Happy Anniversary: Metallica, Reload
Eighteen years ago today, Metallica released their seventh studio album, an endeavor which - at least as of this date - remains the last time they recorded a full-length effort with bassist Jason Newsted.
Reload arrived only a year after Metallica's previous album, 1996's Load, but if things had followed the band's original plan, it would've arrived at the same time, as their intent had been to release a double album. It was a nice idea, but it failed to turn out in the way they'd hoped, owing to the number of songs being recorded and the band's understandable desire to make each one as good as good as the last. As such, they issued half of the songs on Load and continued to work on the remainder of the material, hence the release of Reloaded in 1997.
Critics were somewhat mixed on the album, although those that loved it had a tendency to really, really love it, as evidenced by the review in Musician, which said that Reloaded “captures one of rock's greatest bands at its peak.” American record buyers certainly enjoyed it, not only taking it to the top of Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart, but also giving Metallica a trio of gold singles, with “The Memory Remains,” “The Unforgiven II,” and “Fuel” all entertaining the top 10 of Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart. The first single of the bunch was particularly notable, as it featured vocal contributions from Marianne Faithfull, which is a collaboration that precious few people probably would've expected.
Unfortunately, those who'd gotten comfortable with Metallica delivering an album's worth of originals a year were about to become very disappointed: it would be another six years before they'd return with St. Anger.