Metallica's Hetfield: ''...And Justice for All' Is Our Showing-Off Album'

Meanwhile, Kirk Hammett talks his fears about the upcoming Antarctica concert.

Ultimate Guitar

Marking the 25th release anniversary of "...And Justice for All," Metallica frontman James Hetfield remembered the album, branding it the band's more flashy and show-off release. After agreeing that "Justice" is a very special album in Metallica opus, Hetfield told Artist Direct: "It wasn't the first time with Jason Newsted, but it was the first real studio record he showed up and kind of was heard on the album [laughs]. That's another whole therapy session right there! Touring that thing, I think of it as our fancy, showing-off album, 'We're crazy progressive musicians. We really know how to play here!' [laughs] Making that work into this is a challenge, and I love that part of it." During a separate radio chat with 107.7 the Bone, guitarist Kirk Hammett discussed the group's upcoming Antarctica concert, revealing both fear and excitement about the whole project. "It's pretty wacky," he said (via Blabbermouth). "It's crazy, because I don't deal with cold very well, so I have my reservations. But it should be pretty cool, because we've played the North Pole before - we've played Tuktoyaktuk [in 1995] - so we have to play the South Pole." Back to Hetfield's interview, the singer/guitarist also discussed the Lady Justice statue the band was using back on "Justice" tour and its modern incarnation in "Through the Never," calling it "Doris on steroids." "She went from about twenty-five feet up to fifty-something feet," James said. "She's doubled in size and is as ominous as ever. When she falls, she falls wherever she wants to fall. The head ended up knocking Lars's drums over at one show in Mexico City during some of the trial runs. It ended up in the crowd. People were very cordial and gave her back. You've got a giant head that's the size of a car coming at you into the crowd. It's the most dangerous stage in rock 'n' roll." So what are your thoughts of "...And Justice for All" a quarter of a century later? Let us know in the comments.

66 comments sorted by best / new / date

    julianholguin · Nov 08, 2013 06:47 AM
    I think it's their best album. Except for the missing bass part obviously. How about a rerecording/mixing?
    Agree. If it was remixed to sound more like Puppets or Black Album, it would by far be their best.
    Not re-recording PLEASE. Re-mixing would be great. Anyway, it is still my favorite album just as it is
    This. I've always said about AJFA that it's like a greek statue: looks perfect from a distance, but when you get closer you start to notice the cracks. In this album, the cracks are the lack of low-end.
    Great album. But as a bassist I find it hard to listen to.
    I have to agree. I love AJFA, but there's just no low end, which isn't a problem for home listening, but through headphones? There's no depth to it and it's just a blaring mid-range.
    Justice is simply the best album they've made. They were at their best in 1988-89 (vide Seattle 89).
    Honestly that could be called the greatest live show ever, or maybe the best live video ever put out. At least in my book. Never seen anything that expressive or intense. The audience totally and completely into it. And of the biggest bands ever playing at their absolute peak. The live Master of Puppets from that show is what got me into Metallica from the beginning.
    Many people argue that the dry, sterile production actually suits the aesthetic of the album. Even Newsted said recently in response to "...and Jason for All" and "...and Justice for Jason" with his tracks remixed, that the way the album came out was the way it was meant to be. Still, I'd kill to hear the album given the same treatment as the Black album.
    IMO the AJFA tracks with bass guitar turned up that can be found on Youtube sound worse than the original tracks. They just seem to lack the balls. Maybe it's because the bass is turned up too loud. Or maybe it's just because if the bass was more audible, they would need to change all sounds - the guitar and drum sounds just don't fit the loud bass sound (or actually the loud bass sound doesn't fit the guitar and drum sounds). It should be totally remixed or just left alone (and I think the latter option is better). Also music isn't about hearing the bass guitar. Nobody only listens to bass guitar - that doesn't make a song. It's the big picture people listen to. Bass is a part of it but so is every other instrument. If it sounds better with quieter bass, then bass should be quieter.
    Bass gives more depth. It's not about bass taking over, it's about listening to a fine musician's work, such as Jason.
    Yes, but have you heard this?Metallica - Blackened w/ enhanced ORIGINAL bass
    IMO the bass is way too loud in the mix. The song is not about bass guitar. The bass guitar is there to support the song just like guitars are - and actually here it is just to support the guitar riff which is the main part. Bass isn't the main part of the song so it shouldn't be the loudest instrument. I agree that the bass should be a bit louder so that you could hear it a bit clearer (it is almost inaudible on the original record) but not this loud. And I say this as a bassist.
    "But it should be pretty cool ." Nice one Kirk.
    " was the first real studio record he showed up and kind of was heard on the album..." You might want to rephrase that, James...
    you realize they recorded a Garage Days EP a year prior to the album right? That's what he's probably meaning.
    I think he means that his playing style was heard on that album more, as opposed to Cliff's
    Playing for penguins Would be great if they did a remastered Version but then we would have to wait even longer for a new album
    It would be awesome if they remastered it for the 25th anniversary
    Prof. Woland
    When an ordinary man has midlife crysis, he sells almost everything to buy a Ferrari just to crash it a week later, or grows a mousetail from what's left of his hair. When rockstars have midlife crysis, they play a concert on the South Pole.
    Irwin Navarro
    Just my 2 cents but I wish they get to make a remastered version of that album. Make Rob play bass over it.. It would be awesome IMO and I would love to hear his interpretations of that album
    I'd love to hear remastered versions of all those old albums... they sound a bit hollow these days. I'm not hating on them, I love them all, they just sound a bit tinny. Actually all the new ones could do with being re-recorded too lol
    I prefer Metallica's older albums sound-wise to their newer albums. IMO Ride the Lighting and Master of Puppets were the best sounding Metallica albums. And Kill 'Em All because it sounded so rough. I think it's just better if they don't touch the old recordings. I mean, they would just end up being over compressed and all that. And maybe closer to their new sound that I really don't like. I think the old albums sound rough in a good way and it fits the music. This modern "big" overproduced sound just turns me off.
    I think ...And Justice For All needs to have the bass guitars boosted slightly. Other than that, they shouldn't touch it.
    Completely agree. Dave Mustaine remastered Megadeth's catalogue 'til Risk and the result was a disaster.
    I loved the remasters personally, it made some of the albums much more listenable and brought out aspects of the songs I had not noticed before.
    Yeah, I was also thinking about the remastered Megadeth albums when I wrote my first comment. I preferred the original Peace Sells. It had great drum sounds which the remastered version didn't have. The guitar sound on remastered version was more full and overall "better" but I don't know. The old raw sound fit the music better. Sometimes "worse" (more lo-fi) sounds are actually better.
    Wait, you can't hear Rob's live? The only modification I (and probably most of Metallica fans) can approve to AJFA is to turn the bass volume up in the mix. Other than that, nope.
    A few years back, they released some anniversary shit, and it came with 4 or 5 remixed or un-mastered tracks, and Jason is fully audible. His bass tracks are fantastic.
    There are already proper bass-tracks for some of the songs. The masters were loaned to Harmonix for the Rock Band games. That's the only reason this exists, and it is pretty awesome!
    Love this! That riff REALLY sounds like it belongs in Doom now!
    The bass is too loud here. It sounds like the song is all about bass and nothing else. I agree that it could be a bit louder on the album but not this loud. This is just way too loud.
    You should download Mop and Ride vinyl rip, the guitars are thicker on these versions !
    There are already proper bass-tracks for some of the songs. The masters were loaned to Harmonix for the Rock Band games. That's the only reason this exists, and it is pretty awesome!
    Still my favorite album in the entire catalog.
    Remix it! Remaster it! I want't to hear the bass...
    Easily my favorite album by them. It has to be ranked up there in all time great metal albums.
    I'd like to see a remaster of the first 5 albums. They are amazing albums in their own, but sounds a little quiet and not enough punch.
    I like Justice as it was release originaly. I think that if they remastered it, it would lose his caracteristic sound, soul and even history.
    Thank you! I don't think the mix needs messing with. Yeah it might be technically wrong in many areas but it is so special and there's something about it. IMO best Metallica album ever, best thrash album ever, one of the best albums ever ever.
    Just my 2 cents... Guitar wise, Kill 'Em All is their best album. The most complicated riffs they made are in that album. The only difficulty I see in AJFA is the progression... The main reason why they can't pull off Frayed Ends Of Sanity.
    I prefer RTL and MOP, but it is good. I saw them in Seattle for that tour late August, 1989. They were my favorite band then, and they were awesome. I was supposed to see them open for Ozzy during MOP tour (with Cliff!) but we found out the day of that Ozzy cancelled. After Jason joined the headlined in the towns they missed, so I got to see them on MOP as well. Had I known that one night was my last chance to see Cliff...
    only album of the first 5 that hasn't been played in it's entirety. It would definitely boost ticket sales for Orion Fest if they gave it a go
    It was the first Metallica album i heard,and it is still one of my favourite albums in general!
    MetallicA's best album
    If 'tallica release another lame album as Death magnetic, I'd rather buy a remixed version of ...and justice for all...
    I dont really like how they talk about AJFA like it was them just wanking off, it sounds like they dont even really like it. I think its amazing, i have it blasting in my car all the time. Idk, its just weird to have the writer of something you love say its just ok or not show as much love for it as you
    Next time a stage prop knocks over Lars' set, maybe just replace him with a good drummer, instead of a mediocre arrogant bastard.
    Justice is one of my favorite albums, but i prefer Master over Justice. But I can agree that JUstice is some of their best work.