...And Justice For All review by Metallica

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  • Released: Aug 25, 1988
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9 (1,750 votes)
Metallica: ...And Justice For All
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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'.

42 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Shredder03
    It's an awesome album. You could feel the change in tone since Cliff had passed away. Best tracks are: Blackened Eye of the Beholder Harvester of Sorrow The Frayed Ends of Sanity Dyers Eve
    Metallica Mosh
    my favorite metallica albums???? Anything but the "Garage" albums, yes even load, reload, and st.anger. And why all the DM hate??? Some of the best riffs and songwriting ever.
    yarzo
    Yes, great album, but oh how I wish they would remix/remaster this one.
    thrashnmosh782
    neojazzical wrote: who's metallica?
    bahahaha whos metallica..... idk. this album was good but it cant compare to MoP or RtL.....it seemed like they just wanted to show off their instrumental shit like its not a bad album, but its just not thier best
    DrShreddington
    espplayer400 wrote: i like megadeth and metallica. and whats that your saying about DM? do you have any clue how well that album is selling?? not much of an accomplishment?
    You honestly think record sales constitute the quality of an album? By your logic, Celine Dion, Backstreet Boys, and ABBA are better than Metallica seeing as how they have some of the greatest selling albums of all time.
    stratdud39
    i think these are the best written songs of metallica. when i say this, i mean they did the best job of making a 10 minute song feel like 3 minutes on this album. but for my fav its stuck between ride the lightning and master of puppets
    Pantora
    This album is what pretty much made me into a metalhead. just so damn good!metallica sucks now, but this album. just wow. Ride the lightning is also a really sick album, but i think this album takes it up a new level. probably something to do with the progressive elements they added
    tristan_deity
    I ****ing love this album, but i so wish they would remaster it with bass. blackened is my fav song
    Slaytan666
    gynther flynt wrote: what's with everyone saying how bad the sound (especially the bass) is, but then giving a full 10 to the sound??!?!?!!!?!?!?!?!?!? !?!?! come on, the sound is really bad, that's what makes this record so unknown to not-so-metallica fans. the songs are really great though. by putting a 10 to everything is just proving what a bad reviewer you are, this album does not deserve it.
    Actually, if you've listened to the album, you would know that James Hetfield's tone ALONE earns that 10.. And the whole album sounds phenominal, despite the sh***y recording quality. Hell, I would have bought the cd just for the chorus riff from 'Shortest Straw'
    The_Spuditron
    Zturm wrote: In my opinion One,Fade to Black,and Master of puppets in that order are Metallicas 3 best songs. You should browse more into their work. Just an advice!
    I hate it when people pick the more "common" songs as they're favourite! Don't get me wrong, they are great songs but they have way more work that is so much better! Battery anyone????
    K!!LsWiTcH
    The_Spuditron wrote: Zturm wrote: In my opinion One,Fade to Black,and Master of puppets in that order are Metallicas 3 best songs. You should browse more into their work. Just an advice! I hate it when people pick the more "common" songs as they're favourite! Don't get me wrong, they are great songs but they have way more work that is so much better! Battery anyone????
    +1 especially how the_spuditron sed to browse more into their work and then pick 3 songs that most non metalheads know.
    Metallicaman223
    Hmm... An album that gets your freaking pumped man! I remember listening to Dyers Eve and going: Holy shit! It blew the crapola outta me man! The speed, The aggression, The lyrics! Such as: Dear mother, Dear Father You clipped my wings before I learnt to fly, I've outgrown that ****ing lullaby! It just gets you adrenaline pumping! AJFA is a total masterwork, epic it is! The lyrics are really well wrote too. The shortest straw is just angry man! Harvester of sorrow gets you pumped but depressed man, the lyrics are sad but the music almost kills you. I could go on like this on every song. Great album 9.5
    koolfoolinapool
    Spoonman! wrote: Yeah...Metallica was a great band and ...And Justice For All was by far the best album they ever made...but I can't say that Metallica makes Slayer sound like "a bunch of wussies".
    That really is true. There are bands out there who are a lot heavier than Metallica. There are a lot more technical bands out there. Power metal and progressive metal have better singers and faster heavier songs. But this is my favorite album of Metallica. Great album. I actually admire the horrible production. Proves it wasn't made for money and that it was in no way radio-friendly.
    realiztik
    I must say that this is the first time that I've looked at this review. Overall rating on the sound is a 9.3???? What the FUCK?! It's an amazing album, but waaaaayyy off there... You can even hear James say it's not his favorite sounding album... but it still kicks ass!!!
    guitarfreak222
    deth21 wrote: penetratetotheh wrote: dave mustaine loves the cock hah!! metallica needs dave mustaine musicianship right now...for god's sake they haven't recorded a better album since load....where are they now? huh?
    Death magnetic...That album is awesome..
    wyldeshredder
    ya, a remaster could be cool^ but it would always be frowned upon i think..the mix is a kind of landmark of where metallica was at during that time period.
    Vedicardi
    I love all the albums in order of release with exception to DM So it's like 1. Kill 2. Ride 3. Master 4. Justice 5. Black 6. DM 7. Load 8. Reload 9. St. Anger Kukukuku
    h3llh4mm3r
    What's the point of comparing albums, or bands for that matter? ...And Justice for All is a classic metal album, period.
    areese82
    A truly awesome album...also the reason i still put up with Metallica's bull****
    Silas S Thompso
    edgeyyz : to all you morons saying Slayer is the greatest thrash metal band - you don't have a clue what you're talking about. Slayer is speed metal and Metallica is thrash metal. get it straight Thrash Metal and speed metal go hand in hand. If a band has speed song they have slower ones. Like Seasons in the Abyss, Bloodline, The antichrist, Metallica is good, but they lost there touch. Not Megadeth
    Teh Skisgaars
    lol the big 3 seem to be the recurring debate for me ride wins by a tiny tiny amount but i mean tiny master was truly a thrash masterpiece justice explored more melodic sounds ride was a culmination of the two they are all epic and they are all masterpieces
    BarkTooth
    The spoken words in To Live Is To Die aren't originally written by Cliff, but are taken from a book of HP Lovecraft. Anyway, Cliff was a big fan of Lovecraft books, and he chose which words to quote.
    KingSquall802
    Shredder03 : It's an awesome album. You could feel the change in tone since Cliff had passed away. Best tracks are: Blackened Eye of the Beholder Harvester of Sorrow The Frayed Ends of Sanity Dyers Eve
    oh no, you miss One. The best song in the album.
    DrShreddington
    50 bucks says all you Megadeth haters will be sitting alone at home crying when they release Vic's Garage and it turns out far better than Death Magnetic. Then again thats not much of an accomplishment to begin with.
    espplayer400
    DrShreddington wrote: 50 bucks says all you Megadeth haters will be sitting alone at home crying when they release Vic's Garage and it turns out far better than Death Magnetic. Then again thats not much of an accomplishment to begin with.
    i like megadeth and metallica. and whats that your saying about DM? do you have any clue how well that album is selling?? not much of an accomplishment?
    MonsterOfRock
    Why do we need a review for Justice in 2009? And isn't there enough reviews up anyway? And seriously, if any of you don't have anything good to say, or make a valid arguement, please bend over and talk to your anus. Not here.
    shakeandbake67
    also i think the question is, how do you define "heavy"? do you mean distortion and drum and bass? do you mean speed? or do you mean epic/awesome? if it's the first two then there's definitely much heavier stuff than metallica. but if its the last one, then id have to say metallica is like #1. or at least really close.
    reedplaysgeetar
    Dyer's Eve is about James Hetfiled's parents who were not very nice to James during his childhood lol
    K!!LsWiTcH
    boyan89 wrote: this album is Metallicas best and I can hear the bass soo well and the drums are amazing, the guitar is the best thought being the guitar player i am this album is ****ing amazing and the skill is unbeliviable!!! I love all the other albums too but this album just kicks ass!!!
    ... do i even have to say why im beginning to hate ug?
    the red guitar
    black album is pussy work compared to justice and master of puppets. ride the lightning kicks serious ass too "not very nice to james" hahaha oh, megadeth blows
    vinnym86
    agreed, but one flaw in the review: Lars Ulrich has been the KEY weakpoint in this band to date. Original member or not, he is simply too slow, too boring, and his choice in equipment may please his ear but does not really work well at all with their still thrash metal sound. It seems once Bob Rock took over, he morphed the band around Lars' lack of skill. oh, btw, Megadeth does NOT blow, infact they are what rocked the real thrash metal world, not the mainstream charts. Both bands are very skilled, doubting any of the two is just plain ignorant.
    Siege of Power
    espplayer400 wrote: i like megadeth and metallica. and whats that your saying about DM? do you have any clue how well that album is selling?? not much of an accomplishment?
    Sales do not to any stretch of the imagination make a good album, i mean, look at Slipknot
    shakeandbake67
    i personally think its fine without bass. i listened to a remastered version with bass, and it sounds kinda weird. i think since it came out without bass, people just accepted the sound, but it really does sound weird with bass
    guitarfreak222
    MetalheadMark wrote: That guy who said this is the heaviest album ever needs to listen Annihilation of The Wicked by Nile. I don't think I've heard anything heavier. (I could be very wrong though ) Still, this album is awesome
    LOL You can't really compare any death metal song to metallica because metallica is thrash metal.. I could list a million albums that are heavier than this but this album is still pretty darn heavy.