Although "Load" and "Reload" are not something most fans see as the finest of Metallica's studio work, drummer Lars Ulrich would seemingly disagree, as he sees them as the group's most underappreciated releases. The drummer did admit that the image change the four-piece went through was an understandable shocker for fans at the time, but firmly concluded that the entire era was "creatively on par with everything else" the band has ever done.
"I think 'Load' and 'Reload' are great records," Ulrich said during a recent Revolver magazine interview. "They are creatively on par with every other record we've made. Obviously, theyre bluesier records, and at that time, we were listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and AC/DC, and we had a different kind of foundation than records before or after. And I understand that there are people who couldn't quite figure out what was going on with the haircuts and the rest of it, and that's fine.
"But musically, if you strip all that other stuff away, if you just listen to the 27 songs - 'Load' and 'Reload' were intended as one double-record - it's a great collection of songs that is on par with everything else that we've done creatively. But, I mean, who needs another person to sit there and argue about, you know, f--king 'Carpe Diem Baby?' They are different records, but that was the intention. [laughs] It's not like we sat there and thought we were remaking '... And Justice for All.' [laughs] We are obviously aware of that. But I think personally theres great songs on both of those records and Im very proud of those records."
As far as the new Metallica record goes, the drummer didn't give too much new info, saying once again that the band is still in the early writing phase and that "there's no rush" to it.
"We're in the early stages of writing, and all I can say is there are some good things lurking. It's fun. Between doing the film and the Orion Festival, we've been taking a few days here and there to shift through riffs and get all that shit done. We've got to put them into song shape and get our asses in the studio. I hope we can do that by the end of the year, maybe early next year.
"2014 is a bit optimistic for the album to come out, so '15 is more realistic. But listen, there's no rush. It's gonna take what it takes."
In related news, Devin Townsend reached the topic of Metallica in one of his recent interviews, saying he is confident they "have got more money than God." When asked to comment on Kirk Hammett's statement saying that the band has to tour due to financial reasons, Townsend replied:
"I'm sure Metallica have got more money than God, but they have got a group of people who rely on them. They've become like a family over the years," 41-year-old tells the Irish Times. "There are lots of people who are heavily invested in the project. In order to keep the boat floating to allow them to do what they do with these people, they've got to make sure that everybody makes a living."