LOAD, it appears, is the true litmus test of Metallica's career. This is the album where it was tremendously popular with a lot of the grunge listeners, dominated the charts in 1996, and had heavy radio rotation. LOAD brought in a lot of new fans for Metallica (this reviewer included), but is still highly controversial as it abandoned much of Metallica's earlier trademark sound from the 1980s, and a lot of people stopped caring about the boys after this one. But this album is not without precedent in the Metallica canon.
The BLACK ALBUM, LOAD's predecessor from 1991, is often seen as the true turning point in Metallica's career. Taking their progressive metal and incredibly complex songwriting (to the point it was difficult to replicate the music on stage) to its breaking point or zenith on the masterpiece ... AND JUSTICE FOR ALL, Metallica pared back their sound, and ultimately became more commercial sounding. MTV picked up on the BLACK ALBUM's songs, and featured...
Those that buy this CD and instantly return it when they don't hear another "Enter Sandman" or "One" should question whether they ever were fans to begin with. Load was six years after the Black album, and it is unreasonable to expect no changes to a band's music over such a period of time. Those avid fans of "Justice" that frown on "Load" should compare their favorite album to "Bay Area Thrashers" and "Kill 'Em All." The differences in style over time are evident. Metallica has not "sold out." That's a pejorative explanation for those who need some sort of conspiracy theory to explain why Metallica would do this vicious thing to their fans by not writing fourteen of the same songs they've already written. "Load" doesn't sound like anything Metallica has done before, but does that make it bad, just because it wasn't what you were expecting? (In fact, the one song that is like the previous...
Let us start from the beginning. The question is not whether or not Metallica "sold out" because they changed their music style. The issue in a review like this is if the album was good or if it , instead, sucked royally. To give an album one star means it sucked royally. While "Load" may not have met the expectations of some, it was at least a decent album. No, it was not thrash or speed metal. Like its previous effort, "Metallica" (commonly known as the "Black" album) "Load" had a more rock oriented sound to it. (No, it was not an alternative album, if anything "Load" at least represents a good hard rock album.) Load did not suck royally. So, in my opinion, it deserves three stars. It did not meet the same level as an album like "Black," which would be a four or five. As for earlier albums, this album is different. Understandably people buying this album expecting to see Metallica's...
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