Metallica - And Justice For All
Elektra Entertainment Group Inc.
Heavy Metal
9 songs (65.27)
Release year: 1988
Metallica, Elektra
Reviewed by Shane

Opinions regarding And Justice for All are wide varied among metalheads. With this album, Metallica crept closer to commercial success. The light-weight production, which buries the bass almost completely in the mix giving the album a cold, tinny, thin sound, combined with the unexpected commercial success of One, had many die hard metalheads crying sell-out with this album. Little did they know what would eventually become of these former metal-masters, as they would eventually come to define the word sell-out however, I digress. Make no mistake, despite the production flaws (which are best overcome by always playing this album as loud as you can. Trust me, it helps) the songs and song writing on this album are top notch and classic Metallica, especially when you consider the bullshit that Metallica would deliver to their fans with each release after the black album but I digress again. I’m supposed to be reviewing And Justice for All, not raving about the current state of Metallica, which can best be described as a sick joke and a slap in the face to any and all fans that once supported this bloated, balding, greedy group of has been jerk-offs.

The album opens with Blackened, which features a blazing opening riff and doom and gloom lyrics which describe the end of the world in bone chilling fashion. I might add that this song kicks ass live and is probably the song that is most negatively effected by the bassless mix (The mix must have made Jason Newsted feel like a valued, contributing member of the band). The title track follows Blackened and lives up to Blackened’s doom and gloom theme as Hetfield describes how corrupt justice in society has become. I wonder if Hetfield knew how corrupt he would eventually become? “Halls of Justice painted green, money talking” indeed. I’m sure Mr. Hetfield’s house has been painted green for the last few years as well but I digress yet again. And Justice for All is an ambitious nine minutes and forty-four seconds but effectively manages to avoid being dull thanks to a great main riff, excellent drums and great guitar work (Remember when Kirk actually played solos?). Eye of the Beholder is next and I must say that out of all of the songs on this album, this one captures my imagination the least. I’m not sure why exactly because it is an excellent track as well. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that if Metallica could write a song like this now I would rejoice.

One is the next track and in my opinion, a true metal classic. On this track Metallica plays with the passion and ferocity that made them the true metal gods that they once were. On this cut, Metallica manages to effectively convey the sense of horror, suffering and anguish that having no limbs, and no senses would wreak on a persons psyche. The pleasant, almost relaxing melody in the beginning of the song eventually gives way to some serious thrashing, as the end of the song is truly powerful. Great riffs, great machine-gun double bass pounding. In my opinion, this is Metallica at their best. Kirk Hammett also rips one of his better solos here (remember when that used to mean something?).

Shortest Straw is next and it effectively chronicles what it must have been like to be a victim of a witch-hunt. This song fits in well with the gloomy theme and cold feeling of this album. Harvester of Sorrow is a classic Metallica track with an awesome groove. It’s tough to say something good about Lars these days but his drums are outstanding on this song, as is the crunchy riff. Hetfield sounds genuinely pissed off as he screams out one of Metallica’s angriest songs. Imagine, Metallica spewing genuine anger….Wow this album IS old…. Anyway, The Frayed Ends of Sanity is next and once again Metallica is able to sound convincing and pissed as James Hetfield describes some one who has lost their mind (Perhaps Lars?). The chorus is surprisingly catchy without James trying to do too much with his voice. Back then he knew his limitations.

To Live is to Die is an instrumental and is the only song on this album to feature the any contribution from the late Cliff Burton, so to say anything negative about this track is sacrilegious and bad karma. This is also one of the rare songs in which James Hetfield contributes a solo. Funny how now it’s rare when Metallica even does a solo. Actually it’s not funny, it’s sad. The only problem with this track is that it should have closed the album. That way Dyers Eve might not be so often forgotten about when discussing great Metallica songs. This song rivals Damage Inc. for intensity and anger. Great riffs, vocals and drums. Hetfield is even more pissed here than he was on Harvester of Sorrow. In my opinion this is probably the most underrated Metallica song of all time.

Is this album on par with masterpieces such as Master of Puppets and Ride the Lightning? Well, if the production was better I believe it would be because each and every song on this album is worthy of the name Metallica. Maybe that last statement means nothing now that Metallica has sold-out, alienated their fans and are the bad joke of the metal world. But back in 1988, when Metallica was THE SHIT and stood for anger, aggression, rebellion and all that was metal, it means that And Justice for All truly is a classic metal album.

Killing Songs :
A case could be made for all but my favs are Blackened, One, Harvester of Sorrow, The Frayed Ends of Sanity, Dyers Eve
Shane quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Metallica that we have reviewed:
Metallica - Hardwired... To Self-Destruct reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Metallica - Ride the Lightning reviewed by Adam and quoted CLASSIC
Metallica - Reload reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 62 / 100
Metallica - The Videos 1989-2004 DVD reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Metallica - Some Kind Of Monster DVD reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
To see all 15 reviews click here
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