Metallica Historian Shares Hint About ‘Load’ Deluxe Box Set
Over the course of two Vinyl Club series, Metallica have released eight exclusive records to subscribers. Each record is pressed with music that has either never been released before or has never had an official physical release. Not only that, but the jackets come stuffed with a "surprise," ranging from posters and stickers to slipmats or other things. And every release features liner notes penned in the unmistakable voice of Lars Ulrich.
Well, almost every release features Ulrich's voice.
On the latest and likely final Vinyl Club release, Leftovers From the Black Album Box Set, Ulrich limits his words and gives the spotlight to Dan Nykolayko, a Metallica historian and archivist who fans may know as Spider-Dan.
...and for this edition's notes that nobody reads, I now turn it over to the one, the only, the man in the trenches who eats, sleeps and suffers through 'Tallica rarities, oddities and nonsense... Spider-Dan!
As So What! describes, Spider-Dan has "played a role in compiling the deluxe boxes since the band began putting together retrospectives on Kill 'Em All and Ride the Lightning." That key role revolves around the reality of choosing what tracks should be included in each album's deluxe box set, striving to put together "the completist's version of the record."
It makes sense, then, that Spider-Dan would be tapped to write the liner notes for a record of tracks that he compiled—but ultimately didn't include—for the "Black Album" box set.
"29 hours. TWENTY. NINE. HOURS. That's how much content is packed into the beast that is the box set for The Black Album," Spider-Dan writes in the opening of his liner notes. "29 hours. Let that sink in. That's over a day's worth of material... all culled from '90 thru '93. You might think that we were able to cram every last interesting bit from that era into the box, right? Ha! Of course not!"
He goes on to describe the four tracks on Leftovers: "A unique "strings & vocal" mix of "Nothing [Else Matters]," a killer instrumental rough mix of "[My Friend of] Misery," the only performance of "No Remorse" from the entire tour, and a smokin' version of "[The Shortest] Straw" from before the Guns tour."
But before he wrapped up his thoughts, he hinted at his next project: the much-anticipated Load and Reload box sets.
As he puts it, "Now that we've all (hopefully) maxed out on Black Album material, it's time to start looking forward. If you'll excuse me, I have 43 floor takes of "Jack" and "Ronnie" to listen to."
This seems to be the first band-sanctioned reference to the Load and Reload deluxe reissues that fans have heard since Metallica first announced they were working on them on Feb. 3, 2022.
"We're working our way through the catalog to bring you the comprehensive Deluxe Box Sets we've come to love," they wrote in an email to fans last year. "And now it’s time to get started on Load and ReLoad!"
Since then, though, Metallica focused on a year of touring the globe and, as we now know, putting the finishing touches on what will be their 12th studio album, 72 Seasons, which is set for release on April 14.
Metallica's third release in their latest Vinyl Club offerings—Live at Bridge School Benefit 1997—made us wonder if they were in the middle of poring through archived material from the Load and Reload era, but Spider-Dan's passing comment about Load's "The House Jack Built" and "Ronnie" confirms that even though Metallica are gearing up for a new album and two-year global tour, the next box set—or sets?—is still underway.
And if you want more proof than a few words in some liner notes, just check out this topic on Metallica's forum about wishlists for the Load and Reload reissues; Spider-Dan is very responsive to fans and remains active in the conversation.