Metallica recorded so much material for Load -- their first album in five years -- that they had to leave many songs unfinished, otherwise they would have missed their deadline. During the supporting tour for Load, they continued to work on the unfinished material, as well as write new songs, and they soon had enough material for a new album, Reload. The title suggests that Reload simply is a retread of its predecessor, and in many ways that's correct -- there's still too much bone-headed, heavy Southern rock for it to be anything other than the sequel to Load -- but there's enough left curves to make it a better record. Marianne Faithfull's backing vocals on "The Memory Remains" complement the weird, uneasy melody, and "Where the Wild Things Are" has an eerie menace that Metallica never achieved on Load. There are also a couple of ballads and country-rockers that don't work quite so well (it's never a good idea to have an explicit sequel, as on "The Unforgiven II"), and that, along with a few plodding Metallica-by-numbers, is what keeps Reload from being a full success. Still, the towering closer, "Fixxxer," along with handful of cuts that successfully push the outer edges of Metallica's sound, make the record worthwhile.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine