Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Really, I haven’t heard a terrible Metallica solo yet, I just think the ones on the self-titled album have been the strongest when it comes to fitting in with the songs.

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Load was a much, much better album than I was expecting. Yes, it’s long, yes, it isn’t perfect, and yes, there’s a load (no pun intended) of stuff that could be trimmed, but most of these songs had some really good elements that I liked. This new style appears to be “hard rock performed by a metal band” and it really isn’t all that bad. Dunno if this will rise or fall in my estimations, but I think it’ll be the former if anything because - for lack of a better way to put this - Load is not a “load”.

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
Load has a lot of good songs. Until It Sleeps, King Nothing, Hero of the Day, Bleeding Me, The House Jack Built, The Outlaw Torn, all good stuff. I've always felt that if you combined Load and ReLoad into one album and got rid of the garbage (there's quite a few of that on both) it'd be a stellar album.

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
I think “Cure” had some great stuff in it though. I’ll agree that “Poor Twisted Me” is pretty weak. The first half of the album was stronger than the second half IMO.
I’m a fan of the Load album, don’t think it is exceptional in anyway, but a really good solid set of hard rock songs. As my tastes are more in the hard rock area, and I’m not that fussed with thrash metal, I’d rather listen to Load than the early Metallica albums, though obviously I can see that they were more groundbreaking and why they are looked upon in greater esteem.


Let's Get Volatile
“2 X 4” was probably the weakest song on the album from just a single listen.
I liked "2 x 4" a lot, it felt like they were going for a Motörhead groove with it. I'd agree the first half was stronger, but maybe I was just losing interest as the album goes on too long. "Outlaw Torn" was an interesting one to end on. Some good stuff in there, but feels like more of a jam session than a fully fleshed out song.

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Load actually gets better with a second listen. Every single song on here - even the weaker ones - has at least something good about it. It's a long listen, but it really isn't a bad one. I quite like it.

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Load (1996)

1. Ain't My Bitch - A pretty cool hard rock style riff opens up Metallica's longest album ever. There's a lot of groove here that I really like, it's quite a boppy sort of song. James still has that sort of "tuff guy" vocal style here, but it seems to fit this style of music a lot better than it has the previous two albums and honestly doesn't bother me much. This verse is honestly really cool, too. The pre-chorus slows this down a bit and isn't quite as good, but it really doesn't hurt the song. The chorus is pretty great. The only issue I have is the way James sings "bi-tcha", but it's the kind of thing I can overlook when the rest of the stuff is so good. The instrumental section isn't outstanding but it's not bad at the same stroke. I really had no great expectations from a song called "Ain't My Bitch", but these fuckers actually pull it off quite well. I love this new rock style and I really like this song. Great opener for the album, and while it isn't perfect, it's pretty damn close. 9/10

2. 2 X 4 - A really cool drum intro kicks off this groovy number. The verse is solid stuff and James sounds good here. Not too sure about the vocals in the pre-chorus and I don't really care for how long it is and how it segues into the chorus itself. Luckily the groove is still backing it well and so there's a bit of a sense of style backing it that's nice. The instrumental has a cool slowdown section that's quite nice. I feel like the band was attempting to write their version of a Danzig song, right down to how James is singing on here. I like the way it builds up into a louder piece before coming down for a cool drum fill right before the pre-chorus / chorus section. This song is a real grower. I thought it was really bland on first listen but it's gotten better with repeated listens. It's far from perfect but it's a solid enough second track here. 7/10

3. The House That Jack Built - Really cool opening here that feels like something off of Skunkworks (which makes sense since it was released in the same year and Bruce and Metallica were both going for something similar with their respective albums). James feels a little weird in the intro but it isn't bad at all. I like the build-up going on before we set into a groovier riff piece. The verse isn't bad but it's far from outstanding. Slows down a little for a repeat of the intro section before coming back into the verse (where James is kinda off in delivery). Luckily the chorus here is awesome. Everything works there, from vocals to delivery to music. There's a short bit between before we repeat the chorus again and then we head into the instrumental. It's kinda wonky in the beginning and then the talk box guitar comes in and... it's not good. A repeat of the intro before we head right back into that awesome chorus. The final piece of the outro is pretty cool. This song is a bit inconsistent, because a lot of it really isn't all that good... except for the chorus, which is awesome. Because of it, it pulls up a nearly bland song and makes it worth listening to. Cool way to tackle alcoholism, but it could've used a little more time in the oven in a lot of places. 6/10

4. Until It Sleeps - Really cool, quiet little opening. James sounds great on the verse and I love how the guitars back him before it gets heavier for the chorus. And it's an incredible chorus, too. We calm down again for verse 2 before building back up for the second chorus. The bridge that follows is pretty solid too and I love how it leads down to the quiet verse again. I think this was about James's mother? He really pulls it off too. The instrumental piece has a cool Buckethead-like bit that I quite like. Then we build up to the chorus again and it's still fantastic. We loop through it one more time before we head out the door to the exit. This song is fantastic, easily the best on this album. Everything from the music to the delivery to the vocals is fantastic, and despite being one of shortest songs on here, it more than leaves its mark. 10/10

5. King Nothing - Cool little build-up from the last track that leads to a really cool bassline. The drumming starts to kick in and then in come the guitars for a pretty cool riff. Throwback to "Enter Sandman" in the lyrics of the verse, which is pretty solid too. Pre-chorus leads into a really cool chorus which I like a lot. It's got a really cool melody to it and James sounds great on it. Solid instrumental section that really feels like a repeat of the one in "Sandman", and if you didn't think there were similarities yet then the bridge comes in and shows 100% how this damn structure is basically the same from that song. That said, it's a solid song on its own and while not as good as "Sandman" was, I still like it. It's not quite perfect though, there's a lot of stuff that could've been done better, but they did hit a peak with that chorus. Good, solid song. 8/10

6. Hero Of The Day - A really cool ascending piece opens up this song with some cool Hetfield vocals that feel full of nostalgia and sadness at the same time. I love how this song builds up further with each piece. There's another round through that's just as good as it was the first time. Then there's a heavier section that feels like Metallica making a macho ABBA song, and then we come to a really cool little instrumental section that I think is pretty awesome. We head through and reach that heavier section again that leads right through to the end with James crying out in a passionate piece that works pretty well. This song is pretty great, not quite perfect but really close at the same time. Lots of emotion here, big sense of loss, and I think it's pretty awesome throughout. 9/10

7. Bleeding Me - Pretty sluggish and quiet opening here, and I like how the guitars sound and James's singing when he comes in for the verse. I quite like how the song gets a bit heavier before coming back down again nicely. Another loop through and we get a pretty great chorus with some heavier guitars that I quite like. Some nice quieter stuff following it before we head back into the chorus, which is pretty nice to hear again. The song seems to want to end right here and I think that'd have been fine, but apparently the band disagrees because it starts to build back up into a pretty groovy piece that isn't that bad. There's a cool bridge piece before we come back to that chorus again with a few musical changes in back of it. There's a fairly nice instrumental here too before we come back to the riff and then we come down to that tranquil piece again. James comes back for another verse and then all the lights switch off and we exit. This is a pretty solid finish for the album's first "act" and I think it's a pretty great song overall. It's a little too long maybe, but there's enough good things going on to make it worthwhile despite that. 8/10

8. Cure - Nice drumbeat opens up Act II as guitars come in and James does this cool talking piece that I quite like. Then one James starts singing and the other James keeps talking in a cool double tracked piece. I really like this "I do believe" pre-chorus, it's pretty cool. Another round through and we get the actual chorus, which is pretty solid itself. Really cool instrumental section before we come back to the chorus before the song quiets down with some more "I do believe" bits interjected. It builds back up to the chorus and from there we head towards the end. This is a really cool little song, maybe not quite outstanding but it's got a lot of great moments. 8/10

9. Poor Twisted Me - Some decent guitar thingies set this song up and we enter a slow groovy piece. We enter the verse which features James vocals, but they've been put through some sort of system that works, but isn't him at his finest on this album. I do like when he hits the high note at the end of the chorus piece. There's a cool bridge piece after we come through a second time and that leads to a cool little instrumental piece. Repeat of the bridge and we come back to the chorus piece and we leave a few seconds later. This is one of the weakest songs on the album IMO, but it's also the second shortest and because of that it works better than it would have otherwise. It's above average, I like the groove and stuff, but it doesn't quite knock things out of the park, especially compared to most of the songs on here. 6/10

10. Wasting My Hate - There's a cool quiet opening to this one with a really cool James thing that I love a lot before we escalate up to some heavier stuff. The verse here isn't outstanding but it works, and leads up to the chorus - which is that thing I liked a lot from the intro. It works quite well. We go through another round. There's a cool, pumping guitar piece following it that I quite like. Man, I really, really like this chorus. A fast-paced ending closes us out. This is the shortest song on the album and it's also one of the fastest. I think it's pretty great. It isn't the best Metallica song ever and isn't necessarily one of the best on this album too, but it's still pretty great. 8/10

11. Mama Said - I like James's "one, two, three, four, one, two" before the acoustic guitar comes in. I feel like this verse is going for a "Simple Man" kind of thing, only it's not as hopeful as that song was given James's issues with his parents. I can't tell if I like or dislike the verse, but I know that once that country twang comes in for the pre-chorus it's just... eh. It's just too much of a cheesefest for me to like it. Any round through and we come to chorus that's... I dunno. Like... I completely get what the band was going for with this song and I think it's cool that they'd experiment with this new style, and there's a lot of emotion here that shows itself clearly, but they really didn't succeed very well. I think verse 3 is pretty good, with more power backing it, but it goes right back into the pre-chorus and it still doesn't work. James tries to break forward and it still doesn't quite work. We get a bit of the chorus melody and then the chorus itself breaks back in. Then we finally quiet down and head to the exit. This song is a real "wtf" moment for the band, I get why some like it and why the band did it but... I just don't like it. I've really tried to like it, but I can't. Weird song that sounds good on paper but isn't in execution. 3/10

12. Thorn Within - A cool drumbeat opens as the guitars move in and bring us back up from the previous... thing. This riff is pretty cool, if slow, but then we head into a bit of a faster one next that's the kind of thing you can bop to. A quieter verse comes in and... holy shit, it sounds like Elton John! I feel like I've heard this thing on The Road To El Dorado's soundtrack. It's weird but I really like it. The chorus is pretty solid too. Another round through that great verse and then through the solid chorus before we head into a solid bridge. Cool little instrumental comes in next before we come back to the verse and shortly thereafter the chorus. I quite like the outro too, though I keep expecting a fade out and it never comes. This song isn't quite as outstanding compared to a lot of songs on here, but it's still pretty good. Solid affair with some great moments. 7/10

13. Ronnie - A cool little riff opens up this song and drums kick in to lead us into a piece that feels like we've stepped into a western. There's a cool piece before the verse that I like a lot. The verse itself is pretty good too. The pre-chorus is pretty cool and the slow but steady chorus works well too. Another round through that still works well before we quiet down a bit for a spoken word bridge in which James sounds more redneck than Duck Dynasty. We come back to the chorus and go into a groovy outro bit that I like. This song isn't terribly outstanding, but the plodding vibe it gives off is pretty cool and makes it a fairly enjoyable listen. 7/10

14. The Outlaw Torn - The album's final track fades in with a really cool piece that reminds me of Buckethead before we move into another groovy riff. If there's one thing this album pulls off, it's being groovy without being groove metal. Things slow down a little for a sluggish verse that comes through before we head into a cool pre-chorus that features a cool high note from James on "my whole lifetime!" It sounds weird on first listen but grows on you. Slow back down for the verse again before rising back up to the pre-chorus. Then the actual chorus comes in and it's pretty epic. Then things drop down for a cool bass solo section that I think is pretty great. Guitars move around in a cool atmospheric piece before things build up again into a smokin' wah section that actually works quite well. Then we come back to the epic chorus again and then head into the two minute outro which starts off slowly and quietly but keeps building upon itself gradually, slowly but surely, always heading forward until it gets really boppy and I quite like it. It eventually fades out and I know that a full minute got chopped off so it could fit on the CD, but I think it works fine in the way it does here nonetheless. This song is a pretty great closer. It's long and maybe not as outstanding as other songs on here, but it's still a cool number and an excellent way to wind down this mammoth of an album. 8/10

Load is far from a perfect album. It could use some editing, some reworking, some snips here and there, and maybe a couple songs could've been left off completely. Still, for an album that literally fills up an entire disc, it works pretty well. "Mama Said" is the one big misstep here, but everything else has at least something going for it - particularly in the chorus department, where they've reinforced their foundations with concrete and I think they work really well. James sounds great on this album, as does Jason's basswork and Lars's drumming - it's probably his best performance yet, actually, because instead of going at hyperspeed he's pacing himself better and honing in on his style. The one person who isn't as outstanding is Kirk, but what he does still works pretty well. Overall, it's a bit of an inconsistent release, but far better than a lot of people give it credit for being. And yes, I'll take Load over Kill 'Em All and ...And Justice For All. It's pretty good.

Rating: 74%


Let's Get Volatile
*ignores use of "boppy" to describe Metallica*

The only 10/10 goes to one of the most boring songs on the album? OK then. Personally, I'd have saved it for "King Nothing". Total rehash of "Enter Sandman" structurally, but I think it's far superior.

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
The only 10/10 goes to one of the most boring songs on the album?
w r o n g .

Personally, I'd have saved it for "King Nothing". Total rehash of "Enter Sandman" structurally, but I think it's far superior.
There's a lot of good stuff in there and maybe in future my rating for it will go higher, but for now it's got just enough holding it back while still pretty a pretty cool song.


What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine too
Mama Said is solid 8/10 and The House That Jack Built is possibly the best song on the album. I would rate Bleeding Me and Outlaw Torn higher as well but overall your review was a positive surprise. Hopefully you'll like Reload too.