Lars Ulrich Considers 'Load' and 'Reload' 'Creatively On Par' With Every Other Metallica Record

"I'm very proud of those records," the drummer says.

Ultimate Guitar

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."

150 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Load is a killer album. Reload isn't as good front to back, but it has some good songs. If you accept that it isn't thrash metal, and is more hard rock than anything, than you can find the true musical values in these album. If you can't see how Load is a great album than go **** yourself.
    I totally agree too! Load and Reload do have some very nice songs. They are not as heavy or trash as the other ones, but as Lars stated, that wasn't the intension.
    I think they're great. Yes, they're not thrash but they're still really good! I bet if Alice in Chains released them they'd be called masterpieces.
    To be honest, that is the problem, people always expect from them to be the best. I bet if Korn had released St. Anger instead of Metallica, it would be an album of the year.
    To me, those albums are like having a feel of being worn out... the stresses brought by the band's seemingly endless touring and success. They are the best albums to listen to when you are driving home from work (which I do) just to unwind and think about the day that just passed. In that feeling of weariness, you will best appreciate Load and Reload.
    I think that the more interesting thing is what Devin said. Never looked at it that way. The road crew is heavily dependent of tours and if band doesn't tour they don't have regular job, and they can't really find one very quick. Never thought of Metallica as an employer... Now I do.
    Read the same thing about the Grateful Dead over the years too - they had to be constantly on the road in order to support the band "family" they were basically supporting.
    Honestly I agree. The hate those albums get is ridiculous. Just a bunch of closed-minded elitist metalheads who can't get it through their thick skulls that a band might not want to play in the exact same style their entire careers. Those albums are easily Metallica at their hookiest & most accessible but I wouldn't say that's a bad thing. There's still a lot of substance to be found. It's just that they furthered their knack for catchy melodies. And while there certainly is a grunge element in a few songs, to me it sounds more like one great artist influencing another than just bandwagonning off the latest musical trend.
    There's nothing close minded about not liking an album. There is something close minded about refusing to listen to an album, about talking crap on the album without even hearing a single song, etc. But there's nothing close minded about hearing an album by band you love, and realizing "hey, this sucks!" Also, I'd advise using the word "elitist" more selectively. By talking crap on people who don't like load/reload, you're being an elitist by implying that people are better off liking an album that they don't like, than they are saying bad things about an album that they don't like.
    I have no problem with bands changing styles, but Metallica are far worse at the style on Load and Reload. The albums are also chock full of filler. There's stuff I like on both (Until It Sleeps, King Nothing, Hero Of The Day, The Unforgiven II, The Memory Remains) but mostly it's not great.
    My Last Words
    I don't really like Load or ReLoad. Does that make me a close-minded metal elitist? I think not.
    I agree, Lars. Now, why don't you prove it by actually playing some of that stuff live more often? And I don't mean just Fuel and The Memory Remains.
    The Load albums were fantastic. Not my favorite Metallica albums, but definitely contain some of my favorite Metallica songs. They're wonderful albums when you go into them without the expectation of thrash. Outlaw Torn, Fixxxer, Carpe Diem Baby, Unforgiven II, The House Jack Built, Mama Said, Where the Wild Things Are, Bleeding Me. So many good songs between those two records.
    I agree . . songs like "Ain't my Bitch" and "2 x 4" have to be some of my favorite songs
    Agreed, it's not thrash but, this May me news to some people, but not everything has to be a thrash album nor is everything good a thrash album
    I haven't listened to Load, but ReLoad is a great album. I love Metallica's 90s music.
    you haven't?? well, i'm telling you, it's worth the try, and more bluesy than ReLoad.
    I hate Lars Ulrich, I'm not even that big a fan of Metallica, but this man seems to find his entire back catalog to be credible and artistically viable, no matter what anyone says, and that's something I can definitely respect.
    I mean to upvote you and accidentally pressed downvote. I love the fact that he backs up everything he does and is proud of it because its his. Not everyone can be like that, and it takes a degree of strength for sure
    Ive always loved those records and i still dont understand the hate, same goes for Megadeths Risk. Where the Wild Things Are, Fixxxer (Sabbath anyone?), Bleeding me and Outlaw Torn are easily some of my favourite Metallica songs overall as they have always been.
    I'm pretty sick and tired of seeing people bash Metallica's later stuff. Obviously I prefer their earlier albums, but I respect a band's right to consider different directions, not to mention it was a different time. Thrash was 80's and this was the mid-nineties, after having reached the big time with the Black album they would have no doubt been under pressure to provide the newly accumulated masses with something fresh.
    Face R1pper
    Yeah and I'm also tired of people pretending that Metallica was the only thrash band to do this in the 90s. Load is pretty good compared to what many other American thrash bands were doing at the time.
    link no1
    I'm pretty sick and tired of people complaining about Metallica's non thrash albums whilst making it seem like the other bands of the big four didn't also have some questionable albums (Hip-hop Anthrax, Nu-metal Slayer) I think overall, people are just sick of the unnecessary hate against Metallica.
    I have a rule about music - new sound? New band. Metallica should have stopped calling themselves "Metallica" because they weren't even Metal anymore. Experiment all you want, but don't put the name that once meant "best of Thrash" onto sub-par hard rock. Lulu figured this out, but they really should have called everything past Black Album something else.
    Face R1pper
    That is ridiculous. With that logic Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Blue Oyster Cult, Aerosmith, and many other top tier bands would have their works split into three or more different names. If band names were meant to be synonymous with a style of music, people wouldn't bother them and would name themselves something like "California Thrash Metal Band #8".
    I personally like Load, but I'm not surprised that Lars thinks it's as good as any other Metallica record. Lars thinks that everything Metallica does is their best work.
    I had no idea that people thought they were shit albums until a couple of years ago. I really enjoyed them, and still listen to them. Obviously there's a lot of filler, but there are some great rock songs there.
    I really like Load and really dislike Reload.I cringe everytime i hear The memory remains.Its a pity they dont play any of the stuff from load live anymore.
    The shining spot out of those two albums, for me, is Bleeding Me. That's a damn good song.
    I love those albums...I wish they would play more stuff from load Ronnie, that's an awesome bluesy riff fuelled song...(gets ready for the downvotes)
    I love how Metallica gets all the hate of the world for Load/Reload and Megadeth gets very little for stuff like Risk and Cryptic Writings, when Load and Reload are far superior and more consistent albums. Trust and She-Wolf aside, there isn't a single above average song on CW/Risk IMHO.
    How about Vortex, Disentegrators,Mastermind, Prince of Darkness and Time: The End? Just a couple of the obvious thrashers not counting all the good stuff such as Seven, Wanderlust, Ill Get Even and Almost Honest.
    Second Rate
    Cryptic writings is better than the Loads. Risk, on the other hand, is dreadful. Megadeth did catch a lot of shit for that album. Why do Megadeth not get the same level of hate for Risk that Metallica gets for Load/Reload? The answer is simple: The World Needs a Hero, The System Has Failed, United Abominations, Endgame, and Thirteen. Megadeth have released 5 good albums in the time since Risk. In the time since the Loads, Metallica have released one steaming pile of shit and one good album. A few more on par with Death Magnetic and Metallica will experience the same thing. Given their rate of output though, I don't see it happening.
    Face R1pper
    This is another thing that bothers me. People need to stop connecting the death of Cliff Burton to Metallica changing their style. It makes no sense that some people think Metallica would not have changed styles if Cliff stayed with them.
    I'm so glad that you brought that up, because there are actually interviews with Cliff in which he says himself that they didn't want to play the same exact music forever; that they wanted to experiment with other sounds. And they did just that.
    This is very true. I personally despise what they ended up doing with Load/Reload/St Anger, but to be honest, if they still had Cliff, it would of been just as, if not more so experimental. Still though R.I.P. Cliff
    Lars. You don't need to justify yourself or your band to anyone. You've all been more successful then anyone's wildest dreams and also popularized heavy music in ways nobody else has been able to, before, during or even after your careers are over. I've cherished each and every metallica album and the memories that go along with it. Load and Reload had some great songs on them that were part of the soundtrack of my teenage years. Who cares what the *****s who listen to "lunch with satan" from Norway think.
    I started appreciating the songs from these albums when listening to S&M. Bleeding Me and Outlaw Torn stood out on S&M, and thats compared to Master of Puppets and Fade to Black (both great tracks also) short, I think we're all starting to realise that Load and Reload were great albums...dont let the haricuts and makeup fool you!!
    I think those albums are really good. They were just a little different than the previous work. They have grown a lot to me in years. I think there is some very good songs in them
    Those two albums are definitely best sounding, production wise. Truthfully, Load is an awesome album.
    Thought they were brilliant albums, but I can understand why some might not like it. Their loss tho.
    1,000 agreed. I loved the direction they took with those albums. Not that I disliked their earlier work, but if I'm honest, Load/Re-Load are the best albums they've done, in my opinion. They were so much more dynamic and had way more depth.
    Load and Reload were great albums, they're much easier to listen to than their longer stuff. The three Metallica albums that remain on my iPod are Kill em All, Load and Reload
    Mine are: Ride The Lightning Master Of Puppets And Justice For All I have those albums with me at all times but also a few songs from the others. Anyone dissing load/reload should sift through them again, they will find something that they like. Bleeding me, king nothing, hero of the day, the outlaw torn, until it sleeps, thorn within, wasting my hate, low man's lyric, unforgiven 2, carpe diem baby, devils dance, fixxer, where the wild things are, slither, attitude, fuel... Any one of those, cant hate em all!?!? Edit: as I was typing this on my phone it I put the albums on and they're not as enjoyable as I remembered but nothing that death magnetic can't fix.
    mine are; kill em all ride the lightning master of puppets and justice for all the black album load/reload (elephant in the room) death magnetic Beyond magnetic lets hope this new one lives up to the metallica name!
    no life till leather kea rtl mop ajfa metallica load reload garag e inc s&m st. anger death magnetic lulu beyond magnetic
    I'll be honest: Complete garage days kill em all ride the lightning master of puppets ... and justice for all the black album death magnetic. Ride the lightning is their best album.
    To me, Death Magnetic is only slightly better than St. Anger... their two worst albums for me, by far. Edit: I replied to fromzero, but for some reason it put my comment as a reply to TJWhonley.
    Mine are: No Life Til' Leather Kill Em All Ride The Lightning Master Of Pupptes ... And Justice For All Black Album Load Reload Garage Days Re-revisited Garage Inc. St. Anger Death Magnetic Beyond Magnetic and TONS of Live-Metallica downloads (including their 30th Anniversary shows).
    Much easier to listen too? Please someone revoke this person's metal card!!
    Load/Reload is the official moment where Metallica jumped the shark. St. Anger and that Lou Reed album just prove that they are Spinal Tap in disguise
    So true. I would thumbs up this comment 1000x if I could. Jump the shark is exactly what they did.
    I love Metallica, but is it possible for a week to go by and not see Lars or Metallica in the news?
    I love those albums. And Metallica themselves said that they're not a metal band. It was just the thing they did. They've always done what they wanted to do from Kill Em All, to Load, to S&M to St. Anger, to Lulu. And that's why I love them, it's always something new and different.
    True, but you'll notice that they built up their fanbase to a great degree before they started getting overly creative with those later albums. If they would of strayed too far outside of what they were the best at (ie METAL) instead of making KEA,RTL,MOP,AJFA and even the blackalbum, they probably wouldn't barely be relevant enough to be discussing on UG
    come on people both are really good albums yeah its definetly not thrash but listen to low mans lyric the unforgiven 2 untill it sleeps the outlaw torn and the rest of them those are really good songs just beacause they changed people must hate them?
    I love Load and love some of Reload. Couple songs, 2x4 and Wasting My Hate, been getting lots of plays on my iPod in the car recently. Love the heavy descending riff in Wasting my Hate and 2x4 is just pure Hetfield... I CAN'T HEAR YA ARE YA TALKING TO ME? OOOOOHHHHH
    Funnily enough, ReLoad was the first Metallica album I have ever bought and I thought it was the best thing I ever heard at the time. Then I find out that it is dubbed their worst record, I thought 'Fuck the rest of their stuff must be amazing' and it was true. Load is up there with the best they've done, but I'd say that at least 10 of the 13/14 tracks on ReLoad still kick ass too! ...Both albums shit on St.Anger and that audio abortion known as 'Lulu.'
    How about they make a new album? I get that they are busy doing movies, flippers, and stuff, but still, they are Metallica, they are musicians.It would be great if they would stop talking about the past and MAKE SOMETHING NEW! P.S. Sry for my English.
    Load and Reload were good albums but not what Metallica was BEST at. They are a GREAT all around band for sure, but thrash metal is where they SHINED. Sure, it would of been awesome to get atleast one more golden age Metallica album (ie thrash album) but I guess that we should be thankful for the albums that they gave us in the 80s. That being said...St Anger was just terrible. There is no way around that. It was bad. Not Lulu bad but pretty damn bad.
    Yes, both albums were a huge change among the fans and Metallica, but were they really the worst albums they EVER put out? I mean from a music stand-point, no they are not. St. Anger was the worst that Metallica EVER put out. Load and Reload may not be Metallica at their best, but they are acceptable as Metallica can be.
    How the hell can anyone compare these two awful albums to Ride the Lightening, Master of Puppets, and Justice for all. Metallica are an out and out THRASH band and any attempt they have made to divert from this genre has ended up in disaster!!! (apart from the black album which is still a pretty cool record)
    Rubbish. How can you say Metallica moving away from thrash was a disaster? Out of the most well known thrash bands of the 80s Metallica seemed like they enjoyed the most success out of them all!
    Second Rate
    Have to agree. Thrash is the only thing they seem to excel at. The Loads, St. Anger, and even the self titled record for that matter sounded rather half assed.
    I think if you took the best 8 or 9 songs from Load and Reload, you'd have one solid album; as it is, they're both so-so I reckon.
    Personally I think the album Load is a cracker from start to finish, Reload however had abit too much filler on it for me (Where the Wild Things Are, Prince Charming and Low Man's Lyrics are 3 awesome tracks mind you). It kinda makes me wonder if maybe Metallica would be better off writing their next album in the same style as Load and Reload, Death Magnetic always comes across asif they were trying too hard to sound like their old thrash selves.
    That comment from Townsend makes a hell of a lot of sense and I never thought of it that way. Smart man... On topic, yes there are a few songs I can agree with off Load/Reload, but Lars saying they're great albums is just his ego not letting him admit they're crap.
    link no1
    I'm not a huge fan of his music but I always read/listen to what Devin has to say. His comments are pretty much always logical and brilliant.
    Personally, I ****ing hate Load and ReLoad, but I can at least respect them for going in a completely different musical direction than anyone was expecting. If nothing else, they deserve props for that.
    Josh Reubenking
    I will say that I love their much heavier stuff MUCH better, but Load and ReLoad are great, underrated records. There are great songs on those two albums. Took a lot of balls to go into a different direction. Props to them. Fuck what everyone else says about it.
    Damaged Roses
    In these comments: People saying Load and Reload aren't that bad because Lars says so with reasonable arguments.
    In these comments: people commenting on Load and Reload, as they're the main content of the article. Difficult concept to get your head around, I realize.
    Nobody ever hated on Load/ReLoad in the first place! ReLoad is my favourite post-80's Metallica album, like I've said before, if people wanted the earlier sound, they can just go back to the old albums.
    Nobody ever hated on Load/ReLoad? You've got to be kidding... Thos were the most controversial metal albums when they got released because they were "not like Master or Justice". Fans from around the world burnt their shirts and destroyed their CDs because of these 2 albums, and St. Anger, which I also think is a great album. Or maybe you just didn't know about the situation.