...and Justice for All
METALLICA

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METALLICA - ...and Justice for All cover
4.28 | 140 ratings | 13 reviews
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Album · 1988

Filed under Thrash Metal

Tracklist

1. Blackened (6:43)
2. ...and Justice for All (9:45)
3. Eye of the Beholder (6:25)
4. One (7:26)
5. The Shortest Straw (6:35)
6. Harvester of Sorrow (5:45)
7. The Frayed Ends of Sanity (7:44)
8. To Live Is to Die (9:48)
9. Dyers Eve (5:14)

Total Time: 65:28

Line-up/Musicians

- James Hetfield / Rhythm Guitar & Vocals
- Kirk Hammett / Lead Guitar
- Jason Newsted / Bass
- Lars Ulrich / Drums

About this release

Type: Studio album
Release date: August 25, 1988
Record label: Elektra/Vertigo
Producers: Flemming Rasmussen and Metallica

Thanks to metalbaswee, graphix, Pekka for the updates

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METALLICA ...AND JUSTICE FOR ALL reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
This was a new era for METALLICA. Hardly recovered from losing their bassist, Cliff Burton, they were finding sudden popularity after the success of MASTER OF PUPPETS. On this release they upped the progressiveness making this one of the earliest prog thrash metal releases and certainly one of the most successful in terms of sales. They went from being a slightly successful band to one of the biggest in the biz.

Although I hear a lot of complaining about the production of this album, I have to say that I quite like it and I think it gives it a unique sound unlike any other album. It's important to remember that there was a backlash to overproduced albums in the late 80s with the success of slick studio albums from Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Poison etc.

I believe that Metallica intended this to have a more lo-fi sound that would keep them sounding underground even if they were becoming one of the biggest names on the planet. Something about the theme and lyrical content about the lack of justice that lend an oppressive sound to the whole thing. The sounds of the guitars and bass as one super-instrument somehow imply that when justice is denied none has his own voice. I may be digging deep here but for some reason it really works for me!

While it's really hard for me to pick a favorite album from METALLICA (only 3 contenders), this one may be the one i've listened to the most. It was the first album I actually owned from them and I have listened to this more times than I can count to the point of being sick of it years ago!
Warthur
Sorry guys, I just can't do it. No matter how much I try, I can't get over the horrible production this album was afflicted with. In principle I should love this album - the most technically advanced songwriting of Metallica's thrash career, and for that matter the last hurrah for thrash in Metallica's repertoire before the Black Album and the decidedly controversial twists and turns their career has taken subsequently.

However, whilst there's decent material on here, the album is horribly compromised by the production. Of course, new bassist Jason Newstead is often literally inaudible in the mix, but that's just the start of it; the sound of the album is paper-thin and lacks the thick, meaty sound of Ride the Lightning or Master of Puppets. This might be excusable in an up and coming unsigned band recording a demo, or even a band signed to an impoverished and cash-strapped record company, but we're talking Metallica here - the most mega-successful of the Big Four of thrash, making the followup to one of the biggest-selling metal albums ever, for a major record company like Elektra Records.

The idea that Metallica didn't have access to the talent, studio equipment, or expertise to give proper treatment to the material on And Justice For All is, given all the above factors, absolutely absurd. There is simply no excuse for the album to have been issued in the state that it is in, even with the last-minute substitution of producers towards the end of the recording process.

In retrospect, the downfall of Metallica's career wasn't Lulu, or St. Anger, or the Loads, or the Black Album. It was the moment when the band, producer, and record company reviewed the final product of the And Justice For All sessions and decided that this was an album worth issuing to the general public and a decent followup to its predecessor. Nobody who put a high priority on selling a high-quality product worthy of the band's legacy would have approved that decision, but approved it was, and the precedent was set: from then on, it became a-OK to foist any old shit on the band's fans. The path that led inexorably to Lulu was laid.
Sheavy
(original review from ProgArchives.com)

Where do you go once you have hit the pinnacle? Unfortunately this should have been the pinnacle, but it is let down by two things.

One is the production, some album benefit by a lo-fi-ish production, this album however does not. The production is worse than their debut, which is very sad. The drums and bass suffer very heavily from this, the Ulrich's drums just click without any sort of heavy beating you type of feel, and Newsted's bass is nonexistent.

Two is the songs that come across as filler to me. Dyers eve and Blackened are some of my least favorite Metallica tracks ( excluding pretty much every album afer this one). Unfortunately these two songs just had to be the beginning and the end. Which really was a let down. The stuff in between is amazing and some songs that have gotten to legendary status. One is a song that is known by almost everyone and rightly so. it is a masterpiece of songwriting. ...And Justice For All is another outstanding song, that reaches deep into prog metal territory.

What should have been another masterpiece,that was let down in one to many departments. It's good fortunately heavily outweighs the bad still.
bonnek
And Justice For All continues Metallica’s progressive ambitions and though there's evidence aplenty of strong writing, few songs manage to equal the abundant riff assault and endless sequence of memorable hooks that the previous albums had plenty off.

A first aspect that will put off many non-fanclub listeners is the horrible production. The cardboard sound makes it hard to actually enjoy this album. To my ears this is one grubby mess of lacklustre drums that must have been recorded with the mike standing in the next room. Also the powerless blurry guitars, the undistinguishable bass and the upfront vocals don’t help. Lots of demo’s sound better.

Another weakness is obviously the drumming itself on this album. A few blasts beats on his kick drums and a rare fast-paced moment not withstanding, Ulrich makes this album into an almost continuous mid-paced non-event that lacks dynamics, energy and power. A good example is the tedious pace of Eye of The Beholder. Just imagine Dave Lombardo of Slayer on this one. Now that would have been meteul!

Of course there are gems like One and Harvester of Sorrow, and there’s plenty of enjoyable technical guitar riffing and soloing, but I sure miss some heartfelt power here as well. Metallica must have chosen for brutality over emotion and melody on this album. An unlucky choice if you ask me, the album is still far behind the really brutal death metal of those years and in giving up their emotive and melodious qualities, they lost something essential in the process.

It’s decent thrash metal album but no match for the masterpieces in that genre from Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica themselves. So I will have to settle for 3 stars. Mainly interesting for the more Prog oriented audiences.
Metalbaswee
This is epic. Thats what my mom tld my 4 years ago when she showed me this record. And, god, was she right. While it's hard to be better then Metallica's previous record, Master Of Puppets, it did a prety good job. While some people don't like this album's production, i really don't mind it, seeing as all off the songs are rock solid. Songs like The Frayed Ends Of Sanity, Dyers Eve and Harvester Of Sorrow are some of my favourite. And this is a pretty diverse record, with the fast Dyers Eve, the more well known One, and the touching To Live is to die. This record packs everything every metalhead needs.
Stooge
I can’t dispute that this is a classic album, and easily one of my favorite Metallica releases. Is it a worthy follow-up to Master of Puppets? Definitely. Is it as good? Almost.

The track lengths are somewhat of an issue. Not bad in principle, but when comparing some of the songs to Master Of Puppets, some songs just seem to drag a little, and I mean a little. Basically, I’ll point to “Frayed Ends Of Sanity” and to a lesser extent “Harvester of Sorrow” (which doesn’t feel like AJFA’s 2nd shortest track) as examples. That’s pretty much my only issue, and it’s really not a significant one.

The production/mix might be an issue to some, but it honestly doesn’t really bother me. This is coming from a bass player, so that tells you something about the quality of the songs, what really matters. Each song has rather meaningful lyrics, aided by memorable patterns that make the words rather easy to memorize and fun to sing along with, and the heaviness of the total album (perhaps their most heavy album) cannot be denied. When someone refers to the “Metallica crunch”, they are most likely thinking of And Justice For All.

Just about every riff compiled within these songs has that “I wish I wrote that” quality to them that appeals to any aspiring metal musician. And with metal (thrash in particular), the riff is what makes the song. Much of the riffing in “Blackened”, Jason Newkid’s first and perhaps most meaningful contribution to Metallica, has that quality. The title track, “Eye of The Beholder”, “Dyer’s Eve”, hell, pick any song and it will have three killer riffs minimum. And who can forget their classic “One”, which is easily one of my favorite Metallica songs ever. It's such a powerful song that stuck with me from the first time I heard it. The mostly instrumental “To Live Is To Die”, while not quite the piece of music that “Orion” was on the previous album, it is still rather beautiful and a fitting tribute to ex-bassist Cliff Burton.

While this takes (a close) second place to my favored Master of Puppets, And Justice For All is easily an album that is an essential component of any metal music collection.
The Angry Scotsman
While most say that "Master of Puppets" is Metllica's Magnus Opus, I'd say it is "...And Justice for All". My favorite Metallica album, while MoP is their most progressive, AJFA is their most technical. There is less diversity, and even acoustic guitar, then is heard on MoP and the album is alot thrashier and unrelenting. This is Metallica's most complex work, and features some great musicianship, songwriting, and technicality. This is in the intricate guitar work, the drumming is again only merely solid. One final note, the sound quality of this album is odd. Not bad, just odd. The guitar and drums sound kind of strange and its well noted that the bass can not be heard. It's not a big deal to me though, the quality is not bad, and the music is great.

Every song is good, and there is no really weak one...so I will touch of some highlights.

Blackened is a good way to start the album, relentless and thrashy. The middle is quite melodic and complex with some great guitar work!

And Justice for All is a good song, and actually has some decent drumming from Lars! A bit on the long side, can be difficult, (especially for a straight up metal head) but is a great journey.

Eye of the Beholder has a great groove to it. Really cool feeling. It does, however, get a bit sluggish over the second half.

Just like their prior two albums, the fourth song on AJFA is a ballad type song. The famous "One" deserves its fame, great song. Though as mentioned, it has the feel of Fade to Black and Sanitarium before it. It is however, an amazing and beautifully powerful song.

Dyer's Eve is a great way to end the album, the way it started. Thrashy! It's a pretty thrashy song that is quite unrelenting and you will hear what may be Lars' most intense drumming.

This is Metallica's best album, and a true masterpiece of metal. It is well very composed and does not suffer from drag or ever sounds out of place. A great blend of thrash, technicality, and musicianship.

Five Stars
AtomicCrimsonRush
One of the most revered metal albums of all time is also one of the first forays into progressive metal.

Metallica excel on this album both musically and lyrically. Each track is given a progressive treatment unlike anything before. Some of the tracks run for over 9 minutes and this was not a regular occurrence in metal during the height of its power in the 80s - the metal years. Metallica proved themselves as musical virtuosos and every band member absolutely shines on this release. From screaming intricate lead breaks to complex bass and drum arrangements that set the metronome off the scale, this is a work of pure genius, and the pinnacle of Metallica's meteoric rise to metal power. It is impossible to find one standout track as each track holds its own compelling authority as classics. With a running length of an hour the album became legendary as a metal epic. The tracks have become part of history as the most influential and dynamic in the genre. And yes, there are enough progressive elements here to quench the appetite for the most insatiated prog metal fanatic. We have the blistering power metal of 'Blackened' which starts this metal journey.

Then the band launch into '...and Justice for All', with all its time shift changes and themes of social injustice, is reminiscent of the best of prog from the 70s, but injected with an edge of chaotic pentameter rather than iambic, with its metrical pattern changes and large scale construction, at over 9 minutes long.

'Eye of the Beholder' is a frenzy of pounding drums and booming bass that drive the track relentlessly to scintillating lead work and crunching guitar riffing.

'One' became a single, albeit a 7 minute one that begins very slowly and with moments of tranquil acoustic melancholy. This leads the way to the awesome brutal riffs in the instrumental section and then Hetfield screams:

Darkness imprisoning me All that I see Absolute horror I cannot live I cannot die Trapped in myself Body my holding cell Landmine has taken my sight Taken my speech Taken my hearing Taken my arms Taken my legs Taken my soul Left me with life in hell

The lyrics has appeared on the back of Metallica T shirts and reinforces the power of the track that remains an absolute classic - the topic is simple - the disposable heroes of the war, the men who suffered without a cause, are the victims and their life is useless once they return from the horror of war. A theme that surfaces again and again in Metallica and other metallers. These are heavy handed themes to be sure, but the point was to sell it as fast and as brutal as necessary. Metallica were not interested in making a difference to history, they were revitalising the injustice of history in the minds and hearts of rock devotees worldwide. The film clip that accompanies it is honest and powerful and worth checking out.

Where do you go from here? Catchy riffs and big ideas in 'The Shortest Straw'. What is it about?

Shortest straw Challenge liberty Downed by law Live in infamy Rub you raw Witchhunt riding through Shortest straw This shortest straw has been pulled for you

'Nuff said. Liberty and injustice for all was Metallica's main drive behind this album. They continue wonderfully with 'Harvester of Sorrow' with one of the best riffs you are likely to hear. An undisputed classic, with a huge wall of sound that drives headlong to its ultimate conclusion. The structure of these tracks are incredible.

Next is the 'The Frayed Ends of Sanity' another long track accentuated by a remarkable lead break from Hammett.

'To Live Is to Die' is another 9 minute treasure with more prog aspects and a very inspiring instrumental section. It all ends with the pacey 'Dyers Eve' and when it is all over you want to play it again.

This is an irresistible album, full of the drawing power of brutal riffs, that crawl at some points and build velocity and momentum at others, and it is all complimented by compelling lyrics. One of the best prog metal albums you will hear.
Negoba
The One....that may indeed be Prog.

I remember when everyone in my dorm came home with this album. Metallica were at their peak of hipness, though far from their richest or peak of popularity. This is the last Fleming Rasmussen album and is also the last album with the classic Metallica sound. On it the band tried to be as complex and brutal as they could possibly be. In fact, after playing the tour for this album, the band felt like they had exhausted what they could do with their signature sound and went a new direction.

Reactions were mixed at first. New member, bassist Jason Newstead, was inaudible except for the very small harmony vocal part on the single One. The songs certainly weren't as headbangingly groovin as on Master of Puppets, though the album was if anything heavier. It was more complex, more clinical, more technical. Everything that makes Metallica in any way prog reached its peak on Justice. It is here that you will find extended compositions, complex time signatures, themed lyrics, and clinical precision reach their peak.

Interestingly, the guys in the class above me (class of 89) liked Justice, went to the concert, wore the shirts, but Puppets and Lightning remained their first love. The kids a year younger (91) however worshipped Justice. And so it was that I joined a group of them the fall after they graduated in a Metallica cover band. They had this album memorized. We played all of it, though I never learned some of the harder pieces well enough for performance. The highly precise Eye of the Beholder is a perfect example of what some dislike about this album, and yet I learned more as a guitarist bringing that song to performance level than perhaps any other song. The very fast downstroke 2 on 3 chorus is Hetfield rhythm guitar at its best and was one of my intros to polyrhythm.

My personal favorite song both to play and listen to is Harvester of Sorrow. One of the songs that actually moves, it evokes a, well sorrowful, feel and has great riffs. A few rhythmic surprises, some harmony leads (which can be played by one guitarist BTW) and one of the better classic Hetfield choruses if any song could be considered to have one at that time.

I could bore you with intricacies on many of these songs, but while other albums were part of my education as a guitarist, this is the album that was my education as a bandmember. And what an album to learn from. Try getting all the free time hits at the beginning of Shortest Straw together, or the thrash polka beat of Blackened to groove right.....enough of memory lane.

This is not the best Metallica album, but it's certainly the most complex, the proggiest. They've come along way from their accelerated NWOBHM debut, and probably were trying just a little too hard. But for lovers of complex music, this is the one to sample. Though many extreme bands pull on these elements now, it took quite a few years for anyone to truly follow the suit of this album. It is essential for anyone truly compiling an extreme prog metal collection, which the tastier Ride the Lightning certainly is not. Puppets of course was the balance point, and IMO is their peak. But much of what made Metallica great had nothing to do with prog.

But this album has quite a bit to do with prog. These days prog is in again, and so we have conversations that never happened in 1988. Metallica would never in their wildest dreams thought they were doing prog at the time. But they were in their own way, and the 20+ years since then have shown how much the ideas could be carried.



Members reviews

criticdrummer94
My absolute favorite Metal record ever. This was the album that made me a Metallica fan, a metal fan, just a music fan in general. Cliff Burton died tragically in a bus crash touring the previous album and they got Jason Newstead in his place now and this album is almost a tribute to Cliff. This album showed me a different kind of music I have never heard before and made me a fan instantly.

Blackened: The opening song. My favorite Metallica song, I love how it opens with the slow fade in guitars and clicky drums just hit you and kick off the great riff that carries through the rest of the song. The verse is great with quick vocals from James that are easy to sing along to.

...And Justice For All: Some people complain it's too long but they clearly haven't heard much longer songs. This album does go through some pretty distinct changes and moods that always keep with me and the lyric is great how Justice gets raped and still does.

Eye of the Beholder: A underrated song. I personally enjoy this song a bit more than some others on here. It is very simple compared to the rest of the album but it's a nice break.

One: The famous single. It is a great song that slowly builds up like Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. I love how both start off soft and slowly build up in intensity but this one hits you with a fantastic guitar solo that makes Guitar Hero players break their fingers over. Classic

The Shortest Straw: A runner up for my favorite song on here. I love the complex drums and very busy progish environment of this song which sums up the whole album for me.

Harvester of Sorrow: Another great ballad-esque song. It has such a mood to it that you feel inside a mental patient's mind. Always sticks and moves me.

The Frayed Ends of Sanity: Took me a while to get into this song. My friend always praised this song saying it was Metallica's best but he's wrong IMHO. It is a great song but never clicked instantly to me.

To Live is to Die: Their tribute to Cliff song. This was so emotional and moving for an instrumental song I can't put it into words. Just listen to it

Dyers Eve: Lars really proves his chops on this song and Shortest Straw. It is a killer way to end this amazing album

Overall, Best Metal album ever. 5 stars. Highlights: The Whole Damn Album
jampa17
I have to make them justice... they were good indeed!!!

Back in the 80's they really push out the revolution of metal to mainstream, and was progress to a time when only pop-metal hairy bands can be on the top of all lists and charts. And they came with pure adrenaline and attitude and bring again the pure rock feeling back there, until the 90's. But before they came complete commercial and mediocre they brought out this impressive masterpiece of metal, and an excellent addition to any rock music lover. OK, maybe it's too heavy for some, but comm'n, Rock is about attitude and strength, and Metallica understand it very well... back then.

I don't like to go checking song by song so lets say they put everything good in there: heavy and wonderful riffing, aggressive and fasts guitar solos, great drumming, time signatures changes, dramatic introductions and melancholic soft parts into a very dark way matched by a complete "in your face" metal that is ideal to lift your body and feel OK. Another great thing is the improve on the sound quality. Over the end of the 80's, Metallica really brought out a great achievement in songwriting and sound quality together. Just great.

The bads: a very selfish one, Hetfield voice do not appeal too much to me, but the music worth it, it really makes everything sound nice or at least bearable. The inclusion of Newsted is bad for the band, this guy is really not a flexible bass player and is not even a shadow from the great Cliff Burton.

I believe their truly masterpiece was Master of Puppets, but this one is really there for the matches. Only for the inclusion of "One", one of my favorites songs from them, it worth the listen. If you are a metal fan and you don't have this album, you are wasting your time. If you don't really enjoy Metallica from the 90's, you should check this out. 5 stars and I repat, I'm not a huge fan of them... but they deserve it...
Valarius
For me personally, this album is where my musical ‘progression’ began. Everything I listen to in this day and age all goes back to Metallica's 'And Justice For All'.

When I was new to the world of Heavy Metal, I was instantly hooked on two particular bands, Megadeth and Kiss. After coming across the video for ‘One’ on TV, which I only watched originally because I missed the song-title and for some reason thought it was Megadeth, I instantly headed out to the local music shop and bought ‘And Justice For All’ when I found out it was Metallica. Little did I know it back then, but purchasing this album was a very important moment for me musically.

Aside from listening to bands like Megadeth and Kiss, being a young Metal fan in the year 2000/2001, I was also getting into bands like Rammstein and Static-X. However, Metallica instantly leaped to the top of the pile, and the reason being was that I loved the complex structure of the music. I loved the ten minute songs. I loved the two minute intros. I love the epic change of dynamics throughout the album between melodic and heavy moments. I loved everything.

There is no denying the influence this album has had on the Progressive Metal genre. Besides the reasons I mentioned above, there was the fact that the songs on here were by far the most ambitious that Metallica have ever written. The odd drum beats and time signatures would influence many modern metal drummers. The guitar riffs and harmonies were the most intricate that Hetfield and Hammett had ever produced.

If I hadn't bought this album I would have probably slipped down a nasty slope towards all the other Industrial/Nu Metal bands that were common at that time. But thankfully AJFA helped me appreciate musicianship, along with longer, more intricate song structures. Every track here is a Metallica fan-favourite, and this album would probably rank as one of my five most important finds (alongside 'Images and Words' by Dream Theater and 'Destroyer' by Kiss).

This is an album that belongs in any collection. Whether you're into standard Metal, or Progressive Metal, and that's something that all metal fans can agree on.
cyclysm748
Although many people would disagree with me, I would put this as Metallica's best album. The band is without the talented Cliff Burton, but everything else about this album is just so perfect to my ears. The tracks are a bit more on the complex side as compared to Master and I feel this is the height of complexity that Metallica reached, at least as far as odd meter and things go, and this is why I believe this to be their best work. It has slow more laid back moments (One,parts of To Live is To Die, and the title track), tracks that focus more on melody and slower riffing, (To Live is to Die again, Harvester of Sorrow, And Justice), and tracks that are more thrashy (Blackened and Dyers Eve). All in all I feel this album has Metallica's best riffs and songwriting. You must hear it!

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