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  • 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