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Old 08-03-2012, 06:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Metallica - ...And Justice For All



Metallica - …And Justice For All (Elektra Records, 1988)



I have, up until recently, always considered Master of Puppets to be their pinnacle, however recent plays of …And Justice For All has reawakened my passion for this album and changed my opinion.

…And Justice For All is Metallica’s fourth studio album and was certainly their most difficult on a personal level, following the untimely death of Cliff Burton. With only the $5.98 EP as a warm up, it was down to new bassist Jason Newstead to step into the very large shoes left behind. Ultimately, it would be live performances that would give Jason the opportunity to make his mark on the band - surprisingly, for a thrash album with quite a heavy sound, it is somewhat renowned it's low bass - which was of great disappointment to him.

As with the previous two albums, there is an underlying theme – political and legal corruption. “Halls of justice painted green, money talking, power wolves beset your door, hear them stalking” – with the title track Hetfield and co.’s eyes were fixed firmly on the issue of money spinning the wheels of justice.

The album’s flagship single ‘One’ would prove to be Metallica’s first venture into the world of shooting videos for songs as well as having an impact on the singles charts with a very respectable number 13 in the UK. Along with 'Harvester of Sorrow' it became a virtual mainstay in their live sets.

The one main criticism of the album from the media and fans alike was that the songs were too long (the title track alone clocking in at over nine minutes), something that the band found problematic when touring the album. Having said that I personally don’t think that this detracts from the album, conversely I find it gives it more depth. Each track tells its own story, creates its own atmosphere and just wouldn’t have had the same impact if they were, say, four minutes long.

The album closes with two very different, but equally significant tracks. ‘To Live Is To Die' would be the last Metallica song to give Burton co-writing credits, with the ending lyrics “Cannot the Kingdom of Salvation take me home” etched on Burton’s memorial stone. On the back of this comes the seething anger of 'Dyer’s Eve', a vitriolic outburst against parental control and manipulation in which, seemingly, Hetfield can barely repress his own resentment.

It’s a very dark, broody album and one which I think represented a change in Metallica. Other than the slightly tongue in cheek intro to ‘Frayed Ends of Sanity’ the album shows the band maturing, albeit in their music and not their personal lives.
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Old 08-03-2012, 08:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Nice review! It doesn't tend to get much love from MB in general, but I'm a big fan of AJFA and consider it their second best after MoP. While I do agree with the criticism about the track lengths, I think the album contains some of their best songs ("Dyer's Eve", "Blackened", "One" and "Harvester of Sorrow" all come to mind).
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Old 08-03-2012, 09:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Its major problem to me isn't length but lack of diversity. To me if you're 3 minutes into any track on that album it can be hard to tell where you are. I don't know if its the lack of bass, but the songs on that album seem to lack a certain character that makes them stand out from one another. If I have to pick one sound to describe the album it would be whatever they did to the guitar:

flat, low, staticy, like you're hearing it on an AM station. It whats Metal would sound like if it applied the philosophy of a funk band to a metal album. In all its a really great album, I obviously love it being a big metallica fan, but it lacks a flavor that its predecessor and successor seemed to have.
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Old 08-03-2012, 11:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The Black Album for me... that's what introduced me to Metallica in the early 90s.
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Old 08-03-2012, 11:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Its major problem to me isn't length but lack of diversity. To me if you're 3 minutes into any track on that album it can be hard to tell where you are. I don't know if its the lack of bass, but the songs on that album seem to lack a certain character that makes them stand out from one another. If I have to pick one sound to describe the album it would be whatever they did to the guitar:

flat, low, staticy, like you're hearing it on an AM station. It whats Metal would sound like if it applied the philosophy of a funk band to a metal album. In all its a really great album, I obviously love it being a big metallica fan, but it lacks a flavor that its predecessor and successor seemed to have.
In their defense they had just lost one of the best metal bass players of all time. I prefer the first three to AJFA, but its an oustanding album in its own right. I love Dyer's Eve, that was the last song that Cliff Burton orchestrated with Hetfield before he passed on. Newsted is a great player in his own right, but its hard to follow up Burton. AJFA is classic Metallica, their last record I bought.
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Old 08-03-2012, 03:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Janszoon View Post
Nice review! It doesn't tend to get much love from MB in general, but I'm a big fan of AJFA and consider it their second best after MoP. While I do agree with the criticism about the track lengths, I think the album contains some of their best songs ("Dyer's Eve", "Blackened", "One" and "Harvester of Sorrow" all come to mind).
Thanks for your comments. As much as I like Master of Puppets, Justice left a much bigger impression on me and it was also my introduction to Metallica, which I guess explains my attachment to the album.
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Good review. I like Justice but the whole album feels too long. RTL is probably my favorite Metallica album.
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Old 08-04-2012, 08:26 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Good review. I like Justice but the whole album feels too long. RTL is probably my favorite Metallica album.
This pretty much sums up my view on the band and their early career as well. If it weren't for the inclusion of Dyer's Eve I'd call AJFA good rather than great.
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Old 08-04-2012, 11:53 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I like this album even if it's the album that gets the least bit of play in my collection. With albums like The Black Album and Ride The Lightning, and I will also include Death Magnetic, ...And Justice For All just falls to the end of the list. It wasn't exactly done on purpose, I just never found it to be a great album. It's good, just not THAT good.

I've got a weird opinion on Metallica, because i'm probably of the rare breed that found and still finds Death Magnetic pretty great.
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Old 08-04-2012, 12:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Death Magnetic is certainly their best work for a long time, however it's let down by awful production.
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