James Hetfield Was Not Happy About Metallica’s ‘Load’ Cover, The Designer Says

During a recent interview with Metal Hammer, artist Andres Serrano, who created Metallica’s ‘Load’ album cover, revealed that James Hetfield was unhappy with it, unlike Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett.

Metallica released their sixth and seventh studio albums, ‘Load’ and ‘Reload,’ respectively in 1996 and 1997. Both albums occupy an interesting place in the band’s history since they marked a radical shift in their direction regarding the heaviness of the albums compared to the previous ones. Besides the artistic change in their music, the band also adopted a new fresh look by cutting their hair.

The band hired the artist Andres Serrano to create the covers for both albums. The two album covers feature some pretty surreal visuals. The visual for ‘Load’ featured an image titled ‘Blood And Semen III,’ which featured cow’s blood mixed with semen, while the visual for ‘Reload,’ titled ‘Piss and Blood XXVI,’ included urine and blood. Serrano was approached by Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett, who were big fans of his art, to create the covers.

During a new interview, the artist said he was pretty honored when they asked him to create a picture for ‘Load.’ Then, Serrano was asked about the fans and the band’s reaction to the covers. The artist replied by revealing that James Hetfield was not content with the final work, although Ulrich and Hammett liked it. He thinks that Hetfield is probably still angry about it. The whole process developed out of Hetfield’s control, which might have annoyed him.

When asked about the reaction from the fanbase and the band to the covers, the artist replied:

“I think the images were a hit. I read a review once where the ‘Load’ album was named No.1 on a list of best album covers. We know Lars and Kirk were happy with it, but James was not. I think James is still fuming!”

It is publicly known that internal conflicts have been a driving force in Metallica’s success. Their longevity and success have been sustained mainly by the desire for control. Thus, these kinds of conflicts are no stranger to the band since they have faced them numerous times throughout their career.