Sound — 10
Now, it's common knowledge that this album is very well, raw in production, which people seem to have a problem with. One of these "problems" is that it has a very dirty and gritty sound. If I hadn't seen SKOM I would say that Bob wasn't even at the studio moving the EQs. Another "problem" are the solos which aren't there. Oh well. Do the songs need lead break to be great? No. People even have a problem with the way Lars has his drums set. I honestly don't pay that much attention. If he wants to play that way, let him. He can still whoop my ass on drums. Overall, the sounds of this album are a bit different from other Metallica albums, but I've always had the impression that music is about expression and change. I say the sound fits the mood and makes the album better.
Lyrics — 8
People still haven't bitched about the album enough until picking apart the lyrics. Yeah, so what? They may not be as powerful or clean as previous Metallica songs, but this time the lyrics weren't about the normal song material, this time they were about what the band wanted to say to itself and it's fans. I don't see these lyrics as being "terrible" like others on this board would say, because if the band is happy with the outcome, a true Metallica fan should be as well.
Overall Impression — 10
My overall feeling for this album is that it had the chance to be something much more, but wuth Jason out and Jaymz out as well, things had to change. And this album was the start of another change in the monster of Metallica. I'm a huge Metallica fan, only because I can't help but to be. I respect these guys because they deserve it, and this album deserves your respect if you are a true Metallica fan.