The long-awaited sequel to Metallica’s sixth full-length album, “Load,” has finally hit the shelves and in my opinion, is much better than its predecessor. “Reload” is not a completely new album, nor is it a bunch of remixes or cover songs. The songs on “Load” and “Reload” were to be released as a double CD set, but when the first half of the songs were complete (“Load”), the band was asked to go on tour with the popular Lolapalooza music festival, so the rest of the songs had to wait.
The band makes it clear that these thirteen songs are not “leftovers” and I agree completely. The CD is packed to the brim with 76 minutes of everything from hard-core metal to slow rock,(which surprises me since a CD can only physically hold 74 minutes of digitally recorded music).
The first track, “Fuel,” arguably one of the best, opens with the line “Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire,” a surprising use of proper English. At this point, the instruments all come in with a bang, going straight into fast-paced, hard-core metal. The song will surely be a hit, and will be released as a single.
The next track, the first single off the album, is called “The Memory Remains.” This is somewhat slower and softer, but equally as good. This is a unique Metallica song in that it contains a guest vocalist, Marianne Faithful, performing two solos. Personally, I would have preferred a guitar solo in place of the vocals, but on a positive note, the solos add a new twist to Metallica’s ever-changing style.
The fourth track, like on most Metallica CD’s is my personal favorite. I don’t know why, but on almost every CD, they save the fourth track for the best, perhaps so you have to listen to the first three to get to it. Called “The Unforgiven II,” it is a sequel to “The Unforgiven” from the band’s self-titled release. In my opinion, it lives up to, if not surpasses, its predecessor. It starts off with the same long guitar note, but then goes into a heavy solo. It contains some similar lyrics, although it is completely different. Toward the end, you can hear the main guitar riff from the original in the background, and if you listen carefully, you can hear “I dub thee Unforgiven.” At first, I thought making a sequel would ruin it, but was proven wrong.
The rest of the CD is quite good, but the first four tracks are simply outstanding, of the quality to be listened to over and over again.
This CD is another step in the evolution of Metallica, which started out as a small, cult band, scarcely followed and rarely taken seriously. Their music went from pure, hard-core heavy metal (the first of its kind) through a metamorphosis into musically creative art. You can see how the band has matured musically and will probably continue to do so, taking the music industry with it. .