On Load, the best songs shows a slightly higher class than the ones on Reload. Until it Sleeps is exquisite in its extraordinariness, King Nothing has an Enter Sandman vibe in tempo and feel, a massive song.
Hero of the Day is my dark horse to win the award for the best Metallica song of the 90’s. I know it’s an unusual choice, but I think it’s absolutely brilliant. The soft arrangement has such a special warmth to it, the melodies glimmer and the song works its way forward to the heavy crescendo with patience and class. And let’s also mention The Outlaw Torn which stands out as an epic ending to the album.
So what’s the problem then? About half of the songs are semi-hard snowballs, unexciting half-measures and sloppy in-and-out action without a good climax. Again, the band has huge problems with booting unnecessary material. I know I sound like a broken record but that’s the central cause of many of the band’s problems in recent decades.
Load/Reload is the perfect example of this disease. Imagine if you cut this total of two hours and 40 minutes into ONE tight record with 10-12 tracks. It had become a classic rock album and definitely surpassing the magic 8.0 rating for me. It becomes so incredibly clear with these twin albums where the guys keep shooting their own foots.
But back to the positive. The albums have the merit that they grow over the years, especially the good songs of course. The production, the apparent joy of playing rock together and the riffs still hold up against time and when you listen to the records again, as I did now, they behave like an old dear friend you didn’t know you longed for.
Load deserves its slightly higher rating because the best songs are incredibly powerful.
Best songs: Hero of the Day, Until it Sleeps, King Nothing