Monday, February 10, 2020

Album Review: ...And Justice for All by Metallica

Today I'm bringing back weekly album reviews from my CD
collection, and I wanted to start the second run with a bang.

That's why today we're looking at one of my all-time favorites...

...And Justice for All is a classic album. I don't think anybody would disagree with that. Nearly every time that Justice is mentioned people on the internet will loudly proclaim that this album is a tragedy of poor production, and they're probably right. But the production of an album is not what makes it good or bad. Nobody listens to Metallica because they want to hear the best metal mixing and mastering. They listen because they want to hear the best metal band ever play the best metal songs ever, and if the bass is buried and the guitars sound flat, who really cares?

At this point I don't remember how I first listened to ...And Justice for All. I do, however, remember listening to the popular bass-boosted remix known as "...And Justice for Jason", which probably sounded even worse than the original album. As I started to become more and more interested in Metallica, AJFA quickly became my favorite album. The fourth track, "One", is also probably my favorite song of all time, or at least when it was my favorite I loved it more than I had loved any song before or possibly since. When I look back on my favorite albums of my teenage years, ...And Justice for All was probably up there the longest. Taylor Swift's Fearless is the other contender for my #1 spot, although I'm not sure a direct comparison is worth anyone's time. I don't really think about the time in my life when I was a huge Metallica fan often anymore. I'm still a fan of the band, although my interests have shifted significantly since then. I guess you could say my high school self and my present self are not really on speaking terms at the moment.

...And Justice for All features nine songs, the shortest of which is still over five minutes long. Every song is incredibly over-the-top with riff after riff, solo after solo, and some of James Hetfield's best vocal performances ever. This album is dense, technical, and grooves harder than any other Metallica album. It isn't easy to make an album like that emotional, and yet it is. Anger, grief, and strong discontentment all describe the emotional style of the album. ...And Justice for All is an incredible combination of most of my favorite musical elements that I don't think can all be found in one place anywhere else. I think it's impossible for me to overstate my enthusiasm for this album while I was in high school.

All of that was just a longwinded way to say I give ...And Justice for All all five stars, and "One" is easily my favorite track.

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