Sound — 10
Metallica's ...And Justice for All album could arguably be the greatest album of any genre of all time. This is a simply amazing piece of work. There is not a single moment on this album that isn't pure genius. From the intro solo on blackened to very last note of Dyer's Eve there is nothing but incredible guitar work from both a rhythm and lead perspective, impecible drumming and the bass... ok so there is no bass but lets face it thats what helps define this album. Metallica, in creating this album, stumbled upon a sound where the rhythm guitar and drums are pushed to the forefront and become the musical emphasis of the album. It's this sound which has gone on to influence so many new rock groups (think about nu-metal... it's all rhythm guitar and drums). But this album is definently not nu-metal. Kirk Hammett reaches his peak as a lead guitarist on this album with some of the best solo's ever written (Blackened, Dyer's Eve, One, Frayed Ends of Sanity). Also the use of the double bass drum on this album is legendary in the ending part of the song 'One' (everybody knows the part I'm talking about). The major complaint with this album from some fans and the band members themselves is that the songs are too long (some songs clocking in at just under 10 minutes). This is a viewpoint that I do not share. While the songs are lengthy they are never too long.
Lyrics — 10
AJFA Lyrics = Genius This album is the one that gives the finger to anything Metallica missed on their first three albums. James' voice also really begins to develop into what we know today although the full progression would not be made until the black album. The lyrics are very socially aware although Metallica continually refrains from taking a standpoint on these issues. They more or less just throw the topics out there and let us deal with them. However, there are moments upon which we all feel the intense emotion that Metallica is trying to convey, for instance in the song 'One' it is impossible not to be drawn in to what the victim is thinking.
Overall Impression — 10
This is in my opinion Metallica's greatest album. The rhythm guitar is perfect from start to finish. The leads are amazing and the rhythm work is untouchable. Rather than giving you some of the best songs on the album I'm going to list every song and tell you what makes it so great because every song on the album could be the greatest song on the album. Blackened - Extremely fast and cool. The opening riff grabs you and holds you throughout the entire song. It also has a great bridge and chorus. ...And Justice For All - One of the coolest and most complex sounding riffs ever. Plus it's extremely fun to play. Eye of the Beholder - the lyrics on this one are great. While it is the simplest song on the album (but far from simple) it has a chorus that draws you in. One - Every aspect of this song is perfect. Unbelievable harmonies, solos, riffs, drumming, and lyrics. YOU MUST LISTEN TO THIS SONG!!! Shortest Straw - Great complexity. Plus the lyrics are really good. This is a heavy number! Harvester of Sorrow - Definently some of Metallica's darkest lyrics. The opening riff is haunting and amazing at the same time. Plus there's a great heavy silence after the bridge. Frayed Ends of Sanity - The main riff is the ultimate in complex rhythm. The lyrics in this song are great but the best part of the song is the bridge and solo. To Live is To Die - Cliff Burton = Musicianship. If you don't feel emotion when you hear the acoustic part in the middle and the following solo check your pulse to make sure you have one you heartless &*!#. Dyer's Eve - My personal favorite song on the album. The fastest song on the album and without a doubt James Hetfields best rhythm work ever. Probably the second best lyrics (One's are first), and an amazing solo to cap it all off. Oh yea there's a cool bridge too. The song has everything.