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

Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

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Load is Metallica's 6th studio album and a Very Different One Compared to Their Previous 5 Albums

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? 3 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.

Load Songs List



  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. Load is an album that is totally more mainstream than even the black album that had been released five years earlier but still, it is a darn good album with a nice collection of songs that should appeal to a person that is open minded.

"King Nothing" Music Video

Load: a review of this commercial hard rock album by Metallica: The Song 2 X 4 is Included

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.

"Cure"

Metallica's weakest studio album

The Song called "2 X 4"

"Ronnie"

Final thoughts on the album Load as of the First Analysis

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 a very transitional kind of album because bands in the 1990s were changing their sound and exploring so an album such as this was pretty much inevitable.


"Until It Sleeps" Music Video

Load Is Not the Weakest Metallica Album

As we are in 2020 now, is Load really the weakest Metallica album? No, that distinction belongs to the album Re-Load which came out in 1997, the year after Load. After 4 albums that were of the heavy thrash metal genre and then one album that was more mainstream, Load is a fine experimental album by pretty much the best US heavy metal band ever. The strongest songs in Load include the big successful song Until It Sleeps, King Nothing, Cure, Wasting My Hate, and to a certain degree Mama Said. To say that Load is a musically watered down album is not entirely accurate because songs such as Ain’t My B**** show that even back in 1996, Metallica did try to use some speed but there is a definite blues and rock kind of feel to Load as well as a more heavy atmospheric feel in Until It Sleeps which to this day is one of my favorite Metallica songs on this album. The aggressive style singing by James Hetfield is also a memorable highlight in this song.

"Thorn Within"

Rate the album Load by Metallica

Favorite Song the Album Load

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2016 Ara Vahanian