Load and ReLoad are the sixth and seventh studio albums by Metallica, released through Elektra Records on June 4, 1996 and November 18, 1997, five years after their self-titled commercial breakthrough. They were originally meant to be a double album but, due to time constraints, were split into two separate albums. At about 79 and 76 minutes, they are Metallica's longest and fourth-longest studio albums, respectively (the second and third longest actually being a tie between Hardwired... to Self-Destruct and 72 Seasons, both at 77 and a half minutes).
Load and ReLoad saw Metallica continuing the more simplified hard rock sound they adopted on the self-titled album, while incorporating blues, southern and alternative rock influences. Naturally, this change led to accusations of They Changed It, Now It Sucks! from long-time fans, with accusations of Sell-Out also running rampant due to the band's almost U2-like haircuts and alt-rock influence. Nevertheless, both albums were massive commercial successes, hitting #1 on the Billboard 200 and selling in excess of 5 million copies each.
- "Ain't My Bitch" (5:04)
- "2 X 4" (5:28)
- "The House That Jack Built" (6:39)
- "Until It Sleeps" (4:28)
- "King Nothing" (5:30)
- "Hero of the Day" (4:22)
- "Bleeding Me" (8:14)
- "Cure" (4:54)
- "Poor Twisted Me" (4:00)
- "Wasting My Hate" (3:57)
- "Mama Said" (5:22)
- "Thorn Within" (5:52)
- "Ronnie" (5:17)
- "The Outlaw Torn" (9:49)*
- "Fuel" (4:30)
- "The Memory Remains" (4:39)
- "Devil's Dance" (5:19)
- "The Unforgiven II" (6:36)
- "Better Than You" (5:22)
- "Slither" (5:13)
- "Carpe Diem Baby" (6:12)
- "Bad Seed" (4:05)
- "Where the Wild Things Are" (6:23)
- "Prince Charming" (6:05)
- "Low Man's Lyric" (7:36)
- "Attitude" (5:17)
- "Fixxxer" (8:15)
- James Hetfield - rhythm guitar, lead vocals
- Kirk Hammett - lead guitar
- Jason Newsted - bass
- Lars Ulrich - drums
"Oh, poor troping me...":
- Be Careful What You Wish For: "King Nothing":Careful what you wish, you may regret it
Careful what you wish, you just might get it
- "King Nothing" ends with a lyrical call-back to "Enter Sandman."
- "The Unforgiven II" features several musical call-backs to "The Unforgiven", as well as a homage to the Iron Maiden song "Children of the Damned" in its acoustic bits.
- Cluster F-Bomb: "Ain't My Bitch" doesn't technically have the F-word in it but liberally uses a ton of other swear words.
- Driven to Madness: "Ronnie" is about a lonely and depressed kid who eventually snaps and shoots up his neighborhood. Word of God says that this is based on an actual shooting that happened in Washington state during the early-mid 90's.
- Epic Rocking: Quite a few songs, actually. "Outlaw Torn", "Fixxxer", "Bleeding Me" and to a small extent "The House That Jack Built."
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: "Mama Said", although this song is also pretty open about the frustrations James had with his mother.
- Fading into the Next Song: "Until It Sleeps" fades into "King Nothing." Word of God says that this was actually a mistake in Load's mixing.
- Fake-Out Fade-Out: "Better Than You" has a fake ending, although it doesn't technically "fade out."
- A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted: The subject of "King Nothing" has this happen and is mocked for it throughout the whole song.
- Genre Roulette: Stylistically, these albums are all over the place! Hard Rock, Alternative Rock, Grunge, Stoner Rock, Heavy Metal, Punk, Southern Blues, Country, Progressive Rock, and even Folk Music influences are present.
- Grief Song: Quite a few, actually. "Until It Sleeps," "Cure," and "Mama Said" are all about James's deceased parents.
- Happy Place: "The House That Jack Built" is about sheltering yourself from the dangers of the outside world through alcohol dependence. A topic James is all too familiar with, unfortunately.
- Lighter and Softer: Compared even to the self-titled, these albums are pretty light by Metallica standards (though still heavy by modern rock standards). Although lyrically, they actually contain some of Metallica's darkest and most serious material.
- Longest Song Goes Last: Load closes with "The Outlaw Torn", which runs for nearly ten minutes even after shortening it to prevent the CD from skipping; the "Unencumbered by Manufacturing Restrictions Version" available on one of the singles for "The Memory Remains" is a minute longer. Reload closes with "Fixxxer", which runs for just over eight minutes.
- New Sound Album: Downplayed. Structurally, they're very similar to the self-titled album, but they have a more blues-centric guitar sound and even gruffer vocals from James. Not to mention the guitars are tuned down half a step for the entirety of the two albums (except "Devil's Dance", which is played in the key of D minor).
- Precision F-Strike: "Fuel" has a particularly effective one.
- Rock Me, Asmodeus!: "Devil's Dance" is a subversion in that, while it appears at surface level to be about Satan, it's actually about somebody soliciting sex.
- Sequel Song: "The Unforgiven II" is one to "The Unforgiven" from the self-titled.
- "Cure" is, lyrically at least, a sort of sequel to "The God That Failed." As it's also about James's parents' battles with cancer and how their rigid Christian Science beliefs have been holding them back from successful treatment.
- Spoken Word in Music: The bridge in "Ronnie."
- Stealth Pun: The title of the Load album takes on a different meaning if you're aware of how the cover art was created: it's cow blood mixed with semen, or in other words, the artist's load.
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Mama Said" and "Low Man's Lyric." About half of "Hero of the Day" is this as well.
- Title Track: An odd aversion. The demo for "King Nothing" was titled "Load." However, the final albums have no title tracks in them.
- Voodoo Doll: "Fixxxer" is told from the perspective of one.
- White-Dwarf Starlet: "The Memory Remains", with Marianne Faithfull providing guest vocals.
- Yarling: James does this in several songs, such as "Ronnie."