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

METALLICA — ...And Justice for All album cover Album · 1988 · Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
SilentScream213
Metallica enter a slight stylistic shift towards the progressive, slowing down a bit and delivering more complex, technical rhythms. This is actually quite possibly their least accessible album, not only lacking any sort of anthemic rockers, but also being pretty much a downer in mood the whole time. In addition, it tends to focus more on technicality and rhythm instead of instantly memorable riffs. That’s not to say the music here is really complex, but certainly more so than previous albums.

From that, you can pretty much tell what the strengths and weaknesses are. Here is Metallica at their darkest, most technically proficient, and most serious. It’s definitely got more points in terms of “thinking man’s music” than their other stuff, but on the other end, it definitely loses memorability. The songs are all quality, but most of them lack any insanely good riffs that get caught in your head. It’s also supposed to be their angriest album, but since the straightforward aggression is swapped for rhythmic precision, it certainly comes off as less passionate, and James is yelling in time more than he is in melody. This unfortunately sacrifices mood, which leaves songs a bit flat.

Now, there are two songs here that completely evade those weaknesses. “One”, as everyone knows, is an incredibly powerful “ballad” that basically goes through stages of grief, starting slow and somber before breaking out into manic frustration. Then there’s the closer, “Dyer’s Eve.” It’s possibly Metallica’s heaviest, angriest song ever recorded, detailing child abuse and showcasing Lar’s best performance yet. This song is so strong because James sounds very convincingly full of anger and hurt, and everyone is playing at the apex of their ability.

It’s certainly a “different” album even considering Metallica’s varied discography, but it was very much a success and resulted in some of their best material.
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