“…And Justice for All” was released in 1988 and is Metallica’s fourth album. It is also the first album to feature the talent and formal flotsam and Jetsam bassist Jason Newstead who was hired on after Cliff Burton’s tragic death. This album has been debated time after time by many reviewers. Some had great things to say about it, while many others hated this album.
To me as said before, 1988 was that year for me. I first heard Metallica through “Garage Days Re-revisited” not long before this album was released. This album also introduced me to “Kill ’em All”, “Ride the Lightning”, and “Master of Puppets.” Which is probably why I liked this album so much. You never forget those albums you heard that introduce you to bigger and better bands, albums, and music in general. Keep in mind, that I have always taken to the side of Megadeth when the line was drawn each time. But, Metallica over the years, more so in the beginning, has put out some great music.
This album here is a concept album, that deals with the injustice of war, censorship of freedom of speech and other injustices committed by the government such as the environment, corruption, blacklisting and discrimination. These topics are what makes this a damn good record as far as song composition. You really see Hetfield and gang putting together some damn good song lyrics. This is why I gave this album a high review. I get what Metallica is trying to do. Musically and production is where the flaws of the album come in.
I’ll start with the pros first. This album is pure thrash, and it’s just as good as the pervious three. It has some great song structures, nice riffs, classic leads and some great drumming. I like the fact that the tempo changes so much on this album. There’s a lot of long introductions on the songs themselves that build you up for the actual song. I also like how the band bridges the gaps between chorus and verses or just before and after a lead.
The cons, here is where everyone disagrees that has done a review on this album. To me, first and foremost, where’s Jason Newstead’s bass? And why is it place so far in the background of the final mix? I understand, he’s the new guy on the block, I get it. But, listening to the album, I can not hear any of the bass. Secondly, the production of the album, limits the band’s classic sound. I understand there comes a time for change. But the music and sound itself of the instruments make it seem as if the album was recorded under the water. The sound of the guitars seem to me as if a giant rubber band is being stretched out, plucked and brought back in, repeatedly. Also, there is a lot of filler in some of the songs that seem to make the song drag on and on. But, then again, it does flow nicely. It’s just a little long.
Bottom line, great album. But don’t compare it to the pervious three albums and then begin tearing it apart. Yes, we all know that “Kill ’em All”, “Ride the Lightning”, and “Master of Puppets” are masterpieces. But “…And Justice for All” is a good record. Remember, “One” got the air play before any song of the pervious three were played over the airwaves. Well, at least on my local radio station.
- “Blackened” 6:40
- “…And Justice for All” 9:44
- “Eye of the Beholder” 6:25
- “One” 7:24
- “The Shortest Straw” 6:35
- “Harvester of Sorrow” 5:42
- “The Frayed Ends of Sanity” 7:40
- “To Live Is to Die” (Instrumental) 9:48
- “Dyers Eve” 5:12