…And Justice for All

Back in 1988, I thought I’d totally lucked out. I got a job writing for the Daily Texan, the UT-Austin student paper, and worked in the entertainment department. Instead of writing hard-hitting journalism pieces about the news of the day, I got to type in club listings for the weekend guide and do record reviews. That last part meant free vinyl.

One of the albums I scored as a review copy was Metallica’s …And Justice for All. I was so thrilled about it, since I really enjoyed Metallica’s previous work. I got it home, unwrapped it and…

Uh…

I got excited about it because I was supposed to be excited about it. I was a kid, I didn’t know what I was doing, really. The album rocked, but there was no bass to it. It sounded tinny most of the time. The rhythms were complicated and, frankly, distracting. “Shortest Straw” was really annoying. I remember hating that and I remember a bunch of friends getting after someone that said he liked that song. “One” was pretty cool, but took forever to get through. I gave the album an overall good review then, but…

I can’t stand by that anymore. It’s 22 years later and I have no intention of ripping it to MP3 or buying it on CD. I don’t even want to get a bootleg MP3 version of it. I don’t want to dust it off and relive old times with it. Reading over the track list, I feel a lot of “meh” towards it. I remember one of the songs had a stupid “Oh-Wee-Oh” part to it, but I can’t be bothered to try and find it.

So many people put this on their list of awesome albums, but I feel like that’s only because Metallica made it. If anyone else but Metallica had turned in a turgid collection of overly-long songs with poor production, it would have been consigned to the cut-out bin. To me, this album proves that Metallica’s been pretty much dead from the neck up since they lost Cliff Burton. I can’t really give this album any more than a 2 out of 10 since I could listen to it again if I had to, but I have absolutely no desire to do so. I only reviewed this album because it caught my eye in my collection and I remembered how I always regretted giving it a good review when I first got it.

1 thought on “…And Justice for All

  1. Scott Meikle

    While I agree with the fact that after Metallica lost Burton they where forever changed to in my opinion a husk of their former glory, and justice for all was not really the point that I consider to be their falling out. When And justice for all was written Burton was still alive and well and had a huge part int writing it, which is most likely why I like the songs I do like on the album. The only songs that I think are really worth their salt on the album are Blackened, ..And Justice for All, and One. While these songs aren’t really anything compared to Master of Puppets, my personal favorite Metallica album, they are decent pieces of music. The guitar riff of the title track is catchy to the point of being addictive, and the guitar solo in one is in my opinion one of the better ones of their entire catalog.

    However, this album did lose to Jethro Tull for the grammy for best metal performance. Of course this could be seen as a testament to the extent the grammy awards’ lack of insight to the public opinion, but that’s just splitting hairs. Overall I agree with the your opinions on how it’s not their best album, but in comparison with anything they made after this album it’s infinitely better. With the passing of Burton so left Metallica’s progressive influence and darker undertones that made them so interesting, and more than just another metal band. While the album compared with it’s predecessors isn’t anything amazing, it still has at least 3 of the songs worth taking out and putting on your metal shuffle list.

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