Sound — 9
This is Metallica's fourth album that was recorded without legendary bassist Cliff Burton. Evidence of the band's harsh treatment of bassist Jason Newstead is clear here as the bass is inaudible for the entire album. This is also due to the poor production quality such as the drums and the guitars. Yet what makes it so amazing is the pounding, complex riffs combined with superb lyrical content about the justice system, communist witch hunting and insanity.
Lyrics — 9
James Hetfield is the king of rhythm guitar playing, but he also creates lyrics that totally apply to the music. A lot of the lyrics are dark, clever and criticise the world for its mistakes. Also James Hetfield creates pauses and cool singing patterns in these songs too, giving them more impact and making the riffs tighter.
Overall Impression — 9
This album comes with positives and negatives(not many though). First off the riffs are crushingly heavy and songs like Blackened and One include some of Kirk's best lead guitar so far. It's safe to say Metallica were far ahead of any thash metal band and inspired legions of players to pick up guitars and start learning guitar (myself included). However, the riffs and solos start repeating themselves in songs because they use the same chord progressions. For these reasons, Master Of Puppets beats this album to the post as my favourite Metallica album (very close though). If this album is stolen, let the hammer of justice crush you.