Metallica 'And Justice For All' Album Review Retrospective part 4- The Metal Voice
By Justin Stockton
As Metallica were still reeling from the death of Cliff Burton during the tour for “Master Of Puppets” in '86, they quickly went into action to find a new bass player to finish the tour. Their choice of Jason Newsted from Flotsam and Jetsam was not without extreme hazing including one big “prank” that revolves around their next record. They also recorded an EP full of covers in 1987 as well which is technically his first studio introduction with Metallica as well. Finally on August 25th 1988, Metallica released “...And Justice For All” which was obviously their first without Burton on bass duties. However, without Cliff, does this album suffer from lack of creativity or chemistry between the band? Well lets find out.
1.Blackened- Opening with some harmonizing distorted guitars, this song leads into a full on fledged thrash attack just like the three albums before it. However, the main thing almost everybody notices is that the bass is mixed so low that it is practically inaudible. I actually have never had a problem with the fact that the bass is so low (although having it higher would definitely improve the quality). I really like how tight everything feels weirdly because of it and this album has my favorite drum sound from Lars as well. Listening to this song you can see that Metallica have a lot more of a darker vibe especially in the lyrics for this album as well. This song has become a staple among fans and its not hard to see why.
2.And Justice For All- The title track which is around nine minutes in length which is crazy for a thrash number. There is actually a lot of progression in this song with a lot of starts and stops along the way. I really like the chorus as well its holds very true to the heavy yet catchy phrase Metallica at this point are known for. There is a lot of repeating within verse riffs but I don't see it as a problem because it all fits together so well.
3.Eye Of The Beholder- This song has a lot of that chuggy down picking that could easily get fans chanting to its pace as well. The lyrics are also a lot more serious as well with themes of corrupt politics, a favorites. It has a really catchy chorus as well which I think this album has quite a bit of. I really like the solo on this song and I think Kirks soloing to be specific is extremely precise on this album probably more than it was before and I think the production helps that as well.
4.One-Arguably another one of Metallica's most famous songs with that unmistakable gothic riff that plays through a majority of the verses and opens the song as well. I still get chills when I hear this song as I did years a go. It is really catchy and really builds til the end as all their other ballad songs had done before hand. Definitely a classic for a reason.
5.The Shortest Straw-One of Metallica's heaviest numbers with super aggressive riffs and some good hooks as well. James absolutely spits out the lyrics on this one and is a really good tune to have on after a long hard day. Definitely one of my all time favorites with some really tight time signatures as well especially right before the chorus.
6.Harvester Of Sorrow- The second most famous song on the album and has more of this almost Gothic tone in it that I get with a lot of the clean guitars on this album. It has a lot of that heavy down riffing all throughout it as well. Another heavy home runner here as well.
7.Frayed Ends Of Sanity- One of Metallica's least played songs live ever. I can see why because of how drawn out it is but I still really like it. It almost feels doomy in how dark and heavy the riffs are, it almost sounds like Iommi wrote them for Metallica. There are a lot of chanting moments in the song too and the chorus is really heavy and hits quite an epic note as well. Definitely an underrated gem on this album.
8.To Live Is To Die-The instrumental on the album and definitely one of the saddest songs the band has ever written, due to the reeling death of Burton. There is some spoken word in this song toward the end as well and it gives off a really dark vibe that I really like from this song and the acoustic guitars are really nice and give a whole other atmosphere to a pretty good instrumental.
9.Dyers Eve-The fastest and most brutal song on the album. This song is really Metallica at their angriest as well and James really spits venom here as well. I really ends the album on an angry note and also closes a chapter on Metallica's days of being a true to the fans thrash metal act. I honestly think that they wouldn't get to this level of intensity until St. Anger, However that is for another time...
Overall, I give this album a 9.7 out of 10. This is actually my favorite Metallica record they ever released because of the extremely on point song writing they really showed here and the darker themes they chose to explore as well. Up to this point this was easily their most serious and darkest album they had released and really catapulted them to bigger venues and becoming a headlining act. Next we are gonna look at what is easily their most commercial successful album ever, 1990's “Metallica”.
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