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James Hetfield Blames Kirk and Lars for ‘Load’ and ‘Reload’

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Metallica‘s James Hetfield has never held back his true feelings, going as far as to rip guitarist Kirk Hammett for “losing” his riff samples at an airport prior to the recording of last year’s Hardwired… to Self-Destruct. He wears his emotions on his sleeve, so it’s all about asking him the right questions in an interview in order to strike gold. Here, Hetfield remembers Load and Reload, two garbage albums that he says were the victim of “compromise”.

“It is interesting, because we have created our own mainstream, is what I believe,” he tells Clash Music. “We’ve been extremely honest with ourselves, including the compromising part. There always has to be some kind of compromise – especially when you’ve got four guys in a band. You’ve got two guys that are really driving the thing – Lars [Ulrich] and myself – and when we don’t agree, there has to be a compromise. But, as far as doing something that doesn’t feel right, I’m sure there’s been a few times that it’s happened – the Load and Reload era, for me, was one of those; the way that was looking, I wasn’t 100% on with it, but I would say that that was a compromise.

He continued: “I said, ‘I’m going with Lars’ and Kirk’s vision on this. You guys are extremely passionate about this, so I’ll jump on board, because if the four of us are into it, it’s going to be better.’ So I did my best with it, and it didn’t pan out as good as I was hoping, but, again, there’s no regrets, because at the time it felt like the right thing to do. So, even thinking that I need to compromise a little bit for the integrity of the band to go forward, I’d do that.”

It’s easy to point fingers, but Hetfield proved something fierce with Metallica’s album Hardwired, which Hammett carries not a single writing credit on. It is, in this writer’s opinion, the best since the self-titled release in 1991.



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