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On “Reload”, Metallica often sound like a group that has run out of creative musical ideas, being the sister record to the group’s 1996 “Load” release, with the material stemming from the same sessions as that lackluster effort, proving that a combination of the best tracks from the two would have made a fantastic accomplishment, but as separate entities, both of these records fail to recapture the magic that metal fans have come to associate with Metallica.
Admittedly, the group was embroiled in experimentation, looking to meld their massive thrash revered by so many metalheads with a more commercial approach tracks such as the tepid “Devils Dance” or the downright boring, cheeseball “Better Than You” (which sounds more like a throwaway from the Metallica sessions). Producer Bob Rock does his damnedest to make Metallica sound like Motley Crue on the utterly abysmal “Slither.” Here, the listener gains the impression that Metallica are desperately trying to be something that they most certainly are not.
There are a handful of redeeming moments such as the high-energy “Fuel” and the massive, appropriately doomy “The Memory Remains.” Even a reworking of an earlier cut, “The Unforgiven II” has a fair amount of appeal, but in coupling with the majority of this record, it seems quite obvious that at this point, Metallica were running out of ideas and most definitely out of touch with the changing face of heavy metal. Other dismal tracks being not even worthy of mention, “Reload” stands as the absolute worst album in Metallica’s storied history. Further proof that the producer makes the band, these guys should give Bob Rock the pink slip for he is single-handedly contributing to the complete ruin of one of metal’s giants. “Reload” is guaranteed to collect at least a half inch of dust before you care to pull it back out again.