Picks and Pans Review: Re-Load

updated 12/08/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/08/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST


In the early 1990s, Metallica led the charge as heavy-metal acts playing the hard, rage-fueled rock loved by boys in high school shop classes everywhere squared off against grunge groups playing the hard, angst-ridden rock favored by disaffected college kids. Now, having vanquished all competition, rock's premier metalists fill their seventh studio album with music that will appeal to those thinking headbangers who once flocked to Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Singer-guitarist-lyricist James Hetfield expands metal's reach, allowing melody to buttress songs built with powerful, wedge and pulley simplicity. In Hetfield's hands an ode to hot rods becomes a junkie's requiem ("Fuel"), and favorite metal themes—death ("Prince Charming") and Satan ("Devil's Dance")—are turned inside out. (Elektra)

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