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Review of "...and Justice for All" One of the Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time By Metallica

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


Songs List for Metallica's 4th Studio Album

  1. "Blackened":
  2. "...And Justice of All" (Title track)
  3. "Eye of the Beholder"
  4. "One"
  5. "The Shortest Straw"
  6. "Harvester of Sorrow"
  7. "The Frayed Ends of Sanity"
  8. "To Live is to Die"
  9. "Dyers Eve"

...And Justice For All is An Album With an Important Message

Metallica’s 1988 thrash metal classic …And Justice for All is the album that got this writer into heavy metal and it also deserves a review because of the fact that, well it is just such an outstanding album. The album is also the first one to feature Jason Newsted playing the bass guitar. However, we cannot even hear the bass guitar because it is tuned down. ...And Justice for Allwas released on August 25, 1988 and it is an album that is really making a statement. The album is sending the message about the evils of capitalism and how this has the power to corrupt people. This album also discusses much of the political dysfunction that is present in the United States today.

Former Metallica Bassist Jason Newsted

Jason Newsted is seen here in this 2013 photo. He was a member of Metallica between 1986 and 2001.

Jason Newsted is seen here in this 2013 photo. He was a member of Metallica between 1986 and 2001.

Metallica's 4th Studio Album Is Very Angry Sounding

By this time in the band’s career, we hear an improvement in James Hetfield’s voice. It is more mature and rougher. He is definitely easier to understand and he really can sing pretty well. I sense the anger in the band’s music as well because they had lost Cliff Burton in that unfortunate bus accident in Sweden in 1986 and they still probably had not gotten over his death by this time. But nonetheless, the band kept on going and I’m sure many fans were glad that they did. The album begins with the first song "Blackened" which builds up into a heavy classic song! The song tells the tale of the possible end of the world. Although James Hetfield has said in interviews that the band does not try to be political, I get the sense that this song and the title track ...And Justice for All have political lyrical themes to it. The actions of politicians can put the country’s people at risk and the environment can be at risk as well. In 1988, the band realized these dangers and that’s impressive. I guess they knew what was coming.

"...And Justice for All" Song Only

The Significance of the Song "Eye of the Beholder"

"Eye of the Beholder" is another memorable song on this album and this one was covered by the band In Flames on their Subterranean mini album in 1994. The Metallica influence has spread over to Europe where heavy metal is outstanding and popular.

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" To Live is to Die"

One Great Reason to Really Love Metallica as a Band Is Because of Their Power Ballads

If there is one thing to love about the United States (well of course there are many things), it is that Metallica has been the most consistent US metal band ever and they have attracted millions of fans all over the world with their thought provoking lyrical themes, good aggressive vocals, excellent solos, and terrific songwriting. In addition, they have had great power ballads. The one power ballad on this album that is one of their best ever is the song called "One." There is the sound of real artillery fire as a helicopter goes by. The song is about a soldier that wakes up to find out that he cannot remember anything. He has been scarred by the horrors of war. He prays to GOD to help him wake up from what he considers his long nightmare. I remember singing this song in front of a class full of students during my middle school years. The soldier is “imprisoned by darkness” and he has been injured by a landmine. The song also has some lead guitar by Kirk Hammett, when he starts with this tapping kind of work.


And Justice for All Metallica's Best Album


Some Analysis of the Style of ...And Justice for All

This 4th studio album is the most complex and least poppy album that Metallica ever wrote and the reasoning is understandable. With this release, this is a very angry kind of album and you can even detect that anger in the vocals of James Hetfield. Other than the ballad start on the song “One” much of the album is filled with long riffing passages and it is mostly thrash metal on the album. When it comes to the instrumental song “To Live is to Die” Cliff Burton actually receives co-writing credit on this song because the bass lines for this song were a melody of unused bass recordings that Burton had played prior to his death.

"Dyers Eve" With Enhanced Bass Guitar

Favorite Song On ...And Justice for All

"Harvester of Sorrow"

Final Thoughts About ...And Justice for All

Overall ...And Justice for All is a brilliant thrash metal masterpiece that really has no flaws in it other than the tuned down bass guitar in the mix. This album easily beats Slayer’s South of Heaven album. Metallica can play with speed and make it work out really well and be creative and that’s another reason why they are the greatest American heavy metal band of all time. …And Justice for All should be admired by metal fans worldwide as one the greatest heavy metal albums of all time, maybe even in the top 10 of all time. Metallica put their hearts and minds into their work and that effort shows with this album. Not enough has been discussed about Eye of the Beholder as this song builds up gradually and it is pretty much the only mid-tempo song in this album other than “Harvester of Sorrow.” This one has a really good melody line with James Hetfield providing a very memorable lyrical line in which he sings “Harvester of Sorrow (Language of the mad).” The song that we mentioned is a politically based song that questions some of the ideals that were part of this country such as freedom of speech. ...And Justice for All is the very first heavy metal album that I ever heard and it is still memorable even in 2022. The songs on this album may be very long ones but the way in which they are constructed makes the difference. Even though the bass guitar cannot be heard on the album, the greatness of this album makes the bass guitar almost not even needed. This album is definitely one that Cliff Burton would have loved.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2016 Ara Vahanian

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