Thursday, May 31, 2018

Metallica - Reload (1997)

If it is something that I really dislike about the summer, it is that there is nothing to watch on TV. Sure, you are supposed to be outside and enjoy life, but when it rains (which it does quite often here in Sweden), the TV will not be of any use since every channel just show re-runs all the time (unless there is some sporting event going on). What does this have to do with "Reload"? Just check the first syllable of the album title, it explains close to everything.

"Reload" is exactly what it say it is, a re-run of its predecessor "Load", with the same style of music, around the same play length, and even the album cover is more or less identical. And with each album being released just a year apart from each other, it is easy to get a deja vu feeling over the two records. Sure, there are differences between the twins, but they are so minimal that you need a magnifying glass to spot them. So let us bring out our inner Sherlock Holmes and find them.

On the musical side of things, "Reload" still has some country influences, but not as much as "Load", instead we have more of the straight out rock that was some of the better parts of the predecessor. While it does not take over the album, it does make "Reload" a little more dynamic in its approach, even if there is a lot of slow, uneventful songs that makes the long run time even longer. Another thing "Reload" has over its brother is that it has a better highlight in the speedy opener "Fuel", a song that blows fellow opener "Ain't My Bitch" over the water with its furious riffs and solo, and also a James Hetfield that is having a little too much fun. It also has a great chorus to scare the crap out of Drive-In cashiers (Give me food, give me fries, give me salad on the side!).

I do also think that the extra year of work that was put into this record only benefited it, because it sounds overall more crisp. Fine songs as "Devil's Dance", "Prince Charming", and "Where The Wild Things Are" got an extra pop to them, so even if they are no show stoppers, they do gather some attention here at least with a neat production, and some good performances from the entire crew.

Although, it does not salvage the overall bleak aura that surrounds "Reload", because as previously stated, there are simply too many songs in here that are either boring, uninteresting, meaningless, or all of the above. We got "Slither", which feels like a strange Alice In Chains cover, the overly corny "Bad Seed" and "Attitude" does not help things either, and while "Low Man's Lyric" might have had some good potential, it is thwarted by its 7 and a half minute length. Also, while "The Unforgiven II" is one of the main highlights of this record, why the hell did the band feel like they needed a sequel for one of the singles of "The Black Album"? You just had to squeeze in yet another track in here, didn't you?

Now, while I do think that both "Load" and "Reload" are both over bloated and bland, I do admire the band and their urge to push themselves musically, because there is some genuine good music to be found. The problem is that they felt like everything had to be included, so the gold is easily lost among the dirt. If Metallica just had some restraints, taking a couple of songs from each album and fuse them into a 50 minute album, then you would have a great record. Sadly, we are left with a lot of fillers, and while "Reload" is a slight step forward, it is not nearly enough to make it acceptable. So stop wasting my time and bring me something... angrier. Oh wait...

Songs worthy of recognition: Fuel, The Unforgiven II, Where The Wild Things Are, Prince Charming

Rating: 5,5/10 Bad Seeds

More reviews of Metallica
Kill 'em All
Ride The Lightning
Master of Puppets
...And Justice For All
St. Anger
Death Magnetic
Hardwired... To Self-Destruct

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