In every bands career there are times when the band changes things up and tries to take a chance and expand upon what they’ve already done. Sometimes this works out great, and other times it seriously backfires. In 1996, coming off the monster success of their “Black Album,” Metallica shocked their fans and released “Load.” Granted Load came in at number one on the billboard charts, it seemed to have left many of Metallica’s fans wondering what the hell is going on with the band. Gone was the band’s trademark thrash metal style and instead of that, the style was replaced with a more blues centered structure. The speed and complexity that the fans had grown to love was entirely disregarded on Load.I still remember seeing the video for “Until It Sleeps,” wondering what happened to Metallica. I was one of those fans that was left scratching their head as to why Metallica would do this. Then as the years went on and I experienced more of what life has to offer, I took another listen to Load. What I found was an album that was ahead of it’s time. This was Metallica being vulnerable and laying it all out there. This is a great example of a band growing up and stepping outside their comfort zone. It is also an album that takes on a different meaning once you’ve lived life a bit. One of the best songs Metallica has ever written appears on Load. That song is “Bleeding Me.” The lyrics alone are enough to resonate deep. The music is solemn and moody, allowing all the emotions to flow with the song. Other songs like “Until It Sleeps,” “Hero Of The Day,” “Ain’t My Bitch,” “King Nothing,” and “The Outlaw Torn,” are steeped deep in misery and toil. The entirety of Load is astounding. There might be a song here and there that seems out of place but this album is a true gem. There is something about this album that, like a fine wine or a really good scotch only gets better with age.
Load wasn’t right for the time it was released. The fans still wanted more heavy from the band, and were caught completely off guard by this. This record is an exceptionally underrated metal/hard rock experience that takes the band’s music into entirely new territories. Load is an excellent album with great songwriting and a high level of diversity. Giving something for everyone. Sure it’ll never top what Ride The Lightning, Master Of Puppets, And Justice For All and The “Black” Album are, but it’s definitely an album worthy of your time and patience. Give it another chance and you’ll see what I mean. Leave all your preconceived notions about Metallica at the door when you listen to this album.
Metallica- Bleeding Me (S & M Version):