on June 10, 2003
After an extended layoff period and a classic `covers' ep, Metallica returned with a vengeance on AND JUSTICE FOR ALL. All the anger and sadness they held in on the death of bassist Cliff Burton was unleashed on the record buying public. The album is full of seething vocals and complex chord and tempo changes, with melody at its centre. Lars Ulrich (drummer) and Kirk Hammet (lead guitar) have never played better. Unfortunately for new boy bassist Jason Newsted, the house producer Fleming Rasmussen buries his contributions way into the mix, so it sometimes sounds like he's absent. However, this complaint aside, if you wish to hear some truly angry heavy metal way before `Rage Against The Machine' raised its collective voice in protest, check out the true rage and beauty of this release.
BLACKENED - Starting, as the two previous Metallica albums on a deceptively soft note, this anti -war track suddenly roars to life with a snarl at it's heart, courtesy of James Hetfield. Jason Newsted's bass sounds like a buzz saw as Hetfield's spits out horror filled images: "Fire! To begin whipping dance of the dead". The abrupt change of pace in the track's middle only goes to prove what an impressive drummer Lars Ulrich can be. Kirk Hammet's lead solo incredibly shows an improvement since the `Master of Puppets' album. An intelligent update of the `Ride the Lightning' leadoff track, `Fight Fire With Fire'.
AND JUSTICE FOR ALL - Another soft build-up into a shout of protest. This time the target's the buying off of justice and the corruption of the system. The chorus is a total damnation of the unfairness of it all. Lars pounds every part of his kit in a display of virtuosity that only some metal drummers can manage. This track may be around 9 minutes in length, but I guarantee you'll be transfixed for that amount of time. "Hammer of justice crushes you, overpower . . ." Indeed.
EYE OF THE BEHOLDER - A strident track decrying the erosion of freedom and rights.Again, the chorus grabs you by the throat and won't let go." Freedom . . . with their exception!" The beat on the track is very militaristic.
ONE - The first Metallica song with an accompanying video. This has got to be my favourite Metallica song of all time. The tale of a soldier who has stepped on a land mine and now is an armless, legless, and blind vegetable. You can almost hear the desperation, the pain and the fury of being hooked up to a life support machine in Hetfield's vocal performance. The track goes from heavy ballad to out- and-out thrash with a deft flick of the wrist. Kirk's searing lead break and Ulrich's machine gun drumming compliment the tune perfectly.
SHORTEST STRAW - Powerhouse, fast paced monster about paranoia, ostracism, being the victim of witchhunts and blacklisting, and mental pressure. The one thing that's a certainty on Metallica albums, are catchy choruses and `Justice . . .' has plenty of those.
HARVESTER OF SORROW - A lumbering evil tune about child abuse and how a victim can repeat what has happened to them on the next generation. The rhythm section sounds like an `Imperial Walker' crushing all under foot. I especially like the `answer vocal' on the chorus.
FRAYED EDGE OF SANITY - Beginning with a musical in-joke (the band plays `The Guards' March' from `The Wizard Of Oz') then revving up for a tale of paranoia sliding into mental illness. This is pure head banging material with a literate edge.
TO LIVE IS TO DIE - A fitting epitaph to supreme bassist Cliff Burton (the lyrics are his), the band puts all they have into this mournful, melodic cruncher of an instrumental that ranks up there with `Pulling Teeth', `Orion' and `The Call Of Ktutlu'. May he always be sadly missed.
DYER'S EVE - A thrash masterpiece to end the album. This is a scream of rage towards parents who dictate and censor without supplying love or encouragement. Hetfield's voice spews venom and the track's instrumentation is stabbing, relentless. One final roared, "Go!" and the album is finished; leaving you emotionally spent. What a musical ride.
on November 2, 2005
Epic. This is the line of demarcation... The toe in the dirt scrawling out the line bewteen fans of the old-school thrash Metallica and their more pop-conscious fans of the new. It's also my favorite Metallica CD, I find it to be their most consistently BADASS. Epic riffs, sprawling density; the songs are allowed to take up as much time and aural texture as is needed ("...And Justice For All" and "To Live Is To Die," both clock in at just under 10 minutes).
This one: Exceptionally well-paced, a tad thinly recorded, brutal sonic delivery. Killer legendary tracks. Thematically unified, this would be Metallica's most socially-driven release as most, if not all, of the tracks seem to deal (in some way) with ostracism, petty-tribal-hates, the plight of those passed-over, those forgotten, those stepped on or kicked out of the way... James's vitriol is unleashed in full! No sleepers, no skippers.
Something I don't see noted in here much: the drums! Lars really pounds the living soul out of himself on this one. There's more variety and interesting bass-drum fill work on this one than previous (and following) releases. It almost sounds like a different drummer at times. Early Metallica skin-work always comes off as a tad marginal... That's probably because I don't know anything about drums beyond digging double-bass-kicks. This one brings them aplenty.
...From the melodic building electric drone of the first track "Blackened," (which infectiously sets the tone for the what is to come), to the take-no-prisoners thrash mayhem of "Dyers Eve," a blistering and acerbic closer.
Some high points: The parts in "Eye Of The Beholder" When James starts howling "Independence, Liberty! FREEEEEDOM!" he comes off like a metal Braveheart, Plus it has one of all-time fave screechy "wong-wong--wong-WONG-WAAAAAHHH!!!!! blast-off" solos.
The chorus of "...And Justice..." is just killer. "Justice is rrraped, justice is DONE!" Recalling, "Master of Puppets" with its "pulling your strings, justice is done," line... Loss of Power/Control being an oft-recurrent major theme in the Metallica corpus.
I'm not gonna gush on and on about how slick the transistions are in "One," from the softer melodic poignance to all out thrash-insanity, seeing as how everybody knows the tune in question. But it does never seem to get old, at least to these ears.
The instrumental "To Live is to Die," is better than prior instrumental tracks (yes, there I said it- someone had to); the snakey blues-metal solo is sick, and then there's the dynamic shifting in the song...
Love the "Oh-EEE-OH," chorus opening off "Frayed Ends of Sanity," that could've sounded kitschy and dumb but the guys pull it off making it the only time anyone has referenced "The Wizard of Oz," in an ominous manner.
Nitpicking: As many other reviewers have noted- You can't hear the bass. As in: at all. It's just not there. These tunes are bassless accusations, mwah-hah-hah... Given how awful James, Lars and Kirk treated Jason for something like the first 4 years he was with them; maybe this is but one more sign of that... Still, as I think Jason is an interesting metal bassman (a rare breed) I wish there were more low-end theory on this classic... Maybe when it gets the remaster in however many years, they'll crank up the BOOM... Which remindeth me, O my brothers- completely off the topic at hand: AVOID AT ALL COSTS THE NEW MEGADETH REMASTERS; the vocals are unbelievably bad. I know, I listened. I suffered so that you don't have to: we all know Mustaine was never an able crooner to begin with (not that his chosen mode of expression demands that) but... wow. They're just plain awful, the new vox. You want to tell yourslef, "Hey it ain't that bad, but that tiny part of your soul that knows spit from spinola just keeps nudging you saying, "Dude... Umm... Dude... Just turn it off."
Back to Metallica: This one catches some flak from most fans I think, despite the fact that those who dig on this one dig the holy hell out of it.
Oh... This is perhaps the best weight-lifting CD ever. The tracks ably segue into each other so well... Great for maintaining consistent anger and power output for multiple sets of squats and deadlifts.
on April 9, 2006
This album always produces very differing opinions amongst Metallica fans. Some say it was their best work, some say it signalled the band entering a downward spiral and heading into the mainstream. Some fans turned against the band altogether after they released 'the video they said they would never make' for the song 'One'. Lots of question marks hang over the quality of production on this record. The guitars sound very over-processed, Lars' bass drums convey more of a click sound than the thump we are used to hearing. However, the main source of discussion is the distinct absence of Jason Newsted's bass. Those who know Metallica will know that Newsted was a new addition to the band for this record; previous bassist Cliff Burton died shortly after the recording of 'Master Of Puppets'. But if you were to listen to '...And Justice For All', you wouldn't have thought that Metallica had even found a replacement as the bass is buried so deep beneath the guitars that it is almost unrecogniseable. Some of the songs contain such complex tempo changes and disjointed rhythms that the band found it particularly hard to replicate any of them on stage. The tracks are much longer than ever before, two of them are over 9 minutes long and only two are less than 6 minutes long. However, all this aside...I still believe this to be Metallica's greatest album to date.
The album opens with 'Blackened', and an atmospheric opening which was actually recorded backwards. After the build-up, James Hetfield displays the song's main riff before Lars Ulrich comes in with a lightning-fast drumbeat. Kirk Hammett's solo in this one is also guaranteed to impress. The title track then follows. This epic is almost ten minutes long and the lyrics are the key focus here; James Hetfield lets his feelings be expressed regarding America's judicial system. 'One' is the highlight of the album and a music video was released for it in the following year. It starts with a clean guitar intro, which builds up throughout the song and eventually transforms into an onslaught of thrash metal for the last couple of minutes. The concept is haunting in this track. Hetfield sings about a solider who is bombed in the war and loses all of his senses but can still feel the pain as he is kept on a life support machine. Ulrich's machine gun drumming is absolutely stunning, Hetfield's vocals are overwhelmingly passionate and Kirk Hammett's atmospheric guitar solo is voted the 7th best of all time. In comparison, the following three tracks can become slightly boring...but all the passion of the album is regained in the instrumental track 'To Live Is To Die'. This song was written as a tribute to former bassist Cliff Burton; a poem that he wrote is spoken by Hetfield towards the end of the song. The middle section is probably one of the most emotional things I have ever heard...Hetfield's guitar solo is extremely heartfelt. Then the atmospheric melody kicks in which builds and builds until the song returns to its original riff and the poem is spoken. Perhaps this represents the band's journey from complete agony and despair, to picking themselves back up and surging on just as Cliff would have wanted them to. If Cliff could have heard this, he would have been proud...it is very reminiscent of the track 'Orion' from Master Of Puppets. The last track, 'Dyers Eve' is the fastest song on the album and contains some of the best lyrics ever written by frontman Hetfield as he tells the painful story of his childhood, and cries out for his parents' guidance: "I'm in hell without you, cannot cope without you two...shocked at the world that I see, innocent victim please rescue me..."
I had the chance to listen to this album all the way through for the first time in a while recently, and it inspired me to write a review about it. It is, in my opinion, the greatest collection of songs ever released, and if you haven't heard it then you must buy it and give it a listen because nothing, absolute nothing beats it. This album is why Metallica are the greatest band of all time.
on October 11, 2006
THE BAND: James Hetfield (lead vocals, guitar), Kirk Hammett (guitars), Lars Ulrich (drums & percussion), and new member Jason Newsted (bass) formerly of Flotsam And Jetsam (replacing Cliff Burton, R.I.P.).
THE DISC: (1988) 9 tracks clocking in at approximately 65 minutes. Included with the disc is a 10-page booklet containing song titles/credits, song lyrics, band pictures, one 'gavel' drawing containing band member faces, and thank you's. This is Metallica's 4th studio album. All songs written by Hetfield, Hammett, Ulrich and/or Newsted. Recorded at One On One Studios, Los Angeles, CA. This would be Flemming Rasmussen's last album produced with the band (Bob Rock would follow). The Japanese (import) version contains a bonus track - a Diamond Head cover, "The Prince". Label - Elektra.
COMMENTS: "...And Justice For All" was the last classic Metallica album of the 80's. It was also their final attempt at thrash metal (once the 90's rolled around and producer Bob Rock entered the picture, the band took a more "mainstream" metal approach). The majority of songs are long with complex riffs... borderline progressive. Let me first say that for years, this disc sat on my shelf. I thought it was over-produced; I didn't like Ulrich's snare drum (sounded cheap and tinny) or his double bass (sounded shallow and metallic - partly due to a coin taped to the drum skin where the foot pedal hit); Newsted's bass was nonexistent (the standard explanation for this combines Newsted's absence from the mixing sessions where he could have voiced his opinion, and the lingering issue of his "newness" within the band following the death of Burton); there were three songs that I just could not get into ("Eye Of The Beholder", "The Shortest Straw" and lightning fast "Dyers Eve"); and the articles I read about the 3 original band members hazing and not accepting newcomer Newsted was infuriating... call if fun, call it pranks, call it cruel - Newsted simply did not deserve this kind of treatment. Newsted (or anyone else who took the job) had two choices - put up with the crap or leave. From the outside looking in, Burton's loss was tragic, but the way Hetfield/Ulrich/Hammett handled the situation afterwards seemed uncalled for. As far as "...And Justice For All" is concerned though, it's taken a decade to grow on me and finally realize there are some brilliant songs here. In my opinion, "One" is one of Metallica's finest songs in their entire catalog. "One" has an awesome slow beginning, tells a great story of an injured soldier, and ends in fine metal thrash form (not to mention one of the more memorable MTV videos)... all in all featuring great guitar work (intro, rhythm and solos). "Blackened" is an underrated gem of an opener. "To Live Is To Die" is the other masterpiece (almost 10 minutes long) - riffs and spoken words written by Cliff Burton (his last written testament) - this song has great riffs and 7 minutes of jamming before any vocals... reminiscent of something taken right off "Master Of Puppets". The title track also resembles something from "Puppets". "...And Justice For All" chart success - hitting #6 on Billboard's "Top 200 Albums" from 1988, as well as the song "One" hitting #35 on Billboard's Hot 100. There's good and bad here... this album is still considered a classic and essential. If not only for the songs "One", "Blackened" and "To Live Is To Die" (4 stars).
on February 14, 2001
..And Justice For All, in my opinion, is Metallica's best album. Though horrbily produced, this album is one of the fews cd's on the market in which EVERY track is enjoyable. I listen to this album everyday and i am still not sick of it. My only complaint with this album is i can't hear any bass. The Drums also sound like Lars is playing over the telephone...
1. Blackened: GREAT song! very fast throughout the entire song...amazing riffs...awesome Lyrics similar to "Fight Fire With Fire" (Ride the Lighting). Great intro as well.
2. ...And Justice For All: Amazing song. Although VERY long, i still listen to the song entirely. The intro is awesome and the lyrics discuss the Amercian court system and its many cracks. A bit repetitive, but still Execellent
3. Eye of the Beholder: Good song. The riffs are arranged very well and the drums are great. This is the song i listen to the least, but i still like it.
4. One: How the hell can a Metallica fan not love this song? in a word or two: UNBEILEVELY GREAT! The most famous song on the album. Starts out slow but ends in machine gun- like guitar riffs.
5. The Shortest Straw: VERY good song. Fast the entiire way. Awesome riffs and the solo is great. If produced better, this song would proabably be the best sounding track Metallica has ever recorded.
6. Harvester of Sorrow: Great Song. Best intro of the cd. Lyrcisc are great and the guitars are amazing
7. The Frayed Ends of Sanity: Probably the best title for a song I've heard. GREAT SONG. Amazing riffs. The Best solo Kirk has ever done. Great ending.
8. To Live Is To Die: OK. This song alone proves how GREAT Metallica is. This is my all-time favortie Metallica song. a 10 minute tribute to former bassist Cliff Burton (R.I.P) who died in a buss accident. I listen to this song EVERYDAY. Its amazing beyond description. The band's sorrow is felt every second. My only complaint with this songs is that they never play it live.
9. Dyers Eve: Great closing track. Heavy the entire time. Great lyrcis and guitar riffs are lighting quick..
Overall: I can't say it enough: THIS IS THE BEST METALLICA ALBUM EVER! I you are a fan of Master of Puppets and earlier, you will love this album. Fans of new work like Load and Re-load will be in for a suprise...but this is a amazing album...That's all that matters.
on August 5, 2003
This is without a doubt (in my opinion) not only the best Metallica album in existence, but It is the best metal album in existence.
BLACKENED- Like previous first Metallica tracks, it slowly builds into absolute mayhem as James screams anti-war lyrics. Lars stays busy, and really shines on this song. This is my favorite Metallica song of all time.
AND JUSTICE FOR ALL- This is by far one of the most sophisticated, intricate, and complex metal songs ever. Clocking in at over nine minutes, this song takes you on the ride of your life, and when its finally over, you are left, shocked at what you just heard. You cannot count the changes in pace/tone on one hand in this song. This is definately a song that Kirk shines on.
EYE OF THE BEHOLDER- Another awesome song with some great lyrics. "You can do it your own way, as long as its done just how i say."
ONE- The first Metallica song with a video made for it. Also one of their best songs of all time. Goes from semi-ballad like to all out headbanging thrash metal. In the last few minutes you cannot help but headbang.
SHORTEST STRAW- Great overall song with some awesome riffs and drum kicks. The chorus fits perfectly into the tone/atmosphere that the song creates.
HARVESTER OF SORROW- Slower, more violent song about how people who are abused as children sometimes bring that abuse to the generation following theres. One of my favorite songs on the album.
FRAYED ENDS OF SANITY- Great headbanging song, you will headbang, just because the rhythm of the song begs you to. Great all around song with awesome riffs and great vocals.
TO LIVE IS TO DIE- This song is an ode to Metallica's late bassist Cliff Burton. Though its an instrumental, its incredibly heavy and works into a heavy ballad style song.
DYERS EVE- This song and BLACKENED are the fastest songs on the album. Lars shows what he's made of in this song, and you can't help but give him props for being able to play drums as fast as he does on this song. The song is about parents to dictate to their children, and do not offer encouragement.
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THIS ALBUM, BUY IT!!!!!!!!!!!
on October 17, 2014
Independent of how epic and awesome this album is, I'm really disappointed in the quality of the physical release. Every side of both records is unlistenable because they came from the factory scuffed and scratched, and the surface is very dirty. I'll be returning it for an exchange.
on November 26, 2004
this is the last great metallica cd afterwards producer bob rock wanted to make thier next album black more radio friendly and thus began metallicas sellout for dollars campaign this cd is still the standard for heavy metal in my opinion songs like eye of the beholder and harvester of sorrow simply rock and i dont see how they say the production values wernt good maybe as a guitarist i have a diffrent view of good but to me its the best sounding distortion on any metallica album very heavy yet smooth kirk hammet was using mesa boogies with ada preamps back then these days he trys doing every old song with 1 marshall amp and though it sounds similar its really muddy and lacks projection the guitar solos the lyrics everything about this cd is a masterpiece and makes you sad to realize how great metallica once was stained korn any of todays metal bands dont come close to the complexity and creativity of metallicas old stuff buy this cd today====update apon lookin at my review i noticed how lame i sound saying very heavy yet smooth please forgive my dorkness
on April 8, 2000
Anger. Rage. Antisocial. Anti-just about everything this album is. Whoever calls Led Zeppelin the greatest metal band of all time is simply brain dead. Zeppelin was NOT a metal band, and when they would get into a progressive groove, they sounded dull and arrogant. Zep was great, but at least Metallica never got sued for ripping off other people's riffs (does Whole Lotta Love ring a bell?) And Justice for All got a little too prog at times, but is never boring, and when you break down the song structures, how they forced all the parts to fit perfectly is just a tiny demonstration of their supreme talent and skill level. In comparision with Puppets, both share the energy level and attitude. Justice however, has more focus in it's content of expressing rage. Hetfield's guitar tone is simply the be all and end all of metal guitar sound. Lars Ulruch's drumming is masterful, and propelled other great metal drumming styles like the great Vinnie Paul. Hammett's lead work while a bit short of his best, is still amazing considering his time frame (hey, you try to put tracks down on an album like this in 8 days, 16 hours a day). For true heartfelt anger with a real sense on real everyday life, there is no album heavier than this, you all know the songs so I wont bother to get into them in detail. One, Blackened, and Dyers Eve are obvious classics, but the title track, and The Frayed Ends of Sanity are golden as well. Actually, all the songs are great, BUT THE PRODUCTION, AAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHH! . It's relly not Newstead's fault the bass can't be heard. The duo of Hetfield and Ulrich (like Waters/Gilmour or Lennon/McArtney)tightly controlled this disc, and Newstead sufferes because of that by being forced to mimic James's rythym parts and drowned out by the guitars and drums. In closing, if you ever got screwed in a court case, fed up with politics, seriously distrust the government, have an issue with anger management, or just love superhumanly intelligent thrash metal,trust me, get this album. Would I lie to all you good people? I think not.
on April 19, 2000
I have been listening to Metallica for many years now. I actually started with their "Black" album and worked my way forward before working my way back to their older titles like "and Justice for All" and "Master Of Puppets". Now I own every metallica release and I have never heard an album as clean cut for such heavy hard music. James' vocals are clear and totally understandable unlike alot of other metal bands with extremely loud mucic, which seems to drown out the vocals. So here you get an even mix of the music and voice and can actually understand the song lyrics. Despite the length of each of the songs, they all have a unique speed and rythym change somewhere in the song and almost seems like a new song within the song. I love every song on this title but am most impressed by "Blackened" and "Harvester Of Sorrow". "Blackened" just for its unbelievable speed without becoming a sloppy sounding song, and "Harvester Of Sorrow" for just plain HEAVY! Guitar solo's by Kirk are fantastic and I don't think Lars' drums have ever been so full of bass on the kick drum and so loud and clean and full of snap on the snare drum. I get pumped every time I listen to this album and will sometimes go for days just listening to this CD over and over, never tiring of it. If I didn't already own this one, I'd definitely be buying it now!