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★★★½☆
(642 Reviews)

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Japanese-only SHM-CD (Super High Material CD) paper sleeve pressing of this classic album from the Bay-Area Metal legends, originally released in 1997. SHM-CDs can be played on any audio player and delivers unbelievably high-quality sound. You won’t believe it’s the same CD! Universal. 2008.For many heavy metal fans, Metallica epitomizes the genre, especially for those listeners who remember the band’s fast-and-furious 1983 debut, Kill ’Em All. As a result, their continued foray into a more stripped-down, laid-back sound with this album has met a mixed response. However, there’s enough innovation and just plain strange stuff on this album to make it worth a listen. The creepy ”The Memory Remains” is perfectly accentuated by Marianne Faithfull’s backing vocals, and ”Where the Wild Things Are” features the multilayered vocals and guitars that Metallica is famous for, albeit at about half their usual speed. The opening (”Fuel”) and closing (”Fixxxer”) tracks are especially strong, and intermixed with some slower, country-inflected tunes are the obnoxious rockers that made Metallica the long-running success they are. –Genevieve Williams

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  • I have been a Metallica fan for years, and when they first released Load, I like a lot of people was disappointed, and I saw this album as more of the same kind of … (Re-Load after all). I had written Metallica off as a band that used to be good. Recently, I changed my mind. I read a commentary of Kirk’s guitar work, which some people like to complain about(too much Wah, blah, blah). The reviewer was defending him and the band. The point was, would you respect Metallica if they were still playing the Master of Puppets style of music in their jean jackets and unlaced high tops. The answer is absolutely not. They would be a group of four cheese balls that we wouldn’t even be discussing(I can think of several bands like this). With this new attitude, I took a fresh look at the band. I bought both Load and ReLoad and gave them a listen. I have to say that I like them both. I should have known that some of the best tracks didn’t get any air play. Several bands have ripped off the old Metallica style that everyone raves about, but these guys have moved on. They took their heavy sound, refined it, and added in some contemporary influences (I hear a little Alice in Chains and other early 90’s grunge on a few of the tracks). I am also a guitar player and I have since added both Load and ReLoad to my guitar music collection. I have heard a lot of complaints about how the music is so weak now, and Kirk’s guitar playing is just … . Here is my take on that. From Kill ‘em All through And Justice For All, Metallica progressive made their music faster and more complicated. The rhythms got faster and more complex, song structure got more complex, and they were using full barre chords instead of just power chords by And Justice For All. Some of these songs are very challenging to play, but you can only take complexity so far. Starting with the Black album, things are scaled down. Song length is kept under control, and the songs are more focused (like their early work). As for Kirk’s guitar work, I think he is better than ever. Being able to use the Wah to acutally get more expressive and vocal solos is a big challenge which he does admirably. Sure he isn’t playing pentatonic scales 100 miles an hour all the time, but he finally got that blues/metal blend he has been working at for so long. Bottom line: Knowing the obsessive perfectionists that they are, I should have known better than to write them off. Anyone who ever says that Metallic has sold out or not given a good effort is just plain wrong. Ask yourself, why would they sell out now, what would they gain. The answer is nothing(You think they need the money?!). The only thing these guys are interested in is making music they enjoy playing. If you don’t like their new music, fine, but don’t confuse that with selling out. They have never lost sight of who they really make music for, and that is themselves, as it should be. Stepping off the soap box…Some of the high points of this album are Fuel, The Memory Remains, Devil’s Dance, Carpe Diem Baby, Where The Wild Things Are, Low Man’s Lyric, Attitude, and my favorite is Fixxxer. Another great effort from a great band.

    Posted on January 21, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I would really really like to know just where all these so-called die-hard Metallica came from, did they just appear out of no where? Well, as soon as the band does a couple albums that are radically different from it’s previous work, they come running in droves. “Yeah, I was a Metallica fan way back in the San-Fran club days.” Well, no one pointed out that for anyone who’s been listening that long, they would be about the same age as the band members, and wouldn’ve matured along with them. The only legitimate complaint about the new Metallica has nothing to do with metal “culture” or musical technicalities. It is simply this, Load and Re-Load were not realy albums that you could get up and swing your hair around to. But people, come on, if you want to swing your hair, they’re perpetually on tour and seem to love their old music just a much as the fans do. And there’s ten years and four albums worth of hair swinging metal for your enjoyment. If you want that, listen to it, but don’t be an idiot by laying down the “sellout” chants. The word means absoulutely nothing. Music “fans” will use the word sellout for any reason, just so long as it’s music, and there’s something they dislike about it, it’s “sold-out.” But really, listen to the music and see for yourself. Load came out in 1996 when a lot of people in the music industry were predcting that the techno bands would get big and replace grunge, and although that never really happened, most can remember a few radio hits by acts like Prodigy and the Chemcal Brothers. And what does Metallica do? They go out and make a country-metal album, at a time when everyone was talking techno. Hmmmmmmm, so much for selling-out. And now, everyone is talking rap-metal(Korn, Limp, Rage etc.) and what does Metallica do? They do a classical-metal album. Like I said, the only complaint about Load and Re-Load is the hair swinging factor, but if you buy a lyric sheet for the albums you’ll find find theme’s a lot more twisted than anything from their thrash days. Like I said, if you want thrash, there’s plenty of it to listen to on older CD’s, and the band plays an even balance of it on stage, but let people grow up and mature, because if I were James Hetfield and the only legitimate claim I had to anything in my life was that I made people want to swing their hair around, I’d go find a nice dark corner to hide in.

    Posted on January 21, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • After promising for months during pre-release interviews that “Reload” would not be simply leftover material from “Load” (although the songs were written during the same sessions), the album eventually dropped to a misinformed public. “Reload” sounds like absolutely nothing else EXCEPT material that wasn’t good enough for inclusion on the already spotty “Load” album. The opening track, “Fuel”, was one of the album’s biggest hits and current live faves, but both lyrically and musically it finds Metallica sinking further and further into dimwitted neanderthal rock. The James Hetfield that used to pen such masterpieces as “Fade to Black” and “Blackened” is now reduced to such tripe as “Gimme fuel/Gimme fire/Gimme that which I desire/Oooh!” (how could that possibly have passed the drawing board stage?) Even though the song does boast what’s indisputably one of the catchier riffs on the album, it’s bar band simplicity and the blockheaded lyrics mar it beyond favor.Of the other singles released from “Reload”, “The Memory Remains” sounds like Metallica merely going through the motions, despite the fact that they’ve only been playing in this style for one album now. The “la la la” vocals by Marianne Faithfull are a horrendous misstep; I defy fans of the song to deny that they wouldn’t prefer a version without Faithfull’s contributions. As for the other big “hit”, “The Unforgiven II” is nothing more than a crass attempt to cash in on the success of a far superior song. Metallica are shrewd businessmen and realize that most people tend to prefer the first material they encounter by a band, which is why you see so many of the positive reviews for the latter albums obviously written by teenagers and other youth – the younger they are, the less likely they are to have heard the original “Unforgiven”, and once they’ve decided the sequel is a good song they’re unlikely to admit to a hasty judgment later and downgrade their opinion of the sequel. At best you tend to get a “they’re both cool in their own way” response. Finally, one of my main complaints with “Reload” (and a prime indication of why it seems like a rush job) is that the solos on the album sound like they were all recorded during one long, self indulgent jam session, then chopped up indiscriminately and inserted into the finished tracks at random. There’s not a single solo that sounds like it was handwritten for a particular song, and by about 3 songs into the set you already develop a “been there done that” immunity to Kirk Hammett’s remaining efforts. “Reload” is the only album to date that I would rank decidedly below even “St Anger”, and should probably be the last stop on a neophyte’s list of Metallica albums.

    Posted on January 21, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Okay, there seems to be four Metallica fan groups out there. You have the “I’ve been the biggest fan since “no life ’till leather” demo came out and they say Metallica sold out with “And justice for all”. Next you have the “Master of Puppets” group that says everything that’s not “Master of Puppets” sucks. Followed by the “And Justice”/black album crowd, who for some reason don’t like the earlier “Kill ‘em All” and “Ride the Lightning”, yet state that “Reload/Load” were total sell-outs and nothing will compare to the Black album, the album all the other “fans” whined abot years ago when it first came out. Then you’ve got the new fan base that loves “Load” and “Reload” and are also buying “Garage inc.” (cover songs that influeced them) and earlier albums. The funny thing is you don’t hear a lot of newer fans complaining about the older albums or all the older songs that they still play at their shows. Some of you so called “die hard fans from back in the day” need to lighten up a little bit and maybe expand your musical horizons some. “Reload” is not a bad album. It is a little different but is still a great effort by four talented musicians. Some other open minded reviewers made reference to “hair swinging” and if thats all you’re into don’t buy this album, I agree. There are plenty of hair swinging bands,(Exodus, Meliah Rage, Kreator etc.) none have the talent, then or now, that the musicians in Metallica have.

    Posted on January 21, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • First off, anyone who bashes this album based on past Metallica releases is missing the point. We’re not in 1983 anymore. At least in their albums, Metallica have made their stamp on thrash metal and have moved on. They still play all the old stuff live, and play it better than ever.Anyway, let’s get straight to the point here. If you are a hardcore metalhead, and accept nothing but fast and angry music, this album is obviously not for you. If you are just a fan of good hard rock of all kinds from blues to metal, chances are you’ll enjoy this. As far as Lars’ drumming here, it is simpler than before. Mainly because these Load records are more guitar driven (both Kirk and James play rhythum) than before, and Lars is simply becoming more vibe oriented, rather than being all flashy and show-off. Still, as seen on the songs “Fuel” and “Bad Seed”, there are still some good drum fills throughout the album.Even though its been done 100 times before, I feel its necessary to break this down song by song. I’m even going to listen to them as I write this.1) Fuel: Fast song, as the title indicates. Almost reminicent of old Motorhead, particularly “Ace of Spades”. The fast and simple main rhythum, the guitar fills in between, and Lars’ churning double-bass drum during the chours. The best song on the album.2) The Memory Remains: An old friend of the ‘Stones, Marianne Faithful, contributes some vocals here. Again, simple guitar riffs, almost like a darker Iron Maiden. The subject matter deals with famous people fading out of the spotlight. You’ll notice here that Kirk’s leads are more blues than speed, something he learned from one of his guitar heros: UFO’s Michael Schenker. Another great song.3) Devil’s Dance: Funny how the old Metallica never wrote anything about the devil. This is where the heavyness begins. The opening guitar effects are great (especially the crunchy one at about :16). Although it doesn’t have the groove of the classic “Sad but True”, it holds its own. Basically, this song is about the temptations of the devil. A real hidden gem.4) The Unforgiven II: Indeed, it does resemble the original song in some ways. James was writing this song one day and realized that the chord progression was similar to “The Unforgiven”. Rather than toss it, he tweaked it up enough so that it only became a sequel. The somewhat “country” sound in the clean guitar is just James using the B-bender in his Fender Telecaster. Its interesting how in the original, the verses had heavy music and the chorus had soft, while here its vice versa. Overall, despite the resemblance to the first Unforgiven, this song is good enough to stand on its own.5) Better than You: A song that wins a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance can’t be that bad. The subject matter deals with something we all can relate to: the desire to be better than your rivals. Hard, driving guitars are the heart of this song.6) Sliter: Although not a terrible song, its not one of the most memorable. James seems to be telling us something when he says “There ain’t no heros here”. One thing about all of Metallica’s songs is that they are open to a lot of interpretation. This one doesn’t seem to have a meaning that’s obvious.7) Carpe Diem Baby: The title pretty much says what this song is all about. Great sense of movement here. If you don’t like this, James has two words for you: “Suck it!”8) Bad Seed: Tuning down to C# gives this song an added element of heavyness. Lars gets a little wild on the drums here, especially in the chours. Cool song.9) Where the Wild Things Are: You may know a children’s story book by the same name. Haunting opening guitars lead to pounding power chords. Indeed, the whole song is very dark and haunting, reminicent of Alice in Chains. Another cool song.10) Prince Charming: A fun, loose, and dirty song, kinda like “So What”. Not too much lyrical or musical depth here, just something to sit back and enjoy.11) Low Man’s Lyric: This song about the homeless seems out of place on a Metallica record. Even though a past song, Nothing else Matters, has the same slow and clean feel to it, it doesn’t have the climactic ending of its predecessor. Many people would avoid this song simply because its a pure ballad, but again, that’s missing the point. Nevertheless, a cool song.12) Attitude: The theme of vibe oriented songs continues here. Aggressive in its music and lyrics, its another great song.13) Fixxxer: Here’s where it gets ugly (in a GOOD way). The opening wahs of the guitar are Hendrix-like in their sound. This is one twisted, heavy song, somewhat similar to “The Outlaw Torn”. One of the best on the album, and one of the more popular songs among the fans.This album, along with Load, is a lot more loose than the tightness and speed of ’80s Metallica. Still, most modern bands (3 Doors Down, Papa Roach, Blink 182) would crumble under the weight of this album. It might be a weaker Metallica album than others, but its definately not a bad one.

    Posted on January 21, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now