Metallica gets to playing actual Heavy Metal on the record.

13. Thorn Within- This song is another laid back hard rock song that feels like filler to me no matter how many times I hear it I just can never get into it. Just one I tend to get lost to when I listen to it.

14. The Outlaw Torn- This song essentially is just a slow jam that leads out of the album. It is a fun song to kind of sit back and listen to. I just feel it runs a bit longer than it needs to.

Overall, I would give this album probably a 6.5 out of 10. It definitely I feel is miles better in the term of creative songwriting than “Metallica” was with many different genre's being present as well. There are quite a few songs that I really like on here. However, there is still quite a bit of filler in places that only leaves about half the album in my playlist when I listen to it. Even though some songs are very catchy and some are very well written, some others feel way too lost or feel like they are building to an idea but never get there, sort of feeling unfinished. However, this is still my favorite Metallica album from the 90's and it sold very well again, prompting for a part two record entitled “Reload” released in 1997.

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