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A Review of the Album Load by Metallica: How It Sounds 20 Years Later

Updated on August 4, 2018

The front album cover for Load


Load is the band's 6th studio album

American heavy metal band Metallica raised much criticism following the release and promotion of the album "Load." The question that some of us may be asking is how does the album sound more than 20 years after its release? That’s why I will review the album once again and offer some perspective.

Why is the album Load so significant of a release? Here are some of the reasons

1. As I have alluded to before, sometimes a band has to change their musical direction to show that they are maturing as a unit.

2. By this time in their career, Metallica had lost Cliff Burton, having had to replace him and:

3. They had to deal with front man James Hetfield suffering serious burns in 1992 following a pyrotechnics accident in Montreal, Canada.

Track Listing for the album Load

  1. Ain’t my B*****
  2. 2 X 4
  3. The House That Jack Built
  4. Until It Sleeps
  5. King Nothing
  6. Hero of the Day
  7. Bleeding Me
  8. Cure
  9. Poor Twisted Me
  10. Wasting My Hate
  11. Mama Said
  12. Thorn Within
  13. Ronnie
  14. The Outlaw Torn

Load will appeal to those listeners that have an open mind

Through it all, the band stuck together and persevered and here we have a good hard rock album that has some blues influences in it such as the song 2 X 4. This is one of those albums that will receive a hard and heavy criticism from many long-time Metallica fans. It is VERY different from the band’s releases of the 1980’s and if you can’t handle this, then don’t listen to it. At least this album does have guitar solos unlike St. Anger. The album is almost 80 minutes long making it a very long album so some people may lose patience and this is understandable. But for those of you that have an open mind, Load should be a pretty good listen. It is not as hard hitting and intense as albums such as Master of Puppets so that should be easier for many listeners to handle.

A photo of the CD Load with the track listing

Load: a review of this commercial hard rock album by Metallica: Part 1

Load was released on June 4, 1996. I remember hearing the songs of this album while being at summer camp and this is one of the reasons that the album is memorable to me. Until It Sleeps is perhaps the most famous song on the album and a video was made for it. It is what I would call one of the first very strong songs on the album. However, now the song 2 X 4 in spite of the grooves that it has, it sounds a little too generic for this fan of hard rock and heavy metal. So that one is now one of the weaker songs of the album even though I really used to like this one in the past. It is not a bad song but it is not as good as Cure or Until It Sleeps. King Nothing has an excellent catchy set of grooves to it and the song basically making fun of a king that has lost his crown and he has seemingly lost his grip on power. The song features a very good blues solo by Kirk Hammett. Hetfield says “Where’s your crown? King Nothing!” My assumption is that the band was really enthusiastic about writing and performing the song. Betting on a cure for your disease or affliction? You must believe that you will be healed. Cure can be thought of as a satirical attempt to address the issue of illness.

The song called King Nothing

Why is Metallica the greatest American heavy metal band?

Metallica has shown me that they are the best American heavy metal band ever because they can do all kinds of styles pretty well. If you want to listen to thrash metal, Metallica does an excellent job in this genre and this is how they started their career with classic songs such as The Four Horsemen, No Remorse, Metal Militia and many others. They can do blues rock and they can also do ballads such as Low Man’s Lyric and Nothing Else Matters. Note: the strongest songs on the album are in bold and are only the choices selected by this writer. Some of you may have a different preference. 20 years after its release, Load is one of those albums that is largely forgotten and ignored. Metallica has never really disappointed me and even their weaker albums such as Load are good and that’s what makes these guys so great. Mama Said continues in the tradition of the band experimenting with ballads. It is a decent song with an important message in the beginning. And that is to never close a book that you are reading until it is done. Reading is one of the foundations for a solid education and may prepare our children for a better life later on.

The groovy song called Cure

Metallica's weakest studio album

What is Metallica's weakest studio album among the following?

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Final thoughts on the album Load

Load may be the weakest album in the band’s career. It is interesting that this writer says this because St. Anger was at first regarded as the weakest album in the band’s history. But it may be Load that is the band’s weakest album. Weaker songs such as the mentioned 2 X 4, Hero of the Day, and the lousy Poor Twisted Me bring the score of the album down. Even so, we have a decent release that came with the change in the band’s style following the massively successful black album in 1991. Load gets a 70 out of 100 points from this writer. Load is still much better than Megadeth albums Cryptic Writings and Risk. Perhaps Dave Mustaine can learn something from these guys about how to write proper songs. Metallica is still the better band even with releases such as Load!

Updated Information About How Good the Album Load Sounds in 2018

Or is it really? In 2018, looking back as I have tried to listen to the Re-Load album, Re-Load is now weaker as an album compared to Load. What would the score be for this album in 2018? I would probably give the album Load a score of 75 out of 100 points. It is still a respectable score for this album from a band that should be considered the best US heavy metal band of all time.

The Song Called Until It Sleeps

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The Song Called Thorn Within

Favorite Song the Album Load

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The Song called 2 X 4

© 2016 Ara Vahanian


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