Sound — 9
Metallica entered the studio at the height of their power, so to speak. With the success of Master of Puppets behind them, they knew they needed to create something to top it. And they did. But a key ingredient was missing: original bassist Cliff Burton, whos tragic death still shocked and effected Metallica. When they left, they were armed with their heavyest, most complex album to date. But within the heavyness of... AJFA, lie the centerpiece, so to speak. "One", the power ballad based upon Venom's "Buried Alive" and the gruesome lyrics upon the novel "Johhny Got His Gun." It scored major success, and landed Metallica's first video. The guitar work on... AJFA is phenomenl. And it had to be, because with very little to no bass, it had to carry the album, along with the drums. It makes you wonder, "What would this sound like with more bass?" The answer would be the heavyest alvum ever known to man. Speaking of drums, Lars Ulich proves on this album that he may well be crowned the king of double-bass. Instead of rapid-fire bass drum fills, they are fast-paced, but not the the extented that the drummers legs will collapse. They are well written, and helps prove that Metallica pioneereed the thrash metal movement, and Lars pioneered the art of double-bass. The solos on this album one this album also represent the sheer ability that Hetfield [and Lars Ulirch] possess when it comes to writing solos. The intro solo to "One" is one of the most beautifully written solos of all time. With the clever use of hammer-ons and pull-offs, there isn't much to hate. And the instrumental "To Live Is To Die" is an instrumental that rivals, if not overcomes, Orion. The acoustic drenched intro fades into a more Metallica like thrash metal, with powerful kick drumming from Ulrich, and the usual distorion-ridden riffs.
Lyrics — 9
James Hetfield is one of metals, and musics, best lyricists. Every one of the songs is layered with metaphors, and has a meaning. And... AJFA takes his writing to a new level, by dicussing issues that plauge the world still, like greed. They are also nihilistic, and apoalyptic as they come [Blackened], meaningful, [Dyers Eve], and and the late Cliff Burton provides a very true statement in To Live Is To Die. However, the is one flaw in the gem that is..AJFA. It would have to be the way Hetfield sings Dyers Eve. When the vocals kick in, they are too fast compared to the song, and they would have suited better against a instrumental, or a acoustic ballad. Lyrically, Metallica is, and always will be, at their height. J. Hetfield is one of music's most underrated guitarist, andhe is also the most pleasent [imo] frontman to listen to whilst singing.
Overall Impression — 9
The impression is simple, and is mentioned before. It is one of the heavyest albums introduced to mankind, even without the power of a bassist, so to speak. The raw, jittery time changes, and songs that lack any direction at all, really, make up this masterpiece, with few flaws. One would think that with such a powerhouse bassist Jason Newsted, why they didn't use him, and if Cliff Burton was still alive, what the phenomenal bassist would have brought to the table. The most impressive songs on the album are a hard thing to choose, out of the 9 marathon-length masterpieces. But a definat choice would be "One", a song that I've already explained a little much for one review. To Live Is To Die is also a perfect addition, with switches from acoustic to electric, and complex time changes, and the addition of Cliff Burton's underrated short phrase also helped majorly. Their is much to love and little to hate whlist talking about... AJFA. It is ideal for every Metallica fan, and thrash metal fan. I would not let this album be stolen, or out of my sight for that matter when it leaves the saftey of my room, for it is that important.