25 years ago, Metallica followed up their 5 times Platinum album Load, with it's sequel, Reload. Load was a massive step away from the band's typical metal sound... even a larger step from their previously released Black Album, which was arguably a large step on it's own. 1997's Reload wasn't any different, much to the chagrin of many a faithful, myself included.
While I enjoyed the Black Album, and defended it rigorously, I stepped away from the band for a number of years as I just did not like the new direction the band was taking. In fact, it wasn't until 2003's St. Anger that I started listening to the band again. Still with its flaws (in my opinion), I loved the attempt of getting back to their heavier style, and it's not their worst album.
It wasn't until after 2008's Death Magnetic that I took myself back to the 2 albums I despised (without actually ever hearing them completely). With age, I discovered a few songs from each that I actually quite enjoy, but I still declare them to be my 2 least favourite albums from my favourite band.
With Reload, I find the 76 minute run time a little cumbersome to get through from beginning to end. The lead track "Fuel", is not a bad attempt to get the listener's attention, but it's a little Pop Heavy. For any other band, I honestly may think "That's a pretty cool song", and while I don't hate it, it's just not the sound that I love from this band.
Other tracks like "Devil's Dance", Attitude" and "Fixxer" try a little too hard in my opinion, to please their faithful fans, while not deterring the new fans they were quickly gaining. But not all is lost here. There are actually a few tracks that I continue to turn to. Mainly, because I find a message that keeps drawing me in.
"Carpe Diem Baby" is taken literally... 'Seize the Day'!!! Make the most of what you got. Don't settle for less. Kick ass, always. When life gets tough, I love to throw this track on as a wake-up call.
"Low Man's Lyric" is another favourite here. It's the story of an addict who knows what he is doing is wrong, but he can't find the strength to break away. It's not a new message, but I love the solemness of the track. As I age, I love these slow, melodic songs. The pipes also bring me closer to my roots, which is always a great opportunity for reflection.
The album is not the "horrible" album I once thought it was. These guys are phenomenal musicians who took a chance at trying something new. From a success standpoint, it was this "era" of the band where they made their greatest strides, and solidified themselves in the annals of Rock and Roll. For me, they are the greatest band of all time, and while I don't LOVE this recording, it's not all bad.
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