Artist: Metallica Album: LoadFor my first post, I’m going to review a double album. The first album is a rather old, releasing in 1996 on and in contrast to popular opinion is my favorite Metallica album. The album starts out with the hard hitting Ain’t My Bitch. Songs like Bleeding Me and Until It Sleeps show Metallica can slow down from time to time. Deeper cuts on the album include Poor Twisted Me, features a musical pattern rarely used by the band, Thorn Within, while not the most original lyrically features one of my favorite guitar riffs during the chorus, and 2X4, which sounds like Battery remade into a blues song. The closer The Outlaw Torn gradually builds from a slow pace to an all out jamming session lasting for minutes if you find the original version on Youtube.

 

Since this was during Metallica’s “experimental years,” many changes to the formula were implemented. Instead of thrash picking, Hetfield and Hammett are incorporating blues techniques and using chords other than their typical 2-3 string power chords found in songs like Until It Sleeps. Ulrich’s playing includes more low tom fills than previous albums in songs such as Cure and Thorn Within. Hammett’s solo’s and Ulrich’s heavy use of the Hi-Hat remain in full use from previous albums. Hetfield keeps his mid range growl type voice present throughout the album especially heard on 2X4. I would call this album easier to play than previous entries, if you’re used to older Metallica, this will be a challenge to adapt to. If you’re just starting out, I would recommend Hero of the Day for guitar for it’s repeating pattern and not to challenging guitar solo, The Outlaw Torn for bass for an easy riff you can hear throughout the verse, and King Nothing for drums because it follows Ulrich’s simple drumming pattern. For more of a challenge, Until It Sleeps uses plenty of complex chords, and The Outlaw Torn during the bridge will challenge coordinated drummers.

Artist: Metallica Album: Reload

For the part two, Reload released in 1997 as a follow up to Load. I’ve heard it said in comments online that if you combined the good two thirds of Load and the good one third of Reload you would have a more well received album than what they had. While I don’t have 100% love every song on the album, I think there’s more than just one third of good music on Reload. While songs like Fuel, the albums heavy opener and The Memory Remains remain in high regard the rest of the album has its highlights. Devil’s Dance has a slow, almost Black Sabbath like sound to it with a heavy main riff. Better Than You quickens the pace and Where the Wild Things Are has a rather odd harmony in the chorus but the band makes it fit the song well. Overall, Reload is just more Load with a slightly slower pace. While it’s not traditional Metallica, it’s still a great album to listen to.

 

This album continues the musical experimentation further than Load. A handful of songs, The Unforgiven II and Low Man’s Lyric feel more like country songs than metal with string skipping and using base acoustic chords. Reload on guitar regains some focus on power chords and heavy palm muting. The drumming maintains Ulrich’s familiar style, but some changes in songs like Bad Seed help to break his monotony. Hetfield maintains his mid range voice throughout the album, similar to Load. Some songs to begin with include Better Than You for guitar as a good intro to palm muting, Devils Dance on bass will give a good lesson in rhythm and The Unforgiven II for drummers due to its slow pace. For more experienced players, Fuel on guitar and drums requires good coordination between hands, for bass players, Carpe Diem is a good challenge due to multiple string changes in the intro and verse.

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