They transitioned from an indie label to a major without losing their integrity, moved on following the death of their beloved bassist Cliff Burton and succeeded on an unparalleled level after abandoning their thrash metal roots. But possibly the hardest transition Metallica ever made was writing Load, the follow-up to their blockbuster 1991 self-titled disc (aka The Black Album).
In a way, the band was in a no-win situation, and in a way they emerged victorious. Load, which came out on June 4, 1996 (five years after The Black Album), sold 680,000 copies its first week out and spent four weeks on the top of the Billboard album chart. The album sold more than 5 million copies in the U.S. Yet many Metallica fanatics still consider Load among their least favorite Metallica albums along with Re-Load, St. Anger and their collaboration with Lou Reed, Lulu.