Sound — 9
Originally planned to be a double album (combined with 1996's "Load"), Reload continues where its predecessor left off. The overall quality of the sound is fully captured here more than it was on any other album, excluding Puppets. Who else but Metallica could make songs in Eb sound so bone crunchingly heavy? The heaviness and melody of Hetfield and Hammett is at its best, and the majority of the main and bridge riffs featured on Reload (Fuel, Prince Charming, Fixxxer are awesome examples) kick serious ass. However, while they fit right along with the E pedal, some of Hammett's solos seemed repititious and lacked the creativity he displayed on Metallica's earlier efforts.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrical content of Reload is superb. Hetfield, Ulrich, and Hammett have put together some amazing songs over the years, but they definately out-do themselves here. The lyrics fit the music perfectly, (no disrythmia here, perfect harmonies). When I first heard the close of Unforgiven II, I got chills. Still to this day, after hearing that song hundreds of times, I still get goosebumps. Other songs on the album have much deeper and darker meaning than the older subject matter found on previous Metallica albums of drugs, capital punishment, and even an Ernest Hemingway novel (For Whom The Bell Tolls). Overall, the feeling Hetfield puts into his singing on this album is much better than before, and the passion he has for what he is singing really helps to drive the songs' meanings home.
Overall Impression — 9
For Metallica, the '90s ushered in change: new views, new group cohesiveness, and new true Metallica f--ing attitude. Some say this was Metallica's downfall, and that they'd sold out, but in truth, Metallica sold out with 1991's Black Album, they just new how to make it work and put on awesome live shows that led their fans to say "maybe it is time for some small changes." All of the songs are impressive, but the ones that stand out for overall composure are Prince Charming and Fixxxer, both of which never got enough credit. I loved the sound on the album, and I absolutely shiver from the lyrics. My only complaint of the album was the slower tempo. A few of the songs came close to 150bpm, two went over 200, but the rest seemed to be more "bang your head against the wall slowly to really feel the pain" instead of "in your face, f--k it all and no regrets, bang your head against the stage like you never did before" like Metallica had done in the past. Nonetheless, Metallica put together an awesome album (I'm glad they didn't do a double because it would've killed the individuality of the songs). I have lost this album twice, so that means that I have bought it three times, and have loved it just as much today, if not more, than when I first heard the words "Gimme fuel, gimme fire, gimme that which I desire, oooh!"