METALLICA — ...And Justice for All (review)

METALLICA — ...And Justice for All album cover Album · 1988 · Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
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.
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