Lars Ulrich’s decision to place an advertisement in a local newspaper titled The Recycler marked the beginning of Metallica’s reign over metal music. The musician sought out metalheads who were interested in Tygers of Pan Tang, Iron Maiden, and Diamond Head. James Hetfield reached out to Ulrich in 1981, and they formed Metallica five months later. Metallica underwent several lineup changes due to various problems and tragedies after their formation; Dave Mustaine’s struggle with addiction, Cliff Burton’s untimely death, and their disputes with Jason Newsted are the most well-known. Regardless of the circumstances, Ulrich and Hetfield remained together. They discovered a great deal about themselves, one of which was the result of two records.
What Made Metallica’s ‘Load’ and ‘Reload’ Unique? Load, Metallica’s sixth studio album, was released on June 4, 1996. Its hard rock, alternative rock, Southern rock, blues rock, and country rock influences surprised fans who had become accustomed to their typical heavy, distorted sounds. Therefore, for some, Metallica’s ‘Load’ became their least favorite album. In response to this criticism, the members of the band reminded everyone that their intention was to explore different things.
Reload was their final studio album featuring the ‘…And Justice for All’ lineup prior to Newsted’s departure. Considering the band’s other best-selling works, the record’s sales of three million copies are considered modest. In addition to introducing fans to a new side of Metallica with ‘Load’ and ‘Reload,’ frontman James Hetfield discovered something about the group while working on these two albums. The Metallica characteristic that James Hetfield disliked. During his interview with Guitar World, the reporter questioned James Hetfield about what he learned from ‘The Black Album.’ He responded to the question by stating that the band members focused on adding heft to their sound, which became more refined over time. Hetfield went on to say that during the creation of ‘Load’ and ‘Reload,’ he discovered something about the band.
According to the Metallica vocalist, writing too many songs for these two albums caused them to lose focus and become diluted and watery. Hetfield disclosed that the band has always been adept at transforming mediocre songs into hits, but this ultimately became the trait he detested during the formation of Metallica, as not all mediocre songs merited inclusion on the album. He emphasized that the real question was whether or not they had the discipline to reject a song that was inferior to the others. “On ‘The Black Album,’ we learned how to add muscle to our sound,” Hetfield stated. On ‘Load’ and ‘Reload,’ I discovered that when you write too many songs, your focus becomes diluted and watered down. I detest this aspect of us. We are able to take an average song and improve it. But recently, the question has been, “Do we have the discipline to eliminate a mediocre song from the album? Do we recognize when something is inadequate?'”