Sound — 9
...And Justice For All was the first Metallica album to feature bassist Jason Newsted, due to the death of previous Cliff Burton. Even though the bass is not very clear in the mix, all is made up for by the power and ferocity that fuels all of the songs. Songs like 'Blackened' and 'Dyers Eve' are amongst Metallica's heaviest, but at the same time they are not afraid to include calmer and more melodic songs, as shown by instrumental 'To Live Is To Die' (which features acoustic guitar) and the most famous song on the album, 'One'. The album shows Metallica's more progressive side, combined with the speed metal style they used for the three albums before it. There is some incredibly fast drumming and guitar work, and the album certainly shows off Metallica's skills as musicians.
Lyrics — 10
Lyrically, '... And Justice For All' is certainly Metallica's best album. They have songs about many subjects, from the title track, which describes the power of money and the legal system, to 'One', which describes a World War One soldier hospitalised by a landmine, who realises that the only way out of his pain is death. Singer James Hetfield is at his angriest, as shown particularly on 'The Shortest Straw', but still manages to put lots of emotion into the poetry he reads in 'To Live Is To Die'.
Overall Impression — 10
Due to it's release in between the two albums often thought to be Metallica's best (Master Of Puppets and The Black Album), '... And Justice For All' is often ignored. However, it contains some of Metallica's best. 01.Blackened: probably Metallica's best album opener (Yes, better than 'Enter Sandman! '), it starts with a reversed passsage of music getting louder and louder building up to the main riff, which if you hate complicated song structures, stay the hell away from. The live performance of this song at Seattle Colloseum in 1989 may be Metallica's best song performance ever. Drummer Lars Ulrich is the star of this song. 02.... And Justice For All: although several minutes could have been cut off this song, it manages to combine a really progressive nature with some very catchy moments. 03.Eye Of The Beholder: with a riff a bit like a slower version of 'Disposable Heroes' from 'Master Of Puppets', this song is similar lyrically to the track before it. It could have been a bit faster, but the guitar duelling halfway through makes up for that. 04.One: similar in structure to 'Welcome Home (Sanitarium)' and 'Fade To Black', only with a solo in between choruses no. 2 & 3, this is a true Metallica classic, showing their ability to mix calm ballads with speed metal, and of course their ability to solo. With lead guitarist Kirk Hammett at his best, it's songs like this that make you thankful that a landmine hasn't taken your hearing. 05.The Shortest Straw: this is quite a fast song, with one of Hetfield's angriest vocal performances and Ulrich's fast drummings. 06.Harvester Of Sorrow: although the weakest song on the album, with a rather poor solo and not much interesting melody, there is still certainly some serious power to this track. 07.The Frayed Ends Of Sanity: not as good as some things on the album, but contains a seriously heavy riff and some highly technical soloing. 08.To Live Is To Die: built up of riffs & poetry by Cliff Burton before his death, this is Metallica's longest instrumental, and could well be the best. It starts off with an acoustic guitar passage, then goes into the full band playing. In the middle of the song, there is more acoustic guitar, and whilst there is no actual singing, Hetfield reads some poetry. This song is proof that without words, you can still tell a story. The end is cut off, maybe to reperesent Cliff's life... 09.Dyers Eve: Dyers Eve is musically the most 'Kill 'Em All' song on the album, but instead of lyrics about headbanging and starting fights, it is about child abuse from the point of view of the child ("Dear mother, dear father, what is this hell that you have put me through?") Contrary to common beleif, I think that 'Justice' is Metallica's best album, and perhaps if the bass were a little louder and the production more professional, everyone would be associating Metallica with '... And Justice For All' instead of 'Master Of Puppets'.