Labonte: Nickelback + Metallica's 'Load' + Reload' Are Same Thing

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'That is not a criticism,' said Labonte.
All That Remains singer Phil Labonte has offered what will surely be viewed as a controversial opinion as he compared Metallica's mid-'90s albums Load and Reload to any of Nickelback's music, saying they're practically the same thing while also praising both bands and albums.

Metallica transitioned away from their thrash leanings in the '90s, starting with 1991's Black Album and strayed even further from their roots on the following pair of records, 1996's Load and 1997's Reload. This era had a profound effect on the hard rock developments that arose by the end of the decade and into the new millennium, and one of the bands they influenced was undoubtedly Nickelback — just listen to their cover of "Sad But True."

"I want to point one thing out about Nickelback that I think a lot of people know but they don't realize they know it. Nickelback records are Metallica Load and Reload sonically," Labonte began on the Breaking the Ice podcast (audio below).

Supporting the idea, the singer posited, "If you listen to Nickelback records and you listen to Metallica Load and Reload, almost any of the Nickelback songs could go on Load or Reload, and almost any of the songs on Load or Reload could go on a Nickelback record. And just get James Hetfield to sing the stuff on a Nickelback record or vice versa, and you would not know the difference."

Understanding how these words may be perceived by Metallica's faithful, Labonte urged, "And that is not a criticism — that is not a criticism."

"I have put a lot of thought into this," stressed the All That Remains frontman, making note that he was not just speaking haphazardly and off-the-cuff. He went on to praise both Load and Reload, outlining their sterling production qualities that he sees as "the pinnacle of audio quality" in regards to production at the time.

"There's not records that sound better than those that came out in the same era. And the songs are all phenomenally crafted songs. So me saying that is not me shitting on Load and Reload or Nickelback," Labonte explained, adding that perhaps not absolutely every song off those two albums would function as a Nickelback track and vice versa, "but the vast majority of them would be interchangeable and you'd be okay with it if you had James Hetfield singing [Nickelback songs]."

The singer suggested that if Metallica's "Fuel" was an original track on a Nickelback album, that Nickelback fans would be into it. "I'm telling you. I fully believe this," concluded Labonte.

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