We are often required in our reviews to question the legitimacy of the evolution of artists during their careers. Is it considered as a natural development and blessed innovation or should it be perceived as deterioration, commercialization, and even in some cases as a betrayal of its fans?
There is no unequivocal answer to these questions, and we do not think it is always possible to find where the thin line between genius and commercialism. What is certain is that there is always a tension between the artist's desire to sell as much as possible and the desire to go with his musical truth.
Today we are interested in opening this topic up for discussion and hearing your opinion.
We have a feeling that this album is one of which the disagreement regarding the musical change is among the biggest that exists.
We're talking about "Metallica's" controversial sixth studio album "Load" which was released on June 4, 1996.
If the 1991 "Black Album" marked a turning point in Metallica's sound, this album has already broken down the band's DNA, with influences from alternative, blues, southern rock, and even country.
This is the band's longest studio album going on approx. 79 minutes. The material for the album was written together with the material for the album "Reload" which was released a year later. The first intention was to release a double album, but recording such a large amount of songs spread over long minutes caused the band and its management to decide to initially release the album "Load", with the band continuing to record the rest of the songs to be released on the next album.
Unusually for the rest of the band's albums, the album "Load" includes three relatively quiet songs "Hero of The Day", "Bleeding Me" and "Mama Said".
It is also the band's first album with only three songwriters. James Hetfield wrote the lyrics of all the songs, while he wrote the music together with Lars Ulrich in collaboration with Kirk Hammett who participated in writing the music for six of the 14 songs.
The album has a very heavy and dark vibe. This is due to two main reasons; First, it's the band's first album where all the songs were recorded with James and Kirk's guitars tuned down in the E-Flat tuning. Some of the reefs here will even remind you of Black Sabbath, take "2X4" for example. Second, a large portion of the songs deals with death, addiction, and depression. "Bleeding Me", "Mama Said", and "Until It Sleeps" were influenced by Hatfield's mother's death, "Thorn Within" and "Poor Twisted Me" deal with his depression, "The House Jack Built" and "Cure" Engaged in alcohol and drug addiction and the song "The Outlaw Torn" was influenced by the death of Cliff Burton.
It is interesting to note that the song was shortened by about a minute to allow "Load" to be released as a single album. A full version of the song can be found on the B-Side for the single "The Memory Remains" where it reaches 10:48 minutes.
If the substantial change in the musical style, the general vibe, the writing themes, and the aim toward mainstream was not enough, then the album was also accompanied by a change in the appearance of all the band members who chose to part with their long hair.
The change was interpreted by some fans as betrayal and contempt, but not only. Mike Inez from the band "Alice in Chains" wrote on his bass guitar the phrase "Friends Don't Let Friends Get Friends Haircuts ...", during Alice's unplugged performance where Metallica members sat in the crowd.
On the other hand, some welcomed the change and believed that it was a legitimate change and development that was preferable to stagnation and standing still.
And now it's your turn, we're really curious to hear what you think of the change.