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Metallica '....And Justice For All' - Retro Album Review

 

Metallica ...And Justice for All

 

Here we are in the last gasp of summer of ‘88, and in my hands I hold the latest album from the  thrash metal monsters from California. To be released on august 25. Metallica's ...And Justice for All. my initial reaction is simply “WOW!”  So let's delve in a bit shall we?

James, Kirk and Lars were at a crossroads in september of 1986 when a terrible accident took the life of their bassist Cliff Burton. Discussing whether to call it quits or carry on they decided to carry on, with the blessing of Cliff’s parents, they started auditioning replacements for Cliff. The band sifted through the candidates before settling on Jason Newsted of Flotsam and Jetsam. Newstead joined the band in october of ‘86 playing his first gig with the band the Country Club in Reseda, California. The band quickly jumped into the studio to record the covers EP “Garage Days” to test Jason - he passed.

On January 28 (1988) the band entered the studio and started working on the album that is to be titled “...And Justice for All” And here we are!! August of 1988 and here is the finished album!! The cover features “lady justice” blindfolded holding a tipping scale and the album title spray painted in the corner. The album features ONLY 9 tracks, but it wncompasses 65 plus minutes!!

 

Justice kicks off with the track “Blackened” it initially starts off quiet slowly building...building...building, then its full on heavy metal!! 6 plus minutes of abusive, violent music.  Filled with astounding guitar work from Kirk, Lars drumming is truly top notch, he just keeps pounding and pounding amd kirk just keeps shredding the fretboard. James lyrics are so dark and his delivery is so powerful, now that is the way to kick off an album!

We follow up Blackened with the title track “...And justice for all”. Clocking in at over 9 minutes and it's not even the longest song on the album!! Heavy hitting drums and guitar to kick your teeth in for a couple of minutes until the lyrics actually start, and when they do, LOOK OUT!! Spit with with so much force James just lets it rip. Kirk rips through an amazing guitar solo backed by some serious drum work from Lars. This track is littered with amazing guitar and drum work, lyrically stunning, vocally impressive. The bass, unfortunately, is drowned out by all the drums it’s really hard to pick it up at all. This will not stop you from banging your head to this track though!

The third song is “Eye of the Beholder”  it's a juggernaut of aggression. Clocking in at 6 and a half minutes it just RIPS!! Kirk is on point once again and Lars continues his sonic assault on the drums. Features a really cool rhythm on this track. James vocals are a perfect fit for this dark foreboding track.

“One” starts off ominously with the sounds of gunfire, helicopters and bombs going off. Then the guitar...nice and slow melodic riff, enter the booming bass drums. Then james joins joins the party with the vocals, and the lyrics are dark almost painful. You’re banging your head without even knowing it. 4 plus minutes in and the song really cuts loose, James is tearing through the lyrics, Kirks fingers are all over the fretboard just shredding the solo all the while Lars is laying down an insane rhythm. This track could prove to be a metal masterpiece!!

“The Shortest Straw” has you banging your head right from the start- Lars isn't playing. Heavy pounding drums backed up by more insane guitar work from Kirk. James comes at it hard basically spitting the words. So much anger and aggression you really feel it on this hectic track. The Shortest Straw really pummels yours ears with pure anadaltered aggression. Kirk's guitar solo on the track is something to behold.

Harvester of Sorrow” the sixth track and I’m all in!! Another pummeling drum laden track, which appears to be the norm on this album. Metallica is playing to their strengths, great drumming and insane guitar work, impeccable lyrics topped off with a perfect vocal performance. So which strength are they playing to? All of them. “Let the beatings begin!!” indeed they have.

“The Frayed Ends of Sanity” The chanting at the start remind me of the evil henchmen in the Wizard of Oz, not sure if that was on purpose or just a coincidence. My God Kirk and Lars are ON POINT!! Another demented, dark song lyrically, which doesn’t hurt a thing. Just throw up the horns and bang your head. Maybe a Jason Newsted sighting hovering in the background? Sanity proves to be fleeting as the masterful guitar solo filled track plays out. You can almost feel yourself spiraling down the rabbit hole. Amazing song.

“To Live is to Die” 9:49 of pure aggression. A musical masterpiece from beginning to end, basically an “instrumental” the very few words that are on the track appear to be either sampled from something else or just James talking quietly,even without vocals this is a stellar track

Dyers Eve” punches you right in the face from the onset. Returns Metallica to their “Thrash”  sound of their past. The shortest song on the album at just over 5 minutes, it’s just brutality, the guitar and drums in perfect step with one another. Then James comes in and just KILLS it!! Lyrically it's more dark and demented damaged lyrics. Vocally James just lets it rip on this no holds barred juggernaut of a song. As i come to the end of the song I can't help but think James is a little dark and twisted inside to have written this, but it makes a great song to bang your head too!! Kirk isn't to be left out as his solo just amazes. Frantic pace the entire song- AWESOME!!

My final thoughts are simple as the CD stops spinning, first? Play it again. Second? Listen again and again as loud as I can possibly make my stereo go until the neighbors complain!! I would recommend that you all do the same!! Run out to your nearest record store and pick this album up, and CRANK IT UP!! ...And Justice for All could very well be  a heavy metal masterpiece, but don't take my word for it, listen yourself and you decide!

 

Randy

Hair Band Heaven

 

 

 

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