Phil Anselmo On Metallica’s ‘Load’: ‘It’s A Terrible Record’

Phil Anselmo, the outspoken vocalist of Pantera and Down, had some harsh words for Metallica‘s 1996 album Load.

In 2021 interview with Metal Hammer, Anselmo was asked to name an album that shouldn’t exist.

His answer was swift and brutal: “Load by Metallica. I mean, it’s a terrible record, man. I just don’t get it. If you’re gonna put out a record like that, just do a f**king side project or something, ya know?”

When asked about the album he wanted to be his legacy, Phil Anselmo pointed to Pantera‘s commercially successful 1992 release, the double-platinum Vulgar Display of Power.

He said: “I’m going with my knee-jerk reaction here: the first record that pops in my head is Vulgar Display Of Power. I don’t think there’ll be any arguments there and I think people will understand that without any explanation at all!”

Anselmo‘s comments reflect a sentiment shared by some fans of Metallica‘s earlier, thrash metal sound. Load marked a stylistic shift for the band, incorporating bluesy influences and a more radio-friendly approach. This alienated some who preferred the raw aggression of albums like Master of Puppets and Ride the Lightning.

It’s worth noting that not everyone agrees with Anselmo. Load has its defenders, and Metallica themselves have acknowledged it as a creative experiment, albeit one with mixed results. James Hetfield, the band’s frontman, described Load and its companion album Reload as compromises that “didn’t pan out as well as I was hoping.”