24 April 2010

Testament, Pantera Slam Metallica's Load Album

Members of Testament and Pantera have slammed Metallica's 1996 album Load in a new book about the thrash giants' frontman James Hetfield. In James Hetfield: The Wolf at Metallica's Door by Mark Eglinton, Chuck Billy of Testament and Rex Brown of Pantera and Down criticise an album which Hetfield himself recently admitted to having been uncomfortable with.

Load represented a departure from Metallica's earlier straight-ahead thrash construction and featured simplified, more bluesy stylings in its place. And while it propelled them to the stature of one of the world's biggest bands, many fans found the release a disappointment. Chuck Billy agrees. Metal Hammer have published an extract from Eglinton's book in which Billy says: "The whole band had got to contribute on the Load record. I decided that James had to sing his own lyrics. When you sing your own lyrics, you sing them with more conviction and belief.

"When I heard that record it sounded to me like it wasn’t him. It wasn’t the James that I knew. There was none of the clever lyrics and clever parts. It changed how I felt about their music.” Rex Brown observes that Metallica's movement away from thrash was good for Pantera: "All that make-up and shit? I really didn’t know what to think. I didn’t even care. It wasn’t the brand of shit we were doing, and we kind of took over that spot where they left off. “We only saw them spasmodically, but when we did, Lars would come in with f'kin John McEnroe! It was crazy. I don’t think James was hanging out with all these artsy dudes though. He’s not that kind of guy.”

Last year Hetfield himself told Classic Rock Magazine: "Lars and Kirk were into abstract art, pretending they were gay. I think they knew it bugged me. I think the cover of Load was just a piss-take. I just went along with the make-up and all the stupid, crazy shit they felt they needed to to.

"The whole 'We need to reinvent ourselves' topic was up. Image is not an evil thing, but if the image is not you then it doesn't make much sense. I yanked at least half of the pictures that were to be in the booklet. It all went against what I was feeling."

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