Metallica

Load

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Review

Delivered five years after their eponymous "black" album in 1991, Load captures Metallica settling into a period of maturation. Under the guidance of producer Bob Rock, Metallica have streamlined their sound, cutting away most of the twisting, unpredictable time signatures and the mind-numbingly fast riffs. What's left is polished heavy metal. They add in Southern boogie rock, country-rock, and power ballads to their bag of tricks, which make them sound like '70s arena rock holdovers. Metallica open up their sound by concentrating on midtempo boogie -- over half the album is dedicated to songs that just groove. Metallica sound tight, but with the material they've written, they should sound loose. This becomes apparent as the songs fill out the album's nearly 80-minute running time. It isn't surprising to hear Metallica get a little more conservative as they get older. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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