Load (album)

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Load is the sixth studio album by the American heavy metal band Metallica. It was released on June 4, 1996 through Elektra Records. It spent four consecutive weeks at #1 on Billboard 200. The album has sold over 5 million copies in America, and is certified 5x platinum by the RIAA.[1] The album garnered a significant backlash from a portion of the band's fan base because of a perceived shift in tone from the group's previous efforts (Load features a bluesier sound than the band's previous outings). According to drummer Lars Ulrich: "This album and what we're doing with it – that, to me, is what Metallica are all about: exploring different things. The minute you stop exploring, then just sit down and fucking die."[2]


Musical style

Released approximately five years after the commercially successful Metallica, Load saw the band embrace a collective sound and identity closer to traditional heavy metal and different from their thrash metal roots. As on previous releases, the fourteen songs that would eventually make up the album began as rough demos created by principal songwriters James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich in Ulrich's basement recording studio, "The Dungeon." The band took over 30 demos into The Plant Studios in the spring of 1995 where they would work for approximately the next year. Once again, Metallica teamed up with producer Bob Rock, who had been at the helm during the recording process for Metallica.

The songwriting dispenses almost entirely with the thrash metal style that characterized the band's sound in the 1980s. In place of staccato riffs, Hetfield and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett experimented with more blues-based tones and styles. Additionally, Ulrich adopted a minimalist approach to his drum recording, abandoning the speed and complex double bass patterns of previous albums, and using simpler techniques and playing styles.

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