Featured Article | BlabberMouth Online, May 3, 2020
ALL THAT REMAINS Singer Says ‘Almost Any Of The Songs’ On METALLICA’s ‘Load’ And ‘Reload’ Albums ‘Could Go On A NICKELBACK Record’
ALL THAT REMAINS frontman Phil Labonte says that most of the songs on METALLICA‘s “Load” and “Reload” albums are sonically very similar to any of the NICKELBACK albums.
Labonte compared the legendary heavy metal band to the much-maligned Canadian rockers during a recent appearance on “Breaking The Ice“, the new podcast hosted by former WAAF radio personalities at Josh Dolan, Isaiah Moskowitz and Mike Hsu.
The singer said (hear audio below): “I wanna point one thing out about NICKELBACK that I think a lot of people know but they don’t realize they know it. NICKELBACK records are METALLICA ‘Load’ and ‘Reload’ sonically. If you listen to NICKELBACK records and you listen to METALLICA ‘Load’ and ‘Reload’, almost any of the NICKELBACK songs could go on ‘Load’ or ‘Reload’, and almost any of the songs on ‘Load’ or ‘Reload’ could go on a NICKELBACK record. And just get James Hetfield to sing the stuff on a NICKELBACK record or vice versa, and you would not know the difference. And that is not a criticism — that is not a criticism.”
He continued: “I have put a lot of thought into this. Sonically, those records are very, very close. The tones that they select, the kick drums, the drum tones… And listerally, at the time at least, they were the pinnacle of audio quality when it comes to production; there’s not records that sound better than those that came out in the same era. And the songs are all phenomenally crafted songs. So me saying that is not me shitting on ‘Load’ and ‘Reload’ or NICKELBACK. I just think that they literally have so many similarities that most of the songs — maybe there’s a couple that wouldn’t work, but the vast majority of them would be interchangeable and you’d be okay with it if you had James Hetfield singing [the NICKELBACK material].”
Labonte added: “NICKELBACK could absolutely do ‘Fuel’ on any NICKELBACK record and people would be, like, ‘Fuck yeah!’ They would still be jamming along, bobbing their head, being like, ‘Yeah, I kind of dig this song. I like it.’ They’re good songs, and they’re very close. I’m telling you. I fully believe this.”
Released in 1996, “Load” marked a new direction for METALLICA, featuring what one critic has described as “a fresh take on LYNYRD SKYNYRD-tinged boogie rock for the 1990s.”
Although “Load” and 1997’s “Reload” were warmly received by critics at the time, they’ve since taken their place among the most reviled work of METALLICA‘s career.
In a 2013 interview with Revolver magazine, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich said that “Load” and “Reload” are “great records” that “are creatively on par with every other record we’ve made. Obviously, they’re bluesier records, and at that time, we were listening to a lot of LED ZEPPELIN, DEEP PURPLE and AC/DC, and we had a different kind of foundation than records before or after,” he said. “And I understand that there are people who couldn’t quite figure out what was going on with the haircuts and the rest of it, and that’s fine. But musically, if you strip all that other stuff away, if you just listen to the 27 songs — ‘Load’ and ‘Reload’ were intended as one double-record — it’s a great collection of songs that is on par with everything else that we’ve done creatively.”
METALLICA guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield has repeatedly expressed his dislike of the “Load” album cover and its inspiration, telling Classic Rock magazine in a 2009 interview: “Lars and Kirk [Hammett, guitar] were very into abstract art, pretending they were gay. I think they knew it bugged me. It was a statement around all that. I love art, but not for the sake of shocking others. I think the cover of ‘Load’ was just a piss-take around all that. I just went along with the make-up and all of this crazy, stupid shit that they felt they needed to do.”