Sound — 8
The sound of the record when compared to anything today, is in all honesty, very bland. It sounds somewhat muddled and kind of smeared together. This doesn't ruin the album by any means. The guitar work is audible, the bass is faint, but my gripe is that the drums really fall into the background. I have no preference of instruments, but being the backbone of the band, the percussion should be a bit more notable. The drums on... And Justice for All were stamps of Lars in his prime. Crisp, clicky, and in your face. To me this album lacks that punch.
Lyrics — 8
Truth be told, the best lyrics on this album do not rest in the title track. *GASP* To me the best lyrics are in the worst song on the CD. "The Thing That Should Not Be". They paint a picture that no other song can. "Battery" and "Damage INC" lack that refinement. As if they belonged on Kill em All. The title track does have its moments, but it just ends up stating the same thing over again in each verse. "Welcome Home" would be better had the lyrics at the end made more of a connection to the early verses. They seem to just drift off (which may have been the point). James hit his prime on AJFA and the Black album. Here he is still a bit raw and quiet. His voice lacks the force of the latter records and in many of the songs seems to fade behind the guitars.
Overall Impression — 8
In all, this is not Metallica's best work. It is a milestone, it is iconic, but it is not their zenith. To me ...And Justice for All perfected what Metallica was and is known global for. Master of Puppets was a prerequisite step to attain that perfection. Battery and Damage INC will go down as some of the best start and end points of any album, but again, AJFA just out does every couterpart song. Except for the title track. That song is the face of Metallica (enter sandman a close second). The replay value of this CD is near endless, but in times will wear out. To me, this is the order of the Metallica masterpieces: ...And Justice for All, Ride The Lightning, Master Of Puppets. Enjoy the thrash revolution!