Andres Serrano, artist who is responsible for METALLICA‘s 1996 album Load and its companion release, 1997’s Reload, recently sat down with Metal Hammer where he was asked what was the reaction from METALLICA‘s fanbase and the band to the covers.
Load featured a photo called “S*men And Blood III”, which consisted of cow blood and artist Andres Serrano‘s own s*men between two plates of Plexiglas, while the cover of Reload was adorned with a similar Serrano photo titled “Piss And Blood XXVI”.
Serrano said: “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 [Ulrich] and Kirk [Hammett] were happy with it but James [Hetfield] was not. I think James is still fuming.”
Hetfield expressed his dislike for the “Load” cover in a 2009 interview with Classic Rock magazine. He said at the time: “The whole ‘We need to reinvent ourselves’ topic was up. Image isn’t an evil thing to me, but if the image isn’t you, it doesn’t make much sense.”
Hetfield said that he thought Ulrich and Hammett were “after a U2 kind of vibe, Bono doing his alter-ego. I couldn’t get into it. I would say at least half the pictures that were to be in the booklet, I yanked out. The cover went against what I was feeling. Lars and Kirk were very into abstract art, pretending they were gay. I think they knew it bugged me. I think the cover of Load was just a piss-take around all that. I just went along with all this crazy stupid sh*t.”