Sound — 10
The first Metallica song I think I ever heard was "Until It Sleeps." I actually saw the video, years later all I knew was that it was Metallica, I had no idea what album or what song. About 3 years ago when I first started to get into them I bought Master of Puppets. I listened to it day and night, it never left my Cd player, and often is back in for a good listen. When I found out that the song I heard years before was off "Load", I wanted to buy it so badly. It wasn't until five albums later that I bought it. When I did I listened to it all weekend and determined that this album is at first not as accessable to anyone with a taste for Metallica (I'm not talking about those 'great fans' who have heard one or two songs by them and don't fault to give their opinion on the best album, I'm talking about fans of the first four albums). Also, this album is probably Metallica's darkest. No other album of Metallica covers the subjects so effectively or believable. Actually, no other album has even covered such dark subjects like demonic possession, child murder or love in pain. The sound quality is the best of all their albums (except for "Reload" but they are just extensions). Bob Rock is a very skilled producer (no matter what you think of his decisions). Completely flawless. "Load" was a very different album in comparasion to the first four and is more an evolution in sound from "Metallica". Since Kirk had been studying guitar more during the five year period between the last album he incorporates a lot of different styles into the standard heavy overdriven metal sound. There are hints of blues and jazz, and on two tracks (Ronnie/Mama Said) even country. Whatever you like or dislike about that, it does not at all diminish "Load" at all but actually succeeds in giving it a substance that the other Metallica albums seem to be lacking. Better than most of yesterday and todays music.
Lyrics — 10
Lyrically this (again, along with Reload) was a high for Metallica. The writing form was different from past efforts however, there was a matured lyrical style, metaphores, simmiles (sp), they just seemed to more thoughtful and overall more believable. James Hetfield really put in effort as this is not only his lyrical peak but also vocally he has yet to match the greatness that is "Load." The singing shows that he not only has more talent than the vast, vast, majority of frontmen then and now, but he knows how to use it, and how to adjust his voice to better fit the mood and feel, or emotion of the song. Phenominal, by all means.
Overall Impression — 10
This album brings many things to mind. It stands out against the other albums in all aspects. It was much maligned for not being more like "Metallica" or "Master Of Puppets," which is tremendously unfair. This album should not be compared to those two because it is so different. And even so, that doesn't mean it isn't good. It marked a lot of firsts for the band and really showed the talent of the entire band. It has some of the coolest riffs and lyrics I have ever heard, the music flows together at all times, the subject matter was greater and more thought out. If you find this album and actually listen to it for what it is: a great creative peak, perhaps the greatest vocal show for 10 years, versatile/virtuoso guitar, fitting, catchy drum tracks, and a bass that is constant and great throughout, you will be finding a treasure that nost people don't. This album is almost hypnotic. It has many feels to it, one is classic rock, blues, and to some point psychedlia (some solos especially). This is definately the darkest album I own. It delivers groundbreaking sound and style with each song. This is one of my favorite albums ever, and I actually tend to prefer it to all of Metallica's other albums, don't get me wrong, Master of Puppets is perhaps the greatest metal album of all time and is a landmark accomplishment for music, but I find "Load" to be a much more varying, intelligent album. There is something for everyone in this album and Metallica excels on each new factor they've brought into their sound here. Also, this CD is 78:59 (their longest yet, with every second being great). If someone stole this from me I would definately burn a new copy off my computer and listen to it as I found and beat the thief for all his money to buy not only another "Load" but whatever CD I want. Hey, but thats just me. One of the greatest underrated albums of all time, a swirling blend of musical styles, a great maturation of sound and intelligence, hypnotic, and almost satanic subjects. Great on all accounts.