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2.28 | 130 ratings | 8 reviews
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Album · 1997

Filed under Heavy Metal


1. Fuel (4:29)
2. The Memory Remains (4:39)
3. Devil's Dance (5:18)
4. The Unforgiven II (6:35)
5. Better Than You (5:22)
6. Slither (5:13)
7. Carpe Diem Baby (6:12)
8. Bad Seed (4:05)
9. Where the Wild Things Are (6:54)
10. Prince Charming (6:05)
11. Low Man's Lyric (7:37)
12. Attitude (5:16)
13. Fixxxer (8:14)

Total Time: 76:04


- James Hetfield / Rhythm Guitar & Vocals
- Kirk Hammett / Lead Guitar
- Jason Newsted / Bass
- Lars Ulrich / Drums
- Marianne Faithfull / vocals (on track 2)
- Bernardo Bigalli / violin (on track 11)
- David Miles / hurdy gurdy (on track 11)
- Jim McGillveray / percussion

About this release

Label: Elektra/Vertigo
Release date: November 18, 1997

Thanks to metalbaswee, CCVP, rushfan4, Pekka, diamondblack, Unitron for the updates


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Vim Fuego
“ReLoad” at first sight? Hey, at least this one doesn’t have jizz on the cover like “Load” did! It looks like an egg yolk, or perhaps an embryo. Wonder what the cover image is called? "Piss and Blood XXVI"? Well, fuck...

So, yeah. Like Metallica’s previous instalment in the series “How to Disappoint Long Time Fans, but Sell Millions Anyway” (more commonly called “Load” and released in 1996), this album is covered in bodily fluids. But then, should anything different have been expected? Originally intended to be released as a double album, “Load” and “ReLoad” were recorded in part at the same time. That even Metallica got bored and couldn’t be arsed to hang around in the studio to finish this off in one go is an indicator of what’s going to be offered up here.

Like “Load”, “ReLoad” is too long. Listening to it is a chore. However, it does have a couple of points of interest, but these really aren’t enough to redeem the album.

First track “Fuel” is a silly, double-entendre-laden cock rock parody. While it might be the closest thing here to Metallica’s thrash roots, the riffs are second rate and forgettable, and it is painfully infantile.

Second track and first single from the album “The Memory Remains” is the strongest song across both Load albums. It features a broken, despairing vocal from Marianne Faithful, representing a fading star lamenting a career which is slipping relentlessly from her grasp. This is pretty much as good as it gets as good as it gets. “Devil’s Dance” actually lets Jason play. Pity he’s restricted to a simplistic pulse under an unremarkable song.

“The Unforgiven II” is an unnecessary reworking of “The Unforgiven” from the 1991 self-titled album. Yes, it’s a ballad. Yes, it’s got loud and quiet bits (but in the reverse order! How thrilling!). Yes, it’s got abstract lyrics. Yes, it’s long and boring.

“Better Than You” demonstrates one of the big problems here perfectly. It’s a big, fat sounding rocker, with Bob Rock’s big, fat, comfortable sounding production stamped all over it. And that’s the problem. Rock is a well… rock producer. It’s just not metal enough. See, this band has “metal” in it’s name – the first five letters – so is it really that unreasonable to expect the band to maybe please, play metal? Oh, for Fleming Rasmussen’s sharper, crisper production style from the past!

“Slither” is filler. The first riff sounds like a truncated “Smoke on The Water”. And the vocal effects are annoying. “Carpe Diem Baby” starts off slow and pedestrian. “Carpe Diem Baby” finishes slow and pedestrian too. Another six minutes of your life you won’t get back. “Bad Seed” is sort of bluesy and bouncy, but it’s more filler.

“Where The Wild Things Are” is a bit more metallic, and has a memorable vocal melody. But those double-tracked vocals? Awful! Yuck! It’s also the last Metallica writing credit for Jason Newsted. “Prince Charming” starts off promisingly with a jamming riff, and an uptempo vibe, but at it’s core, it’s Motley Crue’s “Kickstart My Heart” forced through a Metallica filter.

“Low Man’s Lyric” however, is a revelation. A ballad that’s not your traditional power ballad, it features a hurdy gurdy and violin, giving it an almost folk rock feel. And there’s no amplified power to it. Just when you expect everyone to stomp on the effects pedals and rock out, the music pulls back from the brink again. Kirk Hammett weaves some subtle solos over this, and James Hetfield’s heartfelt vocal creaks with heavy emotion.

And then the mellow, melancholic feel of “Low Man’s Lyric” is stamped all over by “Attitude”. Nope, it’s not a Misfits cover, more’s the pity. It’s another five minutes of turgid, bland rock.

Then “Fixxxer” sneaks in at the end. Finally, something hard driving and compelling to listen to. No, not very metal, but this song is heavy in other ways. There’s some raking slide guitar, with clean solo counterpoints, a throbbing bass line, oblique lyrics, and some reptilian vocal effects. Yes, it’s similar in formula to several other tracks on the album, but for some reason which is hard to fathom, it actually works this time, after half a dozen previous fails.

This was the third album in a row Metallica had fashioned using the same safe but ultimately tedious formula with Bob Rock twiddling the knobs at the soundboard. It took them a few more years, and a disastrous attempt at changing the formula (yes, the dog turd on a putting green that is “St. Anger”) before they gave Rock the boot. While Metallica’s output since has been inconsistent to say the least, there have been no more of these flaccid monstrosities inflicted upon the metal world, so maybe it was ultimately Bob Rock’s doing? More than likely though, it was just the band’s mindset at the time. “ReLoad” may have left a lot of long-time fans feeling disillusioned and disappointed, but it was still a success in it’s own way. It didn’t chart or sell as well as “Load”, but that’s relative – it still went triple platinum in the United States, and sold multiple millions of copies worldwide. However, success isn’t a synonym for interesting.
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.
"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.
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 star
With the world well familiar with the new look (and sound) of Metallica, the band regrouped to tie together the unused material from the Load album to create an album that, surprisingly, doesn’t just sound like leftovers.

I’ll actually say that the performance on Reload sounds like a band with a bit more confidence in their new identity. While some of the material may have been recorded at the same time as Load, this album sounds meatier in the production department. It’s a bit louder, and the vocals and guitar in particular have more bite to them.

The listener is treated to their best album opener of the decade in “Fuel”, which is easily the song with the most energy on the album, with “Attitude” being a close second.

While there are quite a few songs that are pretty heavy, there are also several interesting tracks on Reload that are more on the lighter side of rock. “Low Man’s Lyric” is the “Mama Said” of Reload as they continue to explore other genres with a strong folk music sound, and introduces Metallica fans to the sounds of the hurdy gurdy, a stringed instrument that produces a similar sound to the bagpipes. “Where The Wild Things Are”, a rare Newsted-penned track, blends occasionally heavy riffing with some haunting melodies to great effect. “Fixxxer” closes the album with a somewhat relaxing and hypnotic rhythm. It’s a heavy song at times, but not in the sense you’d expect from Metallica.

“The Unforgiven II” is easily one of the highlights on Reload. The song takes the opposite approach of its predecessor “The Unforgiven”, switching from the less conventional heavy verse / soft chorus structure to the lighter verse / heavy chorus that many songs with the loose-fitting “power ballad” label utilize. The verse has hints of country rock in the guitar playing, and Kirk Hammett’s solo soars in a much similar fashion to his work on “The Unforgiven”.

Much like I did with Load, a slight trimming of tracks could have made for an interesting double album with these two albums combined. From Reload, I’d point towards “Prince Charming”, “Better Than You” (which they somehow got a Grammy for), and perhaps “Bad Seed” as potential cutting room floor material. Not the worst songs in the world, but I wouldn’t confuse them for classic Metallica tracks.

I often flip back and forth between which of the Load-era albums I prefer, so it’s only natural for me to give them both the same rating. Reload is well worth checking out!
The Angry Scotsman
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.

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 and a Half Stars Only reason this album did not get a one, is because of the song Fuel, which is kind of good.
Metallica certainly wasn't scared of the thrashing that Load got from a big portion of their fans but stayed their course and released the rest of the sessions a year later as ReLoad. The sound was the same, the hair was the same, so the reception was the same if not worse still.

But ReLoad contains a lot of great material. The speeding opener Fuel is still a concert classic and on the same level is the sludgy pair of The Memory Remains and Devil's Dance. Both would be bettered still on the S&M live album, but sadly The Unforgiven II is a song they've never really touched live. Not quite on par with its predecessor, but a great country-tinged ballad nevertheless. James has great depth in his voice. Where the Wild Things Are and Low Man's Lyric are a couple of underrated masterpieces and very unusual material for Metallica, the former with its ethereal feel and marching rhythms and the latter with its violin and hurdy gurdy flavored balladness. The latter also features one of my favourite lines of lyric ever heard on a Metallica album: "I lie straight to the mirror, that I've broken to match my face". Fixxer is a great closing piece very much like the Outlaw Torn from the previous album.

But ReLoad also features many of the all time worst Metallica pieces. I will never ever understand on what grounds Better Than You won a Grammy except that it was a new Metallica track and when Metallica released new material they automatically got a Grammy for it. Attitude and Prince Charming are two other meaningless rocking-for-rocking's-sake pieces best left on the studio floor. But as they later said in an interview, every single Metallica song written since the beginning of their career had been released on a studio album and they weren't going to leave anything out this time either, no matter if all the songs weren't their best ever. Bad Seed brings things down as well with its lazy grooving, but it's not quite as passable as the three mentioned. Slither and Carpe Diem Baby are completely erased from the books of rock history, but they are very very solid pieces of work both somewhere in between the highs and lows of the album.

If you've seen or heard Metallica live in the recent years you might have noticed that some of the band members really drag the band down in the faster thrashier pieces by their sheer lack of ability and tightness, but with this kind of mid-tempo material everyone is at their best. Lars' drumming really fits the material well and Kirk delivers some very tasteful soli. James is vocally at his finest and Jason's sound is a pleasure to listen to.

Metallica stuck to their guns with this one and the results are varied. Some excellent underrated material and some genuine stinkers. Definitely one of their least good albums but still, yes, good as a whole.

Members reviews

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 compositions, 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. Nothing interesting to talk about. Well, good sound and production maybe, but I always focus in the music, not in the make-up.

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

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