Metallica’s ‘Load’ Had Fans Shook! | Album Review

Metallica’s Load (1996) is known for being criminally underrated by many fans. So, if you know me, I’m all about checking out the underrated albums because you can get sick of the popular songs, but you can’t get sick of the lesser-known songs! 

If I could sum up the Load album in one sentence, it’d be this: Metallica playing kickass songs with bad haircuts. Ok, maybe they weren’t that bad, but at the time, they were shocking for the “so-called” heavy metal worshippers. If Metallica released Load as their first album, then people would’ve dug it. But since they had five albums before that, including their most successful album to date, Metallica (1991), they were taking a huge gamble.

The album saw the band making the transition from thrash metal to hard rock. It also took on influences from country rock, alternative rock, and blues-rock. At 79 minutes, it is Metallica’s longest studio album to date. The songwriting is magnificent, covering topics on depression, anxiety, drug addiction, anger, and death. My favorite song on the album is “Mama Said;” it’s got a country vibe, and it’s about James Hetfield coping with his mother’s death. 

Like I said before, if Load is the first Metallica album one listens to, then they’ll enjoy it. For life-long Metallica fans that prefer their heavier stuff, then they’d be very puzzled when “Ain’t My B*tch” comes on. Even the drums sound different from their earlier stuff. It’s a great song; my only complaint is I don’t like how Hetfield overemphasizes “b*tch” in the chorus. I’m not saying swearing in songs should come naturally, but it sounds weird when it’s overdone.  

“2×4” is a banger because it’s got a great groove and pretty cool drum fills in there. I feel like “The House Jack Built” would’ve sounded cool on S&M because of the eerie feel to it, and the lyrics say “let the show begin,” so how can you not play that with a symphony? They could’ve covered up the talkbox solo, who knows! I love Metallica, but they don’t stand a chance with Richie Sambora when it comes to the talkbox. 

“Until It Sleeps” is a beautiful ballad, and people can interpret it in many ways. It sounds incredible live, especially with Jason Newsted’s backing vocals. “King Nothing” is a good headbanger and has a sick bass line. “Bleeding Me” is perfect for those that are battling depression and features nice drum fills as well. I didn’t realize how haunting “Hero of the Day” was until I read the lyrics, and it got accompanied by a music video that I still can’t comprehend. Now I can’t get Newsted dressed as a game show host out of my head!

“Cure” doesn’t sound like a typical Metallica song, and I thought the intro sounded like “Rocket Queen” from Guns N’ Roses; I still think it kicks a**, partially because of Newsted’s slap bass solo. “Poor Twisted Me” is another slower one, and it has a sick guitar riff. “Wasting My Hate” is everyone’s anthem at the moment. For “Mama Said,” listen to the acoustic guitar, Hetfield’s heart poured out, the lyrics, and try not to cry, I dare you! “Thorn Within” is another great headbanger people can interpret in many ways. The song reminds me of the negative outlook I had on myself in high school till my early years of college, but now I’m like, “f*ck that!” 

“Ronnie” has the best guitar riff out of all the songs on the whole album! It reminds me of “Black Ice” by AC/DC, which I don’t mind. It’s got a great groove, sick chorus, an intriguing drum solo, and did I mention an awesome guitar riff? “The Outlaw Torn” is the longest song on the album; the running time is 9:48, but it doesn’t feel long at all. So many things are going on in this song, from Newsted’s backing vocals to the Lars Ulrich’s drum fills, to the bass riff to Kirk Hammett’s guitar solo. It felt like one large jam session. What a brilliant way to end an album!

My final thoughts on Load is it’s a great album, and the fans that despise it are missing out. It’s still Metallica but mixed with different genres of music. All of the songs on the album are heavy and dark, except for “Mama Said,” that’s a different kind of heavy. But do yourself a favor and give the album a chance. It’s worth it, trust me! 

Let me know what’s your favorite track from Load in the comments below! 

Take care and see ya real soon!

Lana

15 thoughts on “Metallica’s ‘Load’ Had Fans Shook! | Album Review

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  1. I am one of those fans who criminally underrate the Load albums, lol. I wouldn’t say I despise it, but no matter how many times I’ve tried, I just can’t get into it. They sound like they’re trying to fit into the ’90s rock scene instead of being Metallica. But that just me. Great write up, Lana!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t want to try change your mind because I’m sure a lot of fans feel the same way as you. Lyrically it sounds like Metallica, but the sound of the record itself is definitely a musical transition for the band. Thanks for reading my post Kevin!

      Like

    2. I’m with you Buried. I think James became a parody of himself with regards to his vocals here. All the yodeling and yeahs. Plus they got all red neck too. Wearing gas station baseball caps, growing white trash mullets, writing songs like “Fuel”, posing as mechanics on the Garage Inc cover, doing country songs. James and Kirk are from California, Jason is from Michigan, and Lars is from Denmark! Quit acting like “good ol’ boys”. I’m from the South, only the inbreds look/act like that! It’s not cool.

      Sorry, that was off topic. The music sucks too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. lol, that’s ok.

        Well, I do remember at the time how jarring it was to see lars with short hair and sporting black nail polish. But honestly, I wouldn’t care what they looked like as long as the tunes were good.

        The way I look at it is, they went from setting the trends in thrash metal to following them in ’90s rock. And I think James’ vocal style doesn’t fit that genre as well.

        But, whatever. They went on to make gobs of money and win grammys. So good for them!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yeah to be honest! The eyeliner was a bit much for me to handle, so thank goodness they dropped that look haha. Kirk wore eyeliner for a bit afterwards, but not anymore I believe.

        I agree that the 90s was a weird time for musicians. I’d go into my love/hate relationship with Def Leppard’s ‘Slang’ but that’s for another time.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You are right. This was the first Metallica album I played, and I loved it.

    It was the summer of 96. Hard rock was…all but dead. And here come Metallica with an album of exactly the kind of music I liked. Heavy rock, hard rock, country rock, 10 minute epics. SOLD!

    It got me into the rest of the Metallica catalogue. This is a great album. It might not be a great “Metallica” album, but it is great indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THANK YOU!!!! Someone who finally apprciates the ‘Load’ album. I know the 90s was a weird time for a lot of bands (Def Leppard’s ‘Slang’ is my guilty pleasure), but I liked that Metallica took a risk and didn’t let anyone tell them what to do with that record.

      I think especially now during this crazy year we’ve had so far, we need a record that’s raw and real and filled with emotion that people can relate to. I’m so glad I bought this album when I had the chance to (I bought it about it two-three weeks after I wrote that review).

      So cool that ‘Load’ was the album that got you into the band. It’s still Metallica, like I pointed out, ‘Load’ is a different kind of heavy and they’re all about heavy. So it’s a phenomenal Metallica album! Thanks for reading Mike!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. God DAMN I love Slang. I played the shit out of that album in 96 at the store, trying to sell copies. Pardon my language. I h ave two copies of it, due to the bonus features on each. Technically three copies, I had to download the iTunes bonus tracks as well, to get everything.

        Fun fact: “Wasting My Hate” was the Metallica anthem for me.

        Thanks for writing!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No worries! That’s the language I’ve been using since this pandemic started. ‘Slang’ is a great record; “All I Want is Everything” is one of those songs I can relate to personally. I want to get the Def Leppard Collection Volume 2 just so that I can get a hold of “Worlds Collide (a bonus track from ‘Slang’) because that is a f*cking banger!

        Here is a post I did about ‘Slang’ earlier this year: https://lanateramae.wordpress.com/2020/05/14/all-i-want-is-everything-slang-turns-24/
        I might do another one after I get the album for real! Sorry I’m just sending you a bunch of old posts I’ve done haha.

        “Wasting My Hate” is a great song and is probably everyone’s anthem at this point. Thank you for reading my stuff Mike, I’m glad you’re enjoying them!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Awesome! I will read your Slang review tomorrow. It’s great to know the new generation “gets” the old stuff I love. Or at least some of them do!

        “All I Want is Everything” is a clear album highlight, a great ballad, and a song that they can play ANY time as far as I am concerned. What I liked was that they did something different. Just as Hysteria was abruptly different from Pyromania, Slang was a drastic left turn from Hysteria. And in my opinion, that is EXACTLY what they had to do. Plus they had Rick Allen playing acoustic drums again, and that made me very happy because that’s a sound that couldn’t be faked back then.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. No problem Mike, there’s no rush or if you forget that’s fine too haha! I’m learning to appreciate your generation of music and I wouldn’t have done that if it weren’t for Steve Clark (which I will explain in an upcoming post). But also I hate what the music industry has become nowadays.

        I agree! Despite coming from an album that didn’t sell well, it’s a great Def Leppard track that I’m sure fans would love to hear live again. John talked about that too. He loves how different ‘Slang’ is from their previous records, and I love it. I would’ve gotten into it sooner, if I hadn’t read past reviews on it from the “so-called” fans.

        Like

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