When Nickelback first released their debut album Curb in 1996, the group were still riding high off the grunge boom that had encapsulated most of the early ’90s. Only a few weeks after the Canadian rockers released their debut, thrash icons Metallica returned with their first album in five years, Load.
Though Load and it’s 1997 follow-up, Reload, topped the charts and sold well, they attracted some criticism from fans due to a perceived shift in sound. Falling more into the hard rock sound rather than traditional heavy metal, the records somewhat divided fans, though the band’s popularity did not wane.
As Blabbermouth has pointed out though, All That Remains vocalist Phil Labonte appears to have noted a parallel between Metallica’s mid-’90s records and Nickelback’s sound, claiming that any of the latter’s tracks could easily fit on Load or Reload.
Speaking to the Breaking The Ice podcast, Labonte made it clear he wasn’t criticising Metallica, but noted that their mid-’90s material has ‘sonic’ similarities to that of Nickelback.
“I wanna point one thing out about Nickelback that I think a lot of people know but they don’t realise they know it. Nickelback records are Metallica Load and Reload sonically,” he began.
“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. And that is not a criticism — that is not a criticism.”
Labonte was quick to defend Metallica’s albums though, noting they’re exceptional albums full of “phenomenally crafted songs”.
“So me saying that is not me shitting on Load or Reload or Nickelback,” he continued. “I just think that they literally have so many similarities that most of the songs — maybe there’s a couple that wouldn’t work, but the vast majority of them would be interchangeable and you’d be okay with it if you had James Hetfield singing.”