Ranking the Discography: Metallica Part VII: Reload (1997)

Reload had 4 singles and like its predecessor, made it to #1. And like its predecessor, it’s got garbage written all over it. Just look at that awful cover. Let’s get this over with.

Members:

James Hetfield: Vocals, rhythm guitar

Kirk Hammett: lead guitar

Jason Newsted: bass

Lars Ulrich: drums, percussion

The Tracks:

  1. “Fuel”: You know an album is bad when even the singles are garbage. I’ve always hated this song.
  2. “The Memory Remains”: I’d forgotten how terrible this song was. Thanks for reminding me, Reload.
  3. ” Devil’s Dance”: I skipped this halfway through.
  4. “The Unforgiven II” Yeah, it’s just like “The Unforgiven”…if it sucked.
  5. ” Better Than You”: James, leave the diss tracks to the rappers. They don’t write boring ones.
  6. “Slither”: Next, please.
  7. ” Carpe Deim Baby”: Seize the day, and still write a garbage song.
  8. “Bad Seed”: Just which grunge band are you trying to be? Because you don’t sound like any of them, even Stone Temple Pilots, the one I never liked!
  9. ” Where the Wild Things Are”: I have HOW many songs left?
  10. “Prince Charming” : Oh joy, a song about death.
  11. “Low Man’s Lyric” : A violin, really? In a metal song? You think you’re so innovative, huh?
  12. “Attitude “: You’d think a song called “Attitude” would actually have some.
  13. ” Fixxer”: Paul Stenner said this has a killer riff in his review of the album. What version were you listening to? Because this does not have a killer riff!

Final Verdict: Do I even have to tell you?

Grade: F

Ranking the Discography: Metallica Part VI: Load (1996)

Load is one of Metallica’s most infamous albums. The band had changed both their look and sound, having cut their hair. Everything about the album was about Metallica selling out to remain relevant. Yet somehow, the album stayed at #1 on the Billboard Albums chart. Four singles were released. It is Metallica’s longest album.

My first problem is the cover. Bodily fluids are not art. My second problem is the album is too long. I don’t mind long albums when they’re interesting, but this wasn’t. There were a lot of songs I wanted to skip. Let’s get this over with.

Members:

James Hetfield: vocals, rhythm guitar

Kirk Hammett: lead guitar

Jason Newsted: bass

Lars Ulrich: drums

The Tracks:

  1. “Ain’t My Bitch”: This is a terrible opener. It sounds immature and stupid.
  2. ” 2 x 4″ : The first of many songs I wanted to skip.
  3. “The House That Jack Built”: Is this referring to Jack Daniels? Yeah, no.
  4. “Until It Sleeps”: Finally, a good song! Actually, the best on the album. It almost sounds like it belongs on a different album.
  5. ” King Nothing “: This is like a bad version of “Enter Sandman”.
  6. “Hero of the Day” : This feels like a parody, and a bad one.
  7. “Bleeding Me”: Is it possible? Another good song? This is pretty good.
  8. ” Cure”: Sigh, back to the garbage. I wanted to skip this one.
  9. “Poor Twisted Me”: The production is terrible.
  10. ” Wasting My Hate”: Oh this song is a waste, all right.
  11. “Mama Said”: This feels more like a country song than a rock song, and not even a metal song.
  12. ” Thorn Within”: This almost sounded good. Almost.
  13. “Ronnie”: The album could have stopped with the last song. This was another skippable song.
  14. “The Outlaw Torn”: This is a slog of a song. I breathed a sigh of relief when I finished it.

Final Verdict: I’m fine with a new direction. But everything about this album feels like Metallica feared they weren’t relevant and sold out. This was garbage from start to finish. The only reason I didn’t give it an F was it had two good songs.

Grade: D

Ranking the Discography: Metallica Part V: self-titled (aka “The Black Album”) (1991)

Metallica debuted at #1 in ten countries, including the United States. This was my first exposure to the band. It marked a change in both their look and sound, becoming slower and heavier. The album had 5 singles, and is their best-selling album, at 16 times Platinum in the United States.

Members:

James Hetfield: Vocals, rhythm guitar

Kirk Hammett: Lead guitar

Jason Newsted: Bass

Lars Ulrich: Drums

The Tracks:

  1. “Enter Sandman “: This song and its video depict nightmarish imagery. It has an excellent bassline and pounding rhythm. Appropriately, it’s the entrance music for infamous ECW wrestler The Sandman. It’s the perfect opening song, as it shows the change in the band’s sound right at the start.
  2. “Sad but True “: This song is about the dark nature we try our best to hide from others. I love this one’s complex lyrics and rhythm.
  3. ” Holier Than Thou “: Hetfield considers this one of the band’s sillier songs, but I like it. It mocks the arrogance seen in hypocritical Christianity.
  4. “The Unforgiven”: This song is the start of a trilogy of songs. Parts 2 and 3 are on Reload and Death Magnetic. The trilogy is about a man who has suffered through religious subjugation. It’s my favorite song on the album.
  5. “Wherever I May Roam”: This ballad is about being on tour. While it’s the song I like the least, I still like it.
  6. “Don’t Tread On Me” : This song mocks the nationalistic attitude of right-wing America. I have to wonder how many people get the wrong idea about it.
  7. “Through the Never”: This song is about mankind’s never-ending appetite for greed and power. It has great drumming.
  8. ” Nothing Else Matters”: This ballad is my second favorite song. It’s a much better song than their previous ballad, “Fade to Black” .
  9. “Of Wolf and Man” : Thus song is about our primal natures. I probably rank this one slightly above “Wherever” .
  10. “The God Who Failed”: This song attacks Christian Science, the cult that is infamous for its members’ refusal of medical treatment, especially for life-threatening diseases. Hetfield’s mother was a member of the cult, and died of cancer as a result.
  11. “My Friend of Misery” : This was supposed to be the instrumental track on the album, similar to “Orion” on Master of Puppets. The song has a self-pitying feel to it, and it’s not one I like much.
  12. “The Struggle Within” : This song’s is about depression. It’s the shortest song on the album, and it has a great bassline.

Final Verdict: To many Metallica fans, this is where the band starts to go downhill, as it’s their most commercial album. I don’t hate it at all. I actually think it’s one of Metallic’s strongest albums, and the change in direction helped them adapt to the 90’s change in attitude towards metal.

Grade: B

Ranking the Discography: Metallica Part IV: …And Justice For All (1988)

While on the Damage, Inc. tour in Sweden, Metallica used a tour bus with uncomfortable bunks. Cliff Burton picked Kirk Hammett’s bunk, and Hammett slept in the front of the bus. The bus skidded off the road, causing Burton to be thrown out of the car window as the bus flipped over on the grass. The window landed on Burton and killed him. He was replaced by Jason Newsted, who had previously played in Flotsam and Jetsam on their Doomsday For the Deceiver album. After releasing The 5.98 EP–Garage Days Re-revisited, the band began work on their next album.

…And Justice For All had three singles: “Harvester of Sorrow” , “Eye of the Beholder” , and “One”. It reached #6 on the album chart. The official release is notorious for having the bass turned down to an almost inaudible volume, however there are several unofficial remixes that enhance Newsted’s contributions.

Members:

James Hetfield: vocals, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, production

Kirk Hammett: lead guitar

Jason Newsted: bass

Lars Ulrich: drums, production

The Tracks:

  1. “Blackened”: This was the only song credited to Newsted. The drumming sounds great.
  2. ” …And Justice For All “: The title track has a great complex rhythm.
  3. ” Eye of the Beholder “: This song has excellent syncopation. I don’t care that Ulrich hates it.
  4. ” One”: This was the first Metallica song I ever heard. It’s inspired by the movie Johnny Got His Gun, in which a soldier loses all his limbs and becomes suicidal. Metallica eventually bought the rights to the movie so they could continue to use it in videos. It’s one of my favorite songs from the album.
  5. “The Shortest Straw”: This song has excellent drumming and the enhanced bass on the fan remix is great.
  6. ” Harvester of Sorrow “: This is a song about a man who murders his family. Hammett has a great riff.
  7. “The Frayed End of Sanity” : This is my second favorite song on tge album. I love the intensity of Hetfield’s vocals.
  8. “To Live is to Die “: This was the last song Burton wrote for the band. Newsted sounds excellent on the remix and it’s a shame the official ruins it.
  9. ” Dyers Eve”: This is a great closer.

Final Verdict: Whether you listen to the fan remixes or not, this is an excellent album, and a great introduction for Jason Newsted.

Grade: A-

Ranking the Discography: Master of Puppets (1986)

Master of Puppets was Metallica’s first album to feature material not credited to Dave Mustaine. The album reached 29 on the Billboard 200. It has been certified Platinum 6 times.

Members:

James Hetfield: vocals, rhythm guitar

Kirk Hammett: guitar

Cliff Burton: bass, backing vocals

Lars Ulrich: drums

Tracks:

  1. “Battery “: The title refers to the crime of assault and battery. It has a fast start to the album.
  2. “Master of Puppets”: This is the album’s only single. I love the start-stops during the chorus. The song refers to drug addiction.
  3. “(Welcome Home) Sanitarium”: This slow song has a chilling feel to it, and some of Hetfield’s best vocals.
  4. “The Thing That Should Not Be” : This song was inspired by the Cthulhu mythos. I like the rhythm of this one.
  5. “Disposable Heroes “: This isn’t a terrible song, but I don’t like the chorus.
  6. “Leper Messiah”: This song attacks televangelists. It’s my least favorite song on the album.
  7. ” Orion”: This is an excellent instrumental track with a great driving rhythm.
  8. “Damage, Inc.” : I don’t like this song much. I think it’s the weakest song.

Final Verdict: The band shows some great evolution, with only a few weak songs.

Grade: C-