Metallica: Re-Load

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Metallica

Album: Re-Load
Label: Elektra

Despite its title, Re-Load—the follow-up to Metallica's four-million-selling 1996 epic Load—is not a remix album, nor is it a slapped-together collection of B-sides and outtakes. It's more like the until-recently unrecorded second half of the double-length album Metallica had in mind when it went into the studio to make Load. (With Load's 78-minute length, and Re-Load timing out at around 76, that would have been a lot of Metallica to take in one sitting.) Less commercially accessible than its Lollapalooza-friendly, surprisingly ballad-intensive, occasionally reviled predecessor, Re-Load features lots of stripped-down, balls-out metal, from the rip-roaring opening track "Fuel" on. The individual tracks tend to run longer than they need to, and they're often forgettable compared to the group's early songs—those tended to be at least as long, yet somehow far more epic in scope. And a sequel to the band's 1991 hit single "The Unforgiven" (titled "The Unforgiven II," of course) wasn't particularly well-conceived. Still, neither was Re-Load's title: This isn't some remix collection, nor is it a mere rehash, and fans should appreciate it as the generous dose of Metallica they've come to expect from the ambitious band. Just don't expect Metallica's finest hour, and you'll be okay.

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