Did Metallica Steal Album Title '...And Justice For All'?

An old theory that Metallica were somewhat inspired by a similar album by Agnostic Front has been all but confirmed by their frontman Roger Miret. What do you think of this old legend?

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Most metal fans remember the 1988 Metallica record "...And Justice For All" as their most progressive and complex release, but those with a hardcore punk leaning might remember how suspiciously close the title was to a prior release by Agnostic Front.

Agnostic Front had released their album "Liberty And Justice For..." in 1987, but the following Metallica album prompted cries from fans that they had stolen the concept.

Now Agnostic Front frontman Roger Miret has revealed his side of the story, explaining how guitarist Kirk Hammet came across their record which potentially inspired "...And Justice For All" (via Blabbermouth):

"You wanna know the truth about that? We were in L.A. playing Fenders Ballroom and Kirk Hammett came to the show... we're just hanging out backstage. And I'm like, 'Yeah, we're just out here promoting our new record.' He goes, 'What's your new record?' And Stig [Agnostic Front guitarist Vinnie Stigma] gave him the record. It was called 'Liberty And Justice For...'.

"Six months later, [Metallica's] record comes out and it's called '...And Justice For All'. We had it before them... But it's no big deal."

But Roger has no thorn in is side over the issue, and has nothing but praise for Metallica.

"Metallica is one of those bands I really always liked lyrically. They talked about a lot of sociopolitical stuff - a lot of good stuff. And they were just stating what we were stating to larger masses. And it's cool with me - absolutely cool with me."

Watch Roger tell the story in this clip:

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Do you think Metallica stole from Agnostic Front, or is it just a regular case of being inspired by those you admire? Let us know in the comments.

134 comments sorted by best / new / date

    So what.
    Exactly, not to mention that I actually think what Metallica chose was better than Agnostic Front's name.
    Indeed. If nothing else, you can see it as a homage to Agnostic Front. I mean, Kirk was obviously a fan of the band, so I think it's more a nod to them than stealing the concept.
    Why should anyone care?! Things like this happen a lot in music. There was no intelectual property stolen, no one cares
    I believe UG assumes that people on here care because of all the reads, rants, and reviews other articles on Metallica receive. Plus, nothing gets the Metallica (and other "metal-ish" band) fans blood churning like calling them thieves or saying anything else that isn't positive.
    Metallica is the Apple of metal. They have *openly admitted* to stealing musical ideas from other bands, but God Almighty forbid anyone stealing music from them, lest they want to get sued for everything their family would get to own over the next 20 generations. Having said that, I *do* enjoy some of their stuff, but definitely not one of my favorite bands.
    The AF dude responded in exactly the right way. He should feel proud for being an inspiration for one of the best metal albums of all time.
    its the pledge of allegiance dammit...this is like slayer complaining that metallica copied them because they use the e note with tremolo picking for 4 bars in the beginning of all nightmare long
    Theres probably hundreds of albums with similar names, who cares??
    Not that the guy cares or the band cares, but names and titles are not subject to copyrightable laws, and cannot actually be obtained for copyright, via Circular 34.0112. Same for short phrases.
    It's the ****ing Pledge of Allegiance! That's like saying one guy quotes the Star Spangled Banner in a song, and him saying that no one else can do it!
    Sounds like they want free publicity
    Because a news reporter asked them about the issue and the guy answered his question, that means they want free publicity? Agnostic Front has been around for over three decades. If they really wanted publicity over this, why didn't they do it when "...And Justice for All" was released and they were in their prime?
    UG, there's no beef. Roger says they're totally cool with it. By giving the article this title and that signoff question, you're poking sticks into a fire that isn't burning. We all know Metallica was huge fans of hardcore punk. It's called inspiration. Are you gonna run an article next called "Ride the Lighning to the Nations - Did Metallica steal from Diamond Head?"
    I thought they were gonna complain about the 1979 Pacino movie by the article title...
    if they got it from someplace else was Al Pacino's movie, its like 10 years older than the album and some parts of the movie actually relate a lot to the songs lyrics
    Did Agnostic front steal the title from the pledge of allegiance?
    It actually sounds like little pun, sorta continuing Agnostic Front's album title.
    I'm sure neither band took it from the American pledge of allegiance. One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
    Ugh. The real question is what happened to all those f***s that I was supposed to give?
    The flaw in his logic is there is no way Hetfield and Ulrich would have left it to Hammett to come up with an album name. Anyone familiar with the band history could have told this guy that isn't how they work, especially in those years.
    The article never said that Kirk came up with the album name.
    Miret pins it on Hammett: "You wanna know the truth about that? We were in L.A. playing Fenders Ballroom and Kirk Hammett came to the show..." Like I said, the flaw in his logic is they wouldn't have even consulted him on naming the album.
    Diony x
    It's mot even that similar. Same thing as someone would be complaining that we created Best OF _____ first!
    Yes, they stole their album title from a 1979 Al Pacino movie. So what, people must get their ideas from somewhere. We're all copycats. That's how humanity advances. If patent laws had existed at the time of the invention of the wheel, we'd still live in caves.
    With a few people with wheels laughing at the wheel-less mongrels in the caves as they try to make a wheel that doesn't go by the patents. Ultimately they would fail at that, as you can't make a wheel that isn't round. Then the wheel less ones would have to submit themselves in order to get access to wheels from their wheely counterparts. Thus giving humanity one more reason to enslave others.
    We should replace liberty with Metallica in the Pledge of Allegiance "With Metallica and Justice for All"
    Next article: Did Lars steal tone from 2 year old banging on pots and pans for St. Anger Album?
    It's not like album titles are so hard to come up with that you have to steal them. You could use a randomly generated word and it won't affect the album's success much.
    If you were to buy an album from a band you didn't know, which of these 4 would you choose: Suck, And the Sky Went Black, Elephant Shoe, or Plastic Lunch pail. I myself am least likely to buy Plastic Lunch Pail, and am probably going to go with And the Sky Went Black, even though it is not a really original name. It hints at interesting subject material, especially when compared to Plastic Lunch Pail. And Elephant Shoe doesn't indicate a good album, unless it is a psychedelic album, or of a similar genre. Point being that names matter.
    That kind of scenario is completely unrealistic. I wouldn't buy an album without having an idea of the music it contains, and it's safe to assume I'm far from being the only one. Point fails.
    Every album title ever has been stolen from the dictionary. The descendants of Dr. Johnson have slammed this blatant plagiarism.
    Doesnt sound like they stole anything, sounds more like they were inspired to finish their title.
    That's almost like Jon Stainbrook copyrighting the word "Stain," and suing Living Colour for their album "The Stain." And winning. Except this dude didn't care, he was totally cool with it. Props to him!
    ... Yeah, they got it from the movie, "...and justice for all", with Al Pacino; a film about corruption and implicit injustice in the American legal system... It's not a riddle... - And why should anyone care... Iron Maiden's last four albums have had titles directly from films... Brave New World; Dance of Death; A matter of life and death; and the final fronteer
    If the presence of suspension points in the album title makes it a plagiarism, then Megadeth better get ready to spend some damn good money with lawsuits.
    Its just a stupid name, If the steal riffs its something else but its just stupid name ...
    like someone else said, if it were the other way around, Metallica would hit the ****ing roof. One rule for them, another for everyone else.
    What would give you that impression? Just because they sued Napster 9 years ago, when they first heard about it, (which they've later rescinded), doesn't mean they have ever denied someone the ability to make their own stuff, even if it bears a similarity to their stuff.
    And Justice is arguably the best thrash album, its definately best thrash album from Metallica. Who the **** is Agnostic Front..
    Grow up. It isn't the best thrash album, there is a lot more out there. Yes it is a good one, no it is not the best. If you moved outside of the standard big four crap you'd realise how much influence Agnostic Front has.
    Maybe he just likes Metallica, who are you to say his taste isn't mature and he needs to "grow up"? You're the one upset about it on the internet.
    Solitude Aeturnus released a demo "And Justice For All..." before Metallica, which is a much more obvious similarity.