Sound — 10
With this album, Cliff Burton had a far larger influence than with "Kill 'Em All", which, I think, results in a far more complete sound, which is particularly evident on tracks such as "fade to black" and "for whom the bell tolls". The awesome thundering chugg of Cliff's bass perfectly compliments the warring guitars of Hetfield + Hammett, and with Lars stampeding away on the drums in the background, Metallica rarely put a foot wrong on this album, with the possible exception of "trapped under ice" and "escape", the only 2 tracks not co-written by Cliff, and the only 2 lacking that "complete" feel present in the others. The solos are probably the main thing to note aobut the guitar playing, with Hammett really letting loose on "ride the lightning" and "fade to black". The solos on this are, atleast in my opinion, the most satisfying of all Metallica albums.
Lyrics — 10
Hetfield's lyrics really matured from the first album and seemd to flow more seamlessly with the music, especially in "for whom the bell tolls" where Cliff tears out the classic "doom" riff, perfectly complimenting Hetfield's gloomy lyrics. James' voice also improved from "Kill 'Em All" sounding more melodic.
Overall Impression — 10
This is my favourite Metallica album. It improves on many aspects of "Kill..." and thrashes more than "Master...". The solos f**king rock, Cliff f**king rocksand the lyrics f**king rock. If it were lost, I would rip the balls off the wanker then buy a new copy.