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Load (2LP)

3.5 out of 5 stars 766 customer reviews

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Vinyl, June 15, 2010
$99.95
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Editorial Reviews

'Load' is Metallica's follow up to the biggest-selling hard rock album of the '90's, 'Metallica,' certified at 4 million units by the RIAA. (11/97)
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Product Details

  • Vinyl (June 15, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B003FZ4NL4
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (766 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,080 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
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 them in heavy rotation. While the BLACK ALBUM disappointed some of the band's fan base, without a doubt the album helped move the band into the mainstream of rock, and ultimately greatly added to Metallica's fanbase.

While some of Metallica's long time fans were somewhat uneasy with this subtle change in the band's musical direction, by the time 1996 came around the unease metamorphosed into full-blown hostility. And it's all due to this album.

LOAD completely changed Metallica's sound, and, for a lot of long time fans, for the worst. Gone are the pyrotechnic solos, complex songwriting, and thrash metal mentality that carried their first four albums into the annals of rock and roll legend. The band cut their hair, started writing songs more like alternative rock, and reached out to a new fan base.
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Format: Audio CD
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 thrash-metal roots (see "Master or Puppets" or "Ride the Lightning") clearly are disappointed. The reason for such disappointed is well founded.... "Load" is not a thrash metal album. It is, instead, a clear progression from earlier albums. Go ahead, listen to them in order and see if you can't expect an album like "Black" or later "Load."
Face it. James Hetfield and company aren't angry 18 year olds. If they were, they would be pumping out more albums like "Kill `Em All." And, no doubt, we'd be sick of them and complaining that all they can do is create copies of the same thing. Let Metallica evolve. Give them a bit of slack, and see where things take them. If you don't like where things are when, god forbid, Metallica is no more, then you can complain about where they ended up. But right now, they are still a work-in-progress (like any band still playing), so let's just see where evolution takes them.
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Format: Audio CD
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 albums, "King Nothing," is among the worst on the album because it is unoriginal and uninspired.) Once you notice what the songs are like, instead of what they're not like, you realize they are memorable, original, and full of the same guitar wizardry that put Metallica on the map. I say, if they're writing the kind of music that they want to write, that's the exact *opposite* of "selling out."
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Format: Audio CD
Delivered five years after their eponymous "black" album in 1991, Load captures Metallica settling into an uneasy period of maturation. Under the guidance of producer Bob Rock, Metallica have streamlined their sound, cutting away most of the twisting, unpredictable time signatures and the mind-numbingly fast riffs. What's left is polished - and disappointingly straightforward - heavy metal. Metallica's attempts at expanding their sonic palette have made them seem more conventional than they ever have before. They add in Southern boogie rock, country-rock, and power ballads to their bag of tricks, which make them sound like '70s arena rock holdovers. Metallica's idea of opening up their sound is to concentrate on relentless mid-tempo boogie - over half the album is dedicated to songs that are meant to groove, but they simply don't swing. Metallica sound tight, but with the material they've written, they should sound loose. That becomes apparent as the songs drag out over the album's nearly 80-minute running time - there are only so many times that a band can work the same tempo exactly the same way before it becomes tedious. It isn't surprising to hear Metallica get stodgier and more conservative as they get older, but it is nonetheless depressing.
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