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3 stars Strangely this is a very low rated output by Metallica and I haven't got a clue why really. Probably it has something to do with their efforts in the past which are obviously way better and more impressive. But then still the question remains: is this a bad or poor album on itself ? And then I simply say: no ! Music is poor when it's poorly executed or written but that's not the case here. I even rather would have given this album 4 stars than 2 to be honest.

I even would want to go that far to state that I'm not bored for one second when I listen to the entire 76 minutes this release counts. All songs are at least good, some even very good (like the great closer Fixxxer). And then I'm not even a true fan let alone fanboy who wants to hear nothing bad about the band. I'm just judging what I hear and can come to only one conclusion: this is a good album. Ok, maybe not essential, but good; nothing less ! So three stars it is.

Report this review (#185541)
Posted Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars After the controversy caused by the release of “Load”, a very strong album that showed the new direction Metallica went through, “Reload” was released, an album mostly filled with the tracks that didn't make it onto “Load”. At least some songs of this album were written before the release of “Load”, I'm pretty sure of it since “Devil's Dance” was performed twice during 1995, together with “2x4”.

As for the music, this is not a metal album, like most of you know, but it is not “Load II” either; while “Load” was a pretty bluesy album, with lots of melancholic songs and such (“Bleeding Me”, “Outlaw Torn”, “Until it Sleeps”, “Mama Said”, etc.), “Reload” shows the band adopting a hard rock sound, some songs even reminding me of some classic rock bands out there. The tunes are generally heavy and fairly aggressive at times, an example being the opener or “Attitude”. All the tracks are also relatively long, thanks to some extended solo sections and intrumental parts, which is a thing that I truly appreciate. While the songs are not progressive 'monsters', so to speak, a la “...And Justice for All” (which is, by the way, the best Metallica record ever), their structures are quite interesting at times, two examples being the false ending of “Better than You” and the bridge of “Fixxxer”.

Speaking about “Fixxxer”, this is a song that disappointed me a bit. It is not a bad song, by any means, no – but it still can't reach the greatness of the amazing “Outlaw Torn”. I don't know, but when I saw that “Fixxxer” was the longest song of “Reload” and also the closer, I really thought it would be a diamond like “Outlaw Torn”. Unfortunately, I was wrong, but it still is a pretty good song, containing some catchy riffs and one of the best solos of the album.

Returning to the comparison between “Load” and “Reload”, James' vocal approach here is pretty aggressive and his voice sounds pretty damn raw at times. With “Load” he adopted a more melodic approach, but he's absolutely different here, try to listen to “Better than You” and “Wasting My Hate” and you'll see. As for the production, it is pretty good (obviously, this is Metallica) and clear, the guitar assuming the main role, the bass being audible during most of the time and the drums always there.

Kirk's performance here is pretty competent, but I still think that this new sound Metallica adopted didn't benefit him at all; he is a metal guitar player, no doubts about it, he can't just pull out those melodic, emotional solos that frequently, and that doesn't benefit the album. On “AJFA”, for example, he made songs like “Shortest Straw” what they were, with his tight lead playing, but, this time, he has not enought space to shine and some solos of this album are clearly underdeveloped and even weak. As for Lars, he still is extremely predictable; the new sound Metallica adopted doesn't benefit him that much either; he clearly overuses the “kick-snare-kick-snare” pattern and his fills are weak during most of the times. His performance is average, all in all.

As for the songs, I clearly disagree with the majority of the reviewers who said that the first three tunes of the album are the highlights; hell no, “Fuel”, “The Memory Remains” and “Devil's Dance” bore me, perhaps because I've already heard them too many [%*!#]ing times. The best of the three probably is “Fuel” though: it clearly is the fastest and the most 'metal' tune of the bunch. “Devil's Dance” is very groovy, albeit repetitive, and “The Memory Remains” sounds great live, but the studio version doesn't hold my attention.

“Unforgiven II” is a competent ballad, nothing special, but it is when we reach “Better than You” that the album really gets going: this song is pretty damn good, in my opinion, great chorus and I love the false ending. The vocals on this track are also very very aggressive, great stuff. “Slither” follows and it is also pretty midpaced, with nice riffs. “Carpe Diem Baby” is a clear highlight, being the seventh track and sounding like a more elaborated version of the previous two songs. “Bad Seed” is a bit faster, even containing some double-bass parts, “Prince Charming” wins the prize for the song with the best riffs of this album, and finally “Fixxxer” closes the album perfectly.

Unfortunately, there are some more fillers hidden here, “Low Man's Lyric” being one of them. It is a very very repetitive tune, and the fact that it contains some violin lines doesn't help. “Attitude” is a really bad song, probably the only BAD tune of the record, and “Where the Wild Things Are” is a bit better but far from a good song, despite its relatively intricate and complex structure.

So, at the end of the day a solid hard rock album, being quite good at times. If you enjoyed “Load” (or if you like hard rock) you'll like this album that's for sure. I don't know if a progressive rock fan will enjoy this, though, so I'll give it just two stars. Highlights: “Fixxxer” and “Prince Charming”.

Best Moments of the CD: -the beginning of “Fuel”. - the “to fall in love with life again” part of “Fixxxer”.

Report this review (#187525)
Posted Friday, October 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Metallica - 'Reload' 2 stars

Metallica Reload's, but comes up empty yet again.

It is pretty much just a left-over from the equally terrible 'Load' album. The worst part about this album is it nearly runs for the entire 80 minutes! To add to that liability, only two songs were even worthy of being somewhat remembered. This sound of Metallica was just one of the worst things that can happen to a successful band. Unfortunately, things indeed got a little worse down this terrible change in career path.

Only recommended to Metallica die-hards and anyone willing to waste a few bucks.

Report this review (#190543)
Posted Wednesday, November 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Reload" is the 7th full-length studio release by American heavy metal act Metallica. The album was released in November 1997 by Vertigo Records. The 13 songs on the album were written during the sessions that took place before the release of their previous studio album "Load (1996)". These tracks are however not leftover tracks from the "Load" sessions. 27 tracks were written during the sessions but as Metallica had been offered to play on the Lollapalooza tour in the summer of 1996 they opted to release a single CD album with the material they had finished recording instead of the double CD release they had initially planned. Thus 13 songs were left unfinished and Metallica went into the studio with producer Bob Rock again in October 1996. The recording sessions lasted until July 1997 and "Reload" was released in November 1997.

As expected the music style on "Reload" is very similar to the style of music on "Load". Heavy metal with bluesy hard rock/ heavy rock elements. You´ll often hear the statement that the tracks on "Reload" are leftover tracks from "Load" but I think the quality is just as high (or low) as on "Load". The album seriously lacks highlights though and while the tracks are mostly of an acceptable quality they are rather mediocre and unremarkable compared to the material on earlier releases.

The sound production is similar to the one on "Load". Professional but not up to par with the sound on "Metallica (1991)".

I don´t consider "Reload" a bad album or a failure in any way, but it´s overall an unremarkable and mediocre release. Especially considering the high quality of the band´s first 5 albums. Metallica simply sound uninspired. It´s like the hunger isn´t there. I´d say somewhere between a 2.5 - 3 star rating is warranted.

Report this review (#226363)
Posted Monday, July 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars Yawn!

This is one of the most boring rock albums I've ever heard. It's got some blues rock tendencies, and there's nothing wrong with blues rock in general - if the artist is able to actually play interesting and engaging blues rock. It's got some alternative rock tendencies, and there's nothing wrong with alternative rock - if it seems sincere and if it's performed well. There's a bit of metal, too, but not much, and whatever metal there is is trite and tried and uninspiring. There's absolutely none of the progginess and tendency towards complexity that made Metallica interesting in the 80s.

"Reload" is so depressingly boring that the band should have called themselves "Boringwannebe90ishgrownupalternativerockica". Sigh!

Report this review (#227236)
Posted Friday, July 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars The leftovers of Load. I might be in minority thinking that the style change marked by Load was a great move and that Load itself is a magnificent album. Well, ReLoad continues with the same style (bluesy heavy rock with touches of alternative rock) but it's a much more weaker effort from Metallica.

I can find several songs that I enjoy, but there are also songs which I consider to be embarrassing for Metallica. The songs I really like are Fuel, Devil's Dance, Low Man's Lyric and Fixxxer. The rest of the album range from ok to horrible. I really liked their change in style, but they made a bad judgement to publish ReLoad as it is.

In conclusion, ReLoad is not a good album, but it is saved by few very enjoyable songs. Especially Fixxxer is a great one in my opinion, and Low Man's Lyric is something very different from them and still succeeds. 2 stars.

Report this review (#231328)
Posted Thursday, August 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars Load part II

Reload continues the style of its predecessor - Load, but this time even worse than the first. Most of the songs are absolute irritating and illogical. They are much worse than a mainstreem radio songs. The Memory Remains, The Unforgiven II and Low Man's Lyric are exception. All of them are memorable and contain melody in contrast with the others. On Reload rules again blues, country and alternative music combined in inappropriate and unbalanced style. Because of the presence of less good songs than on Load and because of the presence of less good themes in the poor songs, Reload should be ranked lower than Load. The other reason for than wil be the less number of fresh and innovative ideas here. It could be considered as a lazy and boring release with using of universal chords that can be heard in 50% of radio rock songs. That's why they are lazy and boring: made without a will. 1,5 stars

Report this review (#261637)
Posted Tuesday, January 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars More of the same. The flow changed, maybe it work for them, but not for me.

Well, this is a back to back album called in a very original way ReLoad. The same thing, lame composition, just straight metal with short songs and some kind of aggressive sound, but that sounds like a joke if you make a comparison with their old material. As well as with the Load album, the songs are pretty forgettable. If you don't pay too much attention, you can make a headbanging here and there but that's it, really, a forgettable album.

The only song that I really like is Fuel, because is fresh and aggressive but the album end up plain. So, I don't recommend this album. Maybe it work for background music for a party with the boys, but if you pay too much attention you will end up boring. Not progressive elements, just straight metal and that's it.

1 star is very fair. Nothing save this album of being poor.

Report this review (#278321)
Posted Saturday, April 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars Load...of crap. Maybe its second half will be its better half?


Actually, it's worse. I really do not want to go into any of the songs, and that's OK because there is not much to go into. Generic, boring...when can I stop using these words? Even though it was bad, at least Load sounded kind of cool. ReLoad does not.

As a true metal head, it pains me to hear "this album is not prog at all, but a regular metal album" because this is simply not true. I would not consider ReLoad, or the 2 albums prior, metal. And even if I had to, they are not good ones.

According to Lars, "that, to me, is what Metallica are all about: exploring different things. The minute you stop exploring, then just sit down and f**king die". While I absolutely won't disagree with that, and in fact think exploring is a good thing, an experiment can go wrong...OK, enough dancing around. This album is terrible.

One star

Report this review (#283778)
Posted Thursday, May 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Metallica's seventh album and the follow up to Load.

Those who thought Metallica could not sink any lower than they did on Load were up for a nasty surprise. Reload is a reload of the ideas from Load. That is, only worse.

The sound on Reload is dirty and with more than some hints of Trouble and sludge. That on the top of some music that reminds me about heavy metal, but with a vastly different sound. I cannot pinpoint this sound and I am not that interested either. This album and the tracks sounds like the US government's new initiative against insomnia. Which is exactly what it feels like. Only the new version of The Unforgiven and the Marianne Faithful collaboration The Memory Remains is half decent. The rest of this album is already forgotten.

2 stars

Report this review (#355460)
Posted Friday, December 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Believe it or not, I actually like this album more than its predecessor. The actual songwriting isn't that much better (after all, these were recorded in the same sessions), but what sets this album apart is how weird it is. Ostensibly, these are (for the most part) the odder, more "experimental" songs that the group had done in those sessions, and which hadn't been fully mixed by the time Load was ready for release. One thing that comes out of this is that I really don't get how this could possibly be considered a mainstream or "alternative" album - this is not conventional rock music, by any means. If I may make an analogy (analogies are fun!), this can be considered the Metallica version of the Rolling Stones' Goats Head Soup (and come to think of it, "Devil's Dance" kinda reminds me of "Dancing With Mr. D"); a weirdly decadent mix of various styles done by a previously "conventional" rock band. Of course, this album is way worse than GHS, with a ton of filler threatening to drown out the best moments, but it still deserves some credit in the grand scheme of things.

The album starts off normally enough, of course. "Fuel" is a fabulous, powerful riff-rocker, replete with solid vocal harmonies, and its overexposure around the time of release way back when never quelched my love for it. The second song, though, is a weird cross between ultra- mainstream "alternative" rock and the experimentation of the rest of the album. Not that that's a good thing in this case; "The Memory Remains" is close to my least favorite Metallica song of all time, as it's an almost ridiculously repetitive weak, weak attempt at hard rock, complete with a cameo from Marianne Faithful that starts off seeming clever and ends up feeling incredibly stupid and gimmicky. It's followed by a positive number, though, in the aforementioned "Devil's Dance," a mid-tempo stomper with well-produced grumbling, battling guitars and overdone-but-still- enjoyable "menacing" vocals. It's a clear keeper, that's for sure.

"The Unforgiven II," then, is hilariously, offensively bad. It's one thing to ape a previously well- received song for a new number in order to use the good will for that song as a crutch; it's another to prop up its rotting corpse a la Weekend at Bernie's and then rape and desecrate its rotting corpse when you're done with it. There are certain things in rock music that are fundamental offenses against nature, and one of them is not only naming a song "*Already famous song* II" (unless it's "Larks' Tongues in Aspic," of course) but using that full title in the actual lyrics. And that's all I'm going to say about it, else I get angry and blustery while typing.

Aside from a great, great up-tempo 70's-style rocker (with Sabbath-quality riffs) in "Prince Charming," as well as a surprisingly decent seven-minute acoustic ballad in "Low Man's Lyric," the rest of the songs hit neither the highs nor lows of the songs already mentioned. "Slither" stands out slightly both because its main riff is pretty similar to that of "Enter Sandman" and because of its creepy vocal harmonies, "Carpe Diem Baby" has a teeth-gritting, slightly unpleasant (in a good way) set of riffs and some oddly ok vocals, and, uh ... "Where the Wild Things" Are has some pretty ugly (again, in a good way) guitar interplay. None of these are great, but none of them are even remotely bad either. As for the rest of the songs, well, I never feel like I'm listening to a "typical" album when listening to them; I don't really like the other songs, but I like how moderately unusual they are as a whole.

In the end, this is another giant heap of filler smattered with a few good songs, and while this has more low points than Load does, the filler tends to be more interesting on the whole than Load's filler. Again, an hour-long album consisting of the best material from these two behemoths would probably merit a **** rating; as is, the amount of sludge to be slithered through between these two albums makes such an assessment impossible.

PS: If you're interested, my ideal 1-hour Load Sessions album would look like this:

"Ain't My Bitch" "Until it Sleeps" "Devil's Dance" "2x4" "Low Man's Lyric" "Fuel" "King Nothing" "Prince Charming" "Mama Said" "The Outlaw Torn"

Lead single: "Hero for the Day"

Report this review (#573316)
Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Metallica - a band that I don't like much in that I always felt that they were overrated and mistakenly called one of the fathers of prog - metal. They did release two albums that I did like being "Ride the Lightning" and the self titled "Black Album". The previous album (Load) was an insipid release of standard heavy rock. This album again repeats the formula of the previous album. They seem to have jumped on standard rock formula bandwagon with the release of the "Black" album however that album was well done and well put together and it does contain some brilliant material. I'm not going to do a track by track review here in that there is really nothing that stands up to be counted. I do enjoy "the Unforgiven II" Many of the tracks here, to my ears, could have come from the Alice Cooper "Poison" period however Alice Cooper does what he does very much better than what these guys do.

If the listener is looking for listenable hard rock then there is nothing basically wrong with this album (or the previous one) but I prefer a little more complexity in the music that I listen to for pleasure. The problem that I have with Metallica is that to my view they are a two trick pony - the one being the thrash metal (of earlier albums) which they repeated ad infinitum over their first album releases, so much so that I could have been listening to one track over the course of their first few albums - repeated over and over again. The other trick was to follow the standard hard rock fare of later albums where again there is not much to differentiate between the tracks. I never saw the band members as anything like being masters of their instruments and I do demand a certain level of expertise from musicians which I can be able to hear clearly in the music.

There is nothing prog here whatsoever and in that light this album gets a two from me where on a standard rock review site it would have achieved a three.

Report this review (#1011725)
Posted Tuesday, August 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars I've been playing catch up with Metallica over the last few years and I must admit that it's been an enjoyable ride to experience their steady evolution into being one of the giants of the music industry. I'm not what you'd call a metal head so their early stuff didn't flick my switch very often but I could hear the raw talent they possessed seeping through their noisy, angry melees and I stuck with them in order to see where they took me. I'm one of those who consider their impressive fifth studio album to be the apex of their career not just for its popularity but for its undeniable qualities. Some of their fans think it too "commercial" but I'm still struck to this day by its pristine audio fidelity, the caliber and timeliness of the songwriting and its overall cohesiveness - all of which combined to make it an instant and enduring icon. Therefore, when I got around to listening to "Load" my expectations were respectfully modest because of the difficulty even the best of bands have in following up the golden goose album that puts them over the top like the ebony "Metallica" LP did. "Load" wasn't in the same area code but it also wasn't as bad as I feared and nowhere near as disappointing as some reviewers and diehard followers had claimed it to be but it was definitely a step down from its predecessor. Since I surmised that "Reload" was going to be nothing more than a collection of a handful of tunes left off of "Load" for one reason or another I figured it would be average fare, at best. Not so. It would seem that after "Load" failed to stun the globe into submission the group smartly reexamined, revamped and improved what was about to be unleashed on the world. These boys did take pride in their craft and the end result of reassessing what they had was a CD with fewer weak spots.

They wisely open with "Fuel," a combustible number with plenty of honest energy pouring out of it like molten steel from a furnace. It has all the ingredients for a memorable hard rock juggernaut: A gutsy vocal from James Hetfield, hot guitars from Kirk Hammett, earth-shaking bass lines from Jason Newsted and a strong backbeat from Lars Ulrich. "The Memory Remains" is a dirge-like pounder. Guest singer Marianne Faithful turns in an eerie and somewhat confusing performance but, taken in the context of her sordid history, I guess it works on a certain spooky level. The slow pace they apply to "Devil's Dance" would suggest that Lucifer is more of a stomper than a lithe Baryshnikov. The song itself is rather pedestrian but I do appreciate Hammett's demonic guitar work that adds a threatening dimension to the aural territory. "The Unforgiven II" is a bit of a head- scratcher for me because I'm not sure why they felt it necessary to revisit a composition that was a cornerstone of their mega-successful fifth record. Like many sequels this one's okay but it doesn't pack the punch of the original. However, it does effectively demonstrate that James doesn't have to scream and growl all the time to get the message of a poignant song across. The man was born with an enviable, distinctive singing style and he should explore its many aspects with confidence. "Better Than You" is next and it's a pile-driving rocker that emphasizes everything that got Metallica to the top of the heavy metal heap. Don't look for anything even slightly progressive on this cut, in other words. It's a battering ram meant to slam into things. "Slither" follows and it's a highlight of the album. Its Ozzy-ish vibe is infectious and its excellent hook riff along with Hetfield's ominous vocal make this tune stand out from the others. It's no masterpiece, mind you, but it does warrant repeated listens. "Carpe Diem Baby" is a good song but by now I'm feeling the album is starting to suffer from the guitar tones becoming repetitive and predictable. On the upside, though, they add something in the background (An organ? A Mellotron? A droning guitar effect? I can't tell from the credits.) that provides the track with a much-needed deeper atmosphere. Depth of field is always a plus in my book, no matter the genre.

"Bad Seed" sports a rock solid groove that propels the song efficiently and it's refreshing to hear them mess around with the vocals a bit. What I'm yearning to hear most but ain't getting is for Kirk to throw caution to the wind and rip out a torrid, decapitating lead guitar solo. I don't understand why he plays it so safe. On "Where the Wild Things Are" they present an opening segment that's at least a little different but then they soon drop into their familiar, tried-and-true headbanging motif to mollify their rowdy aficionados who will accept nothing less. I do like the fact that they get creative with the arrangement, however, and that's worth noting. "Prince Charming" is next and it possesses more of a traditional metal tinge than what's been offered so far. It's not a letdown, necessarily, but there's nothing going on inside the tracks that I haven't heard before. "Low Man's Lyric" follows and it's my favorite cut on the CD. I love it when guys like these have the balls to step out of their comfort zone as they do on this tune and deliver some comprehensible lyrics in a toned-down setting. It doesn't mean they're selling out, it just shows they're more than a stagnated one trick pony act. The tinny Hurdy Gurdy organ is a nice touch, providing the number with a cool Irish aroma. "Attitude" is a decent enough rocker but it does come off as mediocre filler material to my ears. They end with an epic, "Fixxxer." Hammett's tortured guitar effect augments the song's gargantuan riff but at 8:14 in length I was wishing they'd been much bolder and perhaps run off on some proggy tangents just to mix things up a tad but, alas, they stick with their bread and butter.

Released on November 18, 1997 "Reload" did not pass go but went straight to the numero uno spot on the charts. While there may have been grumblings amongst their legion of devotees about what they thought Metallica should be doing for them those minor misgivings had absolutely no effect on the number of discs purchased. If any group is able to sell over 4 million units in any era you gotta hand it to them. They're doing something right and I'd be a fool to criticize them for dancing with the girl that brought them to the prom. While a particularly revealing rock doc about the band (that showed what was transpiring during this period) indicates that all was not cool breezes and soft moonlight in the ego-sated board room of Metallica, Inc., they still managed to take care of business. This was the last go-round for bassist Jason Newsted who (along with producer Bob Rock) had been instrumental in bringing a big, fat low end into their music, thereby broadening the group's appeal in the process. Yet his departure didn't derail this locomotive. They're still a force in the biz to this day. While "Reload" is slightly better than "Load" I still have a difficult time in thinking of either album as being exceptional. Still, they both kept the metal flame lit throughout the unpredictable 90s when the winds of change were blowing in from every direction imaginable. And, by the way, I've heard much, much worse. 3.2 stars.

Report this review (#1266809)
Posted Wednesday, September 3, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars If 1995's 'Load' didn't put you off Metallica, 'Reload' certainly won't win over any new converts, but that's not going to stop me from trying to defend this hugely underrated hard rock album.

It's understandable why these songs are often regarded as leftovers from its predecessor, since they're pretty much identical in sound, structure, tone and lyrical themes. But that doesn't necessarily make them bad. Which is why it's a shame so many people view with this album with utter contempt, as there's some seriously hard-rocking tunes here that might not hark back to the days of 1980's thrash metal, but certainly show a band who have grown and matured over the years.

With hard-hitting tracks such as 'Fuel', 'The Memory Remains', 'Devil's Dance', 'The Unforgiven II' and a number of vastly underrated gems in Metallica's discography such as 'Bad Seed', 'Better Than You' and 'Attitude', it's hard to imagine why people would so casually discard this album simply because it sounds different to the Metallica of ten years prior. However, I'll be the first to admit that 'Low Man's Lyric' is awful.

The band are probably at their most comfortable on this album when it comes to playing. Guitarist Kirk Hammett has become more than capable with his wah pedal while frontman James Hetfield has his growl nailed to perfection. Jason Newsted's bass isn't mired by his limited input, and drummer Lars Ulrich is... well... he's Lars Ulrich... 'nuff said.

If anything, the only real detriment is the duration. Clocking in at over 75 minutes, sometimes it can be quite tiring to listen to in one sitting. But otherwise, 'Reload' may be far from perfect, but it definitely gets a lot more slack that it deserves. Stop comparing it to past Metallica releases and enjoy it for the solid hard rock album that it is.

Report this review (#1780574)
Posted Saturday, September 9, 2017 | Review Permalink

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