I remember reading an interview
with former Metallica-member Dave Mustaine just before his
band, Megadeth, released their new Cryptic Writings,
during which he said something to the effect that he had heard
Metallica's Load take a lot of critical punishment
from fans and how he thought that was a shame, but he'd heard
a new, harder album was on it's way. The album to which
he referred was ReLoad. Fans remained skeptical.
After all, rumour had it that the album was really
just cutting floor material from the Load recordings.
In my humble opinion, ReLoad is far better than Load,
but remains a weak effort by comparison to past Metallica
releases. Load features far more "filler"
material, something Metallica fans of the 80s thought they
would NEVER see, and overall simply offers more consistently
The first song from the album,
from which Metallica's weakest video was made, is "Fuel."
Fortunately, the song is better than the video, and pretty
much the only song on the album which presents the speed and
thrash style fans found on Metallica's first album, Kill
'Em All. Lyrically, the song seems very rushed
and soulless, though it is rumoured to be about drug addiction,
which makes "Give me fuel, Give me fire, Give me that
which I desire" a little more significant.
The second song, and the first
single from the album, is "The Memory Remains,"
a delicious 4 1/2 minute rock song with a great heavy main
riff . The lyrics are intriguing if difficult at times to
understand, but Metallica fans should be used to that by now.
I hear a lot of people complain that Metallica songs are too
short as of recent releases but this song, as many others,
is very well paced. "Devil's Dance" is the third
song and not much to speak of. This is on of the unfortunate
filler songs that could just as easily been left in the studio,
as are "Bad Seed," "Prince Charming,"
and "Attitude." "The Unforgiven II"
has been given a lot of grief as simply a ripoff of "The
Unforgiven," but it remains a fantastic song nonetheless,
and exemplified the tremendous progress Hetfield has made
in improving his singing voice. The lyrics are totally
independent of the first Unforgiven, and seems to be about
James Hetfield's life with a woman who's lived the same sort
of life as Hetfield described in "The Unforgiven."
The song has almost cloned riffs during the verses and chorus,
although I believe they are in a different key. I'd
be very intrigued to see Metallica perform a live medley of
the two songs, juxtaposing the subject material and music.
"Better Than You" has a nice hard riff but gets
old quickly. "Slither" has some cool lyrics
and a riff that seems almost a direct clone of "Enter
Sandman" from The Black Album. "Carpe Diem
Baby" competes with "Fixxxer" for best song
of the album - both songs sport fantastic lyrics, but I think
I like the riffs on "Fixxxer" better, and it's nice
to see a Metallica-style epic come back. Fantastic song, "Fixxxer."
"Where The Wild Things Are" is a cool song when
it's rolling, but takes to long in between... the end of the
chorus is the only time the song seems to actually *be* there.
"Low Man's Lyric," much like "Mama Said,"
is a very quiet song for Metallican standards. Personally,
I like it a lot. The lyrics are down and insightful, if only
by Metallica standards... it reads like a suicide note.
Some interesting synth work is shown on this song, but if
the "Herman Melville mix" of "Until It Sleeps"
(found on one of the "Unforgiven II" import singles)
is any indication, I sincerely hope that the band stay as
far away as possible from any more experiments in techno.
So overall the album sports about
six great songs, which is about the same as most of Metallica's
albums. The trouble is, unlike most of their albums,
there are a lot of really tiresome songs mixed in there as
well. I wish the band had stuck to their "8-song-album"
pattern of the 80s, but it's still nice to hear their new
material. Overall, I think old Metallica fans will actually
enjoy parts of this album once they get over their proud indignation
at the idea of a slow tempo, but not more than they enjoyed
Master Of Puppets and Ride The Lightning.
PS - Stop making videos, Metallica!
"Fuel" was horrible!
/ Elektra Entertainment
3.0 out of