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Review of and Justice for All: One of the Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time

Updated on August 13, 2018
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Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is looking to always explore his writing opportunities.

And Justice For All the Front Album Cover

The cover depicts a person that is obsessed with money and he has been corrupted because of it. Capitalism has been criticized by many as being a system that is unjust. The album's title is appropriate because it addresses a few important life themes
The cover depicts a person that is obsessed with money and he has been corrupted because of it. Capitalism has been criticized by many as being a system that is unjust. The album's title is appropriate because it addresses a few important life themes

Track Listing for And Justice for All

  1. Blackened
  2. And Justice of All
  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: An Album With an Important Message

Metallica’s 1988 melodic 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 with tons of melody and another instrumental song in it. 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 All was 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. (Note: for those that are interested in listening to great songs with a similar theme, check out Sacred Reich’s 1990 classic The American Way).

A Photo of 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. | Source

The First Album Without the Great Cliff Burton

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.

The Significance of 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 EP in 1994. The Metallica influence has spread over to Europe where heavy metal is outstanding and popular.

The Song called To Live is to Die

One Great Reason to Really Love Metallica as a Band: 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. The next song that we might be able to consider a power ballad is probably the song called The Day That Never Comes. Maybe this is ironic or not, but Metallica would not return to their thrash metal roots until 2008’s Death Magnetic.

I mention love of the United States and that is hard to do these days with the political turmoil going on in the country but back in 1988, the United States as a country was one of the top nations in the world for heavy metal.

The Song Called Blackened

Metallica's Best Album

Is And Justice For All Metallica's Best Album?

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One: A Truly Great Power Ballad

And Justice For All and Even More Reasons Why Metallica is So Brilliant

It brings me to tears reviewing this album because it makes me feel so thankful that these guys are still playing great music after 35 years. While Dave Mustaine was busy firing members and dealing with his drug addiction, Metallica was making their mark on the heavy metal scene and rising in status. With Harvester of Sorrow, Metallica demonstrates that they can be great while playing a little slower. James Hetfield lets out a little grunt and this is one of those songs that has the ability to energize you. To Live is to Die is the third long instrumental in Metallica’s career however it is not as good as Orion. Which instrumental would even come close to matching that one? I say no instrumental has ever come close to matching the brilliance and greatness of Orion, not even Sacred Reich’s awesome 1993 song If Only. There is spoken part by James in To Live is to Die and there is also a violin part in the middle of the song mixed in with the guitar to create a brilliant piece of a long song. These guys know how to write songs that become memorable even many years later. The album ends with the extremely fast Dyers Eve. Metallica has even influenced Jeff Waters who would experiment with super speed in songs such as Phantasmagoria and Reaction.

And Justice For All: A Top Ten Album

Overall, And Justice for All is a brilliant melodic thrash metal masterpiece that really has no flaws in it. Is it the band’s best album of all time? You could certainly make the case that it is if you are into thrash metal that is melodic as heck. 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.

Even if many fans of Metallica say that Master of Puppets is their finest album, And Justice for All would not be too far behind. If only they could have ever solved the issue with the bass guitar in this album I would be able to give this album 100 points out of 100.

Top songs in And Justice for All:

  • Blackened
  • One
  • The Shortest Straw
  • To Live is to Die
  • Dyers Eve

The Great Fast Song Dyers Eve

© 2016 Ara Vahanian


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