I have been listening to newer Metallica recently, you know, post-Black Album. I've never given it a chance before, though now that I listen to the three proper albums they've released since '91. I can't give them an entirely horrible review. They've changed since my teenagehood, certainly. They're not metal anymore, it's more like blues rock with some obvious country influence. Your typical bar band sound is what they've being going for, I think, though they are obviously Metallica, you can't mistake the lead's voice. They're using more blues riffs and more typical timing in their tracks, and more consistantly, too. Some of Kirk Hammet's lead guitar (i'm talking about a couple solos and a lick here and there) is still beautiful but that seems to clash with the general sound of base rock that they've managed to create. They're still using punk/metal muting and rhythm a lot of the time, though, which confuses me and, I think, blunts the whiskey-and-oak imagery I feel when listening to Load.
By the way, I really dislike the newest album because it has a digital sound, like linkin park or something. The guitar and everything is much, much too clean and very obviously digitally altered. I have no problem with digital production of songs and tracks, but only when you are using it to enhance your existing sound (i am speaking here of bands who use live instruments,) not when you are creating a whole new sound using the digital technology. You begin to lose the feel of your finished product if you change it so much it sounds like flipping switches, rather than pulling strings. The human element got lost on their last album, is what I think I'm trying to say.
Load and Reload, while having silly names, are alright albums. I approve.