Hardwired to Self-Destruct brought Metallica the #1-seller slot in America this week, but it certainly is not unfamiliar territory. Twenty years ago Metallica dropped their sixth studio album, Load, almost five years after the phenomenon of their “Black Album“, and the pent up anticipation for a follow-up resulted in a staggering almost 700,000 copies sold in the first week! Metallica Load did not budge from the top seller position for a full four consecutive weeks. A little more than a year later, they repeated the feat when Reload topped Billboard sales on November 30th 1997.
“He nicknamed me ‘Dr. No’ “, chuckles Metallica lead singer/ songwriter James Hetfield regarding their early recording collaboration with producer Bob Rock.” Every suggestion he made I’d say ‘no’. Over time we learned to think about his suggestions…”.”And then say ‘No’ , ” interjects Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett with a deadpan jab.
Almost a decade of struggle to capture their heavy metal fury in the studio had eluded them.The tragic death of original bass player Cliff Burton and being rock’s maladjusted poster child had made Metallica insular, and for good reason. Of course, selling an unbelievable 16 million U.S. copies of their first attempt working with hard rock veteran Bob Rock, 1991’s phenomenal “Black Album”, raised even the notoriously obstinate band’s confidence level to Def Com 4 for the follow up, Load in 1996. Hear all about it here in a refreshingly honest interview with Hetfield and Hammett while you jam “Ain’t My Bitch”, “Until It Sleeps”,”King Nothing”,”Hero of the Day“, and “Bleeding Me” at lease-breaking levels. –Redbeard