Art is Dumb: Revisiting Metallica’s Load & ReLoad (2022)

Nerd Shit, Opinion

By Joe Thrashnkill

May 27, 2015

26305

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(Video) Metallica - Load [Full Album] HQ

Art is Dumb: Revisiting Metallica’s Load & ReLoad (1)

Put on your fanciest monocle and fill your belly with your finest bag of wine; today we’re discussing art.

Some Kind of Monster, the most delightful documentary in the history of hatewatching, provided us with a heartwarming scene in which Metallica co-founder Lars Ulrich packs up his collection of absurdly valuable contemporary art and then proceeds to get ripshit drunk while making a very large fortune from auctioning the pieces.

What prompted the Danish Prophet to hand off a Jean-Michel Basquiat to some hedge fund-managing asshole (I’m assuming)? He got married, had a couple of kids, and needed to get rid of his bachelor junk. I would have sold off the Pac Man machine before cleaning house of the modern classics but I’m barely a hundredaire, so what the hell do I know? This auction was the culmination of a long obsession with modern art for Lars. Along the way, his tastes shaped the image of a band very much in transition from young thrash punks to one of the biggest bands in the world.

Profit I (1982) – Jean-Michel Basquiat – Sold by Lars Ulrich in 2002 for $5.5 million.

Boxer (1982) – Jean-Michel Basquiat – Sold by Lars Ulrich in 2008 for $13.5 million.

(Video) Back 4 Blood proves Valve carried Left 4 Dead

Somewhere after creating one of the best-selling albums of all time, Ulrich took an interest in the cutting-edge and transgressive contemporary art of the 80s and early 90s. Though the band spent the latter half of the 90s releasing music that can be considered significantly more radio friendly than any other period in the band’s long history, Lars and co-conspirator Kirk Hammett pushed the visual boundaries of Metallica by working with controversial artist Andres Serrano. The result? More than 10 million CD racks in American homes proudly display artwork featuring some dude’s jizz.

Art is Dumb: Revisiting Metallica’s Load & ReLoad (4)

Fluids.

Load introduced Metallica’s brand new logo atop a photograph of Blood and Sperm III, a mixture of bovine blood and semen pressed between plexiglas. ReLoad used Serrano’s Piss and Blood, another mixed media combination of cow’s blood and, uh, piss. Who was this strange artist and why was he so keen on working with substances that emerged via his pee hole?

Andres Serrano gained global infamy with his groundbreaking 1987 work Immersion (Piss Christ), a beautifully shot photograph of a small crucifix dunked in a tank of urine.

Piss Christ (1987) – Andres Serrano

This 60″ by 40″ image has scared the goddamned bejeezus out of the religious right for the entirety of my life. Exhibits of the piece are regularly protested and the art itself is occasionally vandalized. Over the years its existence has been the go-to argument for fundies to, uh, de-fund arts in America. Though almost 30 years old, Piss Christ still enrages scores of the pious and charlatans alike. If you want to give a young Libertarian a coronary, show them Piss Christ and let them know it was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Seriously, do it.

(Video) Metallica - The Unforgiven II (Official Music Video)

As much as Piss Christ enraged the mainstream, it fascinated a world of artists and musicians. Fear Factory named a song after the work on their Groundbreaking album Demanufacture. The crust junkies among you will recognize the title was taken on as the moniker of Pisschrïst, Australian d-beat band. Legendary industrial band Godflesh were so taken by Serrano’s work that they hired him to direct the video for “Crush My Soul” (eagle eyed viewers will note that the video features deceased masochistic performance artist Bob Flanagan, best known for his roles in mega-disturbing videos “Happiness In Slavery” by Nine Inch Nails and Danzig‘s “It’s Coming Down”). Kirk Hammett, longtime Godflesh fan, loved the video for “Crush My Soul” and suggested that Metallica work with the controversial artist.

Or, you can let noted art historian James Hetfield break it down for you:

“Lars and Kirk 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 crap that they felt they needed to do.”

The cover of Load is easily one of my favorite album covers of all time. Regardless of your opinion of the hard rock direction of the band, you cannot argue that the visual is deeply compelling. Knowing the origin of the materials is just icing on the cake (brb barfing).

It would be a disservice to conclude any discussion of Load-era art without mentioning the video for “Until It Sleeps”, the first music video released in the two-album cycle. Directed by Samuel Bayer, auteur behind pretty much every big modern rock video of the 90s (including “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Zombie”), “Until it Sleeps” perfectly encapsulates the art of the time. The visuals are rich and expressive; they feel expensive. Harkening back to years of massive budgets and world-famous directors, the video is undeniably 90s without any horrifically dated tropes like fisheye lens or grainy filters. It is incredibly unfortunate that some of the emotional heft of this video about Hetfield losing his mother to cancer is softened by Lars Ulrich’s baffling decision to use the climax of “Until It Sleeps” as an opportunity to show off his new nipple rings.

Best of all, “Until It Sleeps” is clearly an homage to The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, a massive triptych depicting the Garden of Eden, the Earth, and a siqq rad gnarly vision of Hell. Bayer recreates some of the surreal and horrifying images used by Bosch. Unfamiliar with Bosch? The 15th century Dutch painter and likely crazy person has influenced the artwork of countless metal records since the dawn of distortion. He has been called the first heavy metal artist. You won’t find any argument from me.

In May of 2002, Lars Ulrich walked in to Christie’s with Basquiat’s Prophet I and walked out with a few million dollars. A year later, he and Metallica LLC would release Ja Rule collaboration “We Did It Again” for the soundtrack to Biker Boyz and the universally derided St. Anger thus putting a cap on the hard rock era of the band and ushering in the era of terrible nü-Metallica. The years since have been artistically dull, aside from a fascinatingly strange and mostly unlistenable collaboration with Lou Reed. What can we expect next? As the band approaches their 35th year of existence, perhaps they should work with an artist that can really capture the essence of their latest sound. Based on the rough demo of “Lords of Summer” that Metallica demanded fans pay $1.29 to hear, I suggest the rotting corpse of Thomas Kinkade.

(Video) Metallica - Fuel (Official Music Video)

(Images via, via, via, via)

***Addendum***
While compiling this piece, I was tempted to define the “Big 4” of artists from this era of the late 80s/early 90s. You’re welcome.

Damien Hirst – Critics tend to judge his output the harshest. Also worth roughly ten bazillion fucking dollars. METALLICA

Andres Serrano – Undeniable talent. Political commentary. Loathed by a large swath of the population. MEGADETH

Matthew Barney – Deep commitment to a niche that seems foreboding or even comical to a wider audience. Also previously employed the talents of Dave Lombardo. SLAYER

Chris Ofili – Arbitrarily shoehorned onto a list of 3 more-famous artists. ANTHRAX

Jeff Koons – Awful. Not good. Very bad. Beloved by the rich and the stupid. Will.i.Am

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(Video) Metallica Mexico City, Mexico 1993 03 01 Full Concert HQ

FAQs

What is the liquid on the Load album? ›

The cover of Load is an original artwork titled "Semen and Blood III". It is one of three photographic studies that Andres Serrano created in 1990 by mingling bovine blood and his own semen between two sheets of Plexiglas.

What is the longest Metallica album? ›

At 78:59 minutes, Load is Metallica's longest studio album.

How much is the lead singer of Metallica worth? ›

According to Celebrity Net Worth, James Hetfield's net worth in 2022 is $300 million.

Why did Metallica change their logo? ›

and the least liked. In 1996, in relation to the Load album, Metallica had the idea of renewing their image, so they decided to change the style of their logo by creating something completely different from what they had shown the public in the past.

Is the Pissgrave album cover real? ›

Philadelphia's PISSGRAVE has a reputation for the overwhelming gruesomeness of its album covers depicting real images rather than ones that are drawn.

What are some Metallica songs? ›

Metallica

How many albums does Metallica have? ›

Metallica

What is Metallica's fastest song? ›

In terms of individual songs, 'Master of Puppets' is the fastest at 220 bpm and 'Nothing Else Matters' is the slowest at 46 bpm.

What is the longest metal song in the world? ›

The Longest Metal Songs
11.Fauna The Hunt (2007) The Hunt - 79:57
33.Vonn Victim One: Agony (2006) Victim One: Agony - 76:04
Victim One: Agony - 76:04
44.Fantômas Delìrivm Còrdia (2004) Surgical Sound Specimens From The Museum Of Skin - 74:17
Surgical Sound Specimens From The Museum Of Skin - 74:17
155 more rows

What's Metallica's shortest song? ›

Clocking in at a brief three minutes and 11 seconds, "Hardwired" is the shortest Metallica song (from a studio album) since fans got pummeled with Kill 'Em All's "Motorbreath" in 1983.

Who is the richest rock band of all time? ›

There are many music bands in the world, but only a few of them are really rich. So, who are the richest music bands in the world, According to a recent study richest music band in the world is The Beatles. The Beatles have a net worth of $2 billion. They are followed by U2, who have a net worth of $1.5 billion.

Who's the richest member of Metallica? ›

Lars Ulrich is the richest Metallica member. Lars Ulrich's net worth approximately $355 million by 2022.

Who is the richest band member of Metallica? ›

He has started his musical career with the band, although his tennis player father wanted him that to play tennis just like him. But Lars did not listen to him and played music in full of his father's support. As of 2022, Lars Ulrich is the richest Metallica member with more than $420 million net worth.

What is the Metallica symbol? ›

The Metallica logo we all know today is a bold black inscription in all capital letters with the elongated and spread to both sides vertical lines of “M” and “A”. Symbolizing flashlights and reflecting the character of the iconic band, their lines make the simple logo instantly recognizable across the world.

What font does Metallica use? ›

Pastor of Muppets

The Canadian Ray Larabie designed this font on the basis of the Metallica logo. It provides all upper-case letters, with the exception of umlauts, in the centre and outside left version.

What Metallica means? ›

The band name came from Ulrich's friend Ron Quintana, who was brainstorming names for a fanzine and was considering MetalMania or Metallica. After hearing the two names, Ulrich wanted Metallica for his band, so he suggested Quintana use MetalMania instead.

Is Metallica Death Magnetic good? ›

So while it's not perfect (“The Unforgiven III”), Death Magnetic was and is a really, really good album, and it did exactly what it was supposed to do.

When did Load come out? ›

What Metallica album is fuel on? ›

Is Pissgrave war metal? ›

Pissgrave's sound has been characterized primarily as death metal, with AllMusic's Thom Jurek describing the band as "one of the more outrageous acts to emerge from the barebones ethos of old-school death metal with a war metal production aesthetic." The band's sound has been compared to that of Deicide, Revenge and ...

What is considered the best Metallica song? ›

The 20 greatest Metallica songs – ranked
  • 7Whiplash (Kill 'Em All, 1983)
  • 6Nothing Else Matters (Metallica, 1991)
  • 5Battery (Master Of Puppets, 1986)
  • 4For Whom The Bell Tolls (Ride The Lightning, 1984)
  • 3One (… ...
  • 2Master Of Puppets (Master Of Puppets, 1986)
  • 1Creeping Death (Ride The Lightning, 1984)
7 May 2021

What is Megadeth's most popular song? ›

Megadeth

What is James Hetfield's favorite Metallica song? ›

And during one of his old interviews, James Hetfield revealed his one, as well. A few years ago, James Hetfield was asked which Metallica song made him proud the most. And while he was answering, the talented musician named his favorite song 'The Unforgiven II' from the band's 1997 album Reload.

What band has sold the most albums? ›

Perhaps unsurprisingly, British rock band The Beatles are top of the list for best-selling artists worldwide, with 183 million units certified sales.

Is Megadeth death metal? ›

Megadeth is an American thrash metal band formed in Los Angeles in 1983 by vocalist/guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson.
...
Megadeth
OriginLos Angeles, California, U.S.
GenresThrash metal speed metal heavy metal
Years active1983–2002 2004–present
9 more rows

What is the fastest song on earth? ›

"Thousand" was listed in Guinness World Records for having the fastest tempo in beats-per-minute (BPM) of any released single, peaking at approximately 1,015 BPM.

What is the most difficult Metallica song to play? ›

Chapters
  • 3 - Creeping Death. 0:50.
  • 4 - Master Of Puppets. 1:14.
  • 5 - Fight Fire With Fire. 1:35.
  • 6 - Dyer's Eve. 1:56.
  • 7 - Disposable Heroes. 2:32.
  • 8 - The Frayed Ends Of Sanity. 3:00.
  • 9 - Damage Inc. 3:21.
  • 10 - Spit Out The Bone. 3:52.
24 Apr 2021

How fast is battery Metallica? ›

Battery is played at 192 Beats Per Minute (Presto), or 48 Measures/Bars Per Minute. Time Signature: 4/4. Use our Online Metronome to practice at a tempo of 192BPM.

What is the longest recorded rock song? ›

Thick as a Brick” is the longest popular rock song ever recorded. It is so long that it's actually the only track on the album, with each part taking up an entire side!

What is the longest metal song on Spotify? ›

"You Suffer" is a song by English grindcore band Napalm Death from the band's debut studio album, Scum (1987). The song is precisely 1.316 seconds long.

What are the longest songs on Spotify? ›

The longest single song on Spotify is yeule's “The Things They Did For Me Out of Love.” Running a grand total of 4 hours and 44 minutes, the ambient track was released as the final track on her February 2022 album Glitch Princess.

How many times has Metallica played shortest straw? ›

"The Shortest Straw" was first played live on May 11, 1990, in London England. As of March 2019, it has been played live only 98 times.

Can 7 songs be an EP? ›

An EP is one to three songs, with one song at least 10 minutes long, and a total running time of 30 minutes or less. Or, four to six songs with a total duration of 30 minutes or less.

What is the album cover for is this it? ›

Packaging. The international cover art of Is This It is by Colin Lane and features a photograph of a woman's rear and hip, with a leather-gloved hand suggestively resting on it. The model was Lane's then-girlfriend, who explained that the photoshoot was spontaneous and happened after she came out of the shower naked.

What does EP and LP mean? ›

Back in the 20th Century, the term EP stands for Extended Play Record. It referred to a type of vinyl record that was played at a different speed than the standard play records (SPs and LPs). The difference between EP and LP is that an LP is 'Long Playing' and generally has more than 8 tracks.

Are Kpop albums cheaper in Korea? ›

K-Pop albums aren't always the cheapest thing to buy in the world, especially for international fans who usually have to pay for shipping as well. K-Pop albums are usually cheaper in Korea because there are no shipping fees, but there's a store that takes this to the next level.

What does POB mean Kpop? ›

POB is an abbreviation of Pre-Order Benefit and POB is usually physical things such as a photocard, poster, postcard etc. you get when pre-ordering an album. POB are exclusive and different from the normal inclusions that come with the album. The term POB is most used for Pre-order benefit photocards.

What does PC mean in Kpop? ›

But for fans, official K-pop photocards – or “pocas” or “PCs” – are special, as they're exclusive photos of their idols that haven't been released on other platforms. A collection of BTS and SEVENTEEN photocards.

Can a single have 2 songs? ›

Despite being referred to as a single, in the era of music downloads, singles can include up to as many as three tracks.

Can an EP go platinum? ›

In the United States, the Recording Industry Association of America, the organization that declares releases "gold" or "platinum" based on numbers of sales, defines an EP as containing three to five songs or under 30 minutes.

What is a 9 song project called? ›

An EP is a short studio album usually around 2 to 9 songs long. It can also refer to any other type of extended-length recording that isn't necessarily meant as a standalone project.

Are covers of songs legal? ›

Cover Song Licensing

Once a musical work has been published, anyone can record a cover version of the song by obtaining a mechanical license. A song is published when copies or recordings are distributed to the public for sale or rent. A live performance is not publication.

What is the purpose of an album cover? ›

Besides the practicalities of identifying specific records, album covers serve the purpose of advertising the musical contents on the LP, through the use of graphic design, photography, and/or illustration. An album cover normally has the artist's name, sometimes in logo form; and the album title.

Can you put a cover song on an album? ›

If you want to record and release your own cover version of someone else's song, then you'll need a “mechanical license” for your cover song. A mechanical license is the right to make copies of the song's musical structure such as the lyrics and notes, which is called the musical composition.

Can an album have 8 songs? ›

Generally, 8 songs or more is considered a good number for an album. Projects that have less than 8 songs are usually considered EP's. So, having 8 songs as the total number of songs on your album is perfectly fine.

What is EP slang? ›

Summary of Key Points. "Extended Play" is the most common definition for EP on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. EP. Definition: Extended Play.

What LP stands for? ›

LP stands for 'Long Play. ' These are longer than EP's, originally needing two vinyl per release until the 33 1/3rpm 12-inch record was released.

Videos

1. Metallica: The Unforgiven (Official Music Video)
(Metallica)
2. Metallica: Until It Sleeps (Official Music Video)
(Metallica)
3. Best Of Metallica - Metallica Greatest Hits full Album
(Music Box PH)
4. Metallica Discography, Best Worst Albums, Why this review and Metallica suck (REVIEW)
(FK Arts)
5. Metallica - The Day That Never Comes (Official Music Video)
(Warner Records Vault)
6. The History of Metallica in 30 Minutes: A Chronological Medley By Betto Cardoso
(Bebetto TheNinjaDrummer)

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