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BOB ROCK Says METALLICA's Load & Reload Were A Reaction To Metal's Changing Culture

And let's face it – they're good albums.

Load Reload

Load and Reload were a pretty major departure for Metallica. Released in 1996 and 1997 respectively, the two albums saw Metallica drastically shifting toward a bluesier and grungier sound, as well as famously cutting their hair for a whole new image. Metallica in 1996 was hardly the Metallica of the previous decade, though that hardly seemed to matter – both Load and Reload sold extremely well, divisive as they may be among fans.

Load and Reload, as well as the Black Album, Garage Inc., and St. Anger, were produced by Bob Rock. In an interview with Metal Hammer, Rock said he believes the duo were a direct result of Metallica watching the culture of metal change. "I just think they just saw that culture was changing," said Rock. "And the rules of metal are very confining. The drum sound has to be a certain way, you can't do harmonies. I mean, that's just no fun."

"One of the most admirable things about the band is they really don't think in terms of people's reactions. They just do what they feel is right for them. They don't take into account what people think. When they go in a direction and they make a commitment to doing something, they just do it. And they don't hold back."

Load and Reload would also be Metallica's final records (of original music) with bassist Jason Newsted, who left the band in 2001. Rock would go on to play bass on St. Anger in 2003, with now-current bassist Robert Trujillo joining the band in 2003.

Metallica began seeking fan input for Load and Reload reissues earlier this year, though as of this article being published, nothing has been announced just yet. It'll be interesting to see if Metallica includes the full nearly-11 minute version of "The Outlaw Torn," which was trimmed down to fit the CD limitations of 1996.

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