Wowzers! Got And Justice For All this past Christmas(2016) from my Vinyl Loving Daughter Lexie! Thanks a bunch Lex!
Lets step inside and go back in Deke’s Time Machine to August of 1988 when I was a soon to be 21-year-old still scooping everything Metal!
The hype for this record at the time was Huge as Metallica with And Justice being there 4th album was a term we say nowadays “Trending Upwards” after 1986’s Masters Of Puppets had sold a bunch as people were expecting huge things and huge things were delivered by the Men Of Metallica!
That summer of 88 Metallica were playing on the North American Monsters Of Rock tour featuring Headliner Van Halen/Scorpions/Dokken and Kingdom Come.
Dokken on this tour was in shambles and they had to follow Metallica every night. So picture this for a second. Here’s Metallica bringing teenage angst to the masses in these stadium shows playing tracks like Battery/Creeping Death leaving the audience wanting to break things or each other than Don Dokken and Curious George follow that by playing the big Power Ballad Alone Again! Haha…
Betcha those Dokken guy’s were sulking big time every night when they walked off the stage realizing they got there asses handed to them by having Metallica lay down the Metal Law night after night before them.
So I purchased this upon release and quite quickly began spinning it and not before too long my younger brother Todd who was at the old ripe age of 11 at this time(1988) took a total shine to this record and it’s still one of those albums he recalls fondly when we talk Rock or should I say METAAAAAAL!
So James/Lars/Kirk and New Dude Jason. We all know there last names and what instruments they play Blah Blah Blah so let’s skip that silliness and delve into some of the tracks….
No. Title Music Length
1. “Blackened” Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Jason Newsted 6:40
2. “…And Justice for All” Hetfield, Ulrich, Kirk Hammett 9:44
3. “Eye of the Beholder” Hetfield, Ulrich, Hammett 6:25
4. “One” Hetfield, Ulrich 7:24
5. “The Shortest Straw” Hetfield, Ulrich 6:35
6. “Harvester of Sorrow” Hetfield, Ulrich 5:42
7. “The Frayed Ends of Sanity” Hetfield, Ulrich, Hammett 7:40
8. “To Live Is to Die” Hetfield, Ulrich, Burton 9:48
9. “Dyers Eve” Hetfield, Ulrich, Hammett 5:12
Total length: 65:17
Spread out over Two albums and this album I love front to back not only in the songs(more on that later) but the look as it was kinda like an anti somewhat metal looking like cover with the whole Lady Liberty blindfolded and it reeks of corruption/filth/dollar bills flying around. It’s just a cool cover love the colours. Dig the graffiti like spray of the album title in the bottom right hand corner. Total eye catcher….
Still recall picking this up the day of its release as the hype as I mentioned earlier was huge. It was a hot August day when I bought this album and after making a stop at a local convience store to snag the latest copy of Kerrang it was home and a drop of the needle was in order!
The first few bars of album opener Blackened just blew me away as it was a pile driver of a track right out of the gate. Lars drums were huge. James and Kirks guitars were loud. New Dude Jason. Where’s your Bass? Ha ..it’s there but kinda buried under the drums and guitars. Razzing the new guy? Who knows for sure but kinda crazy that the bass is somewhat laid back but perhaps James/Kirk and Lars from what I read in the past were still dealing with the death of Bassist Cliff Burton in 1986 and with drink n drugs floating around I’m sure this didn’t help Jason’s cause! Too be totally honest here I originally thought my vinyl was screwed as the bass was dialed in low..hahaha….silly 20 year old me at the time!
Must mention what the charm for me and this album is not only for the fact that Metallica is at the time writing 5-10 minute songs but the production is dry and think about this for a second as in 1988 it was bands with huge album sounds and 3-4 Radio Friendly Tailor Made Radio Tracks (I’m not naming names!) so kudos to producer Flemming Rasmussen who was brought back to tidy up and produce this album after original producer Mike Clink got fired.
1988 and a Double Album with the exception of Side 3, Two tracks per side! Also interesting to see in the credits that James is credited with Rhythm Guitars and Kirk with just Lead Guitar. I recall reading at the time that was how they recorded this album. Kinda interesting way of doing things but for this band its Colonel Lars and Captain James!
…And Justice For All the title track is the second and last track on Side 1! Clocking in well at over 9 minutes this song is driven by Lar’s drumming which suffice to say is complex and even the lyrics about social injustice and the environment is crazy as these guys are partying hard at every turn but still taking the craft seriously! That’s saying something!
Eye Of The Beholder with its military like mash-up of drums and guitars take a shot at the mainstream music and censorship at the time the PMRC. Do you remember all that silliness? Stickering albums as offensive and making Kids wanting music that was offensive even more….
MuchMusic here in Canada went squirrelly like I’m sure MTV did in the States when Metallica released the video for One. MuchMusic premiered one night and yup I was home to record it on VHS as this was big news as these guys were the last known holdouts from making a video and when this video was shown everyone went bat shit crazy over it… not your typical video either(no happy joy joy ) as there was no editing involved so it was the full tune. Once again I love when the guitars and drums do that military like mashup. So heavy yet pure brilliance as well!
Shortest Straw leads off the second album and it’s a full-out sonic brawl. Straight ahead blistering Metal. The lyrics when you follow them you know James was taking them seriously. Than again I always mention that it blew my mind he was writing lyrics to songs like Fade To Black in 1984!
Huge guitars lead the way with Harvester Of Sorrow. Another stomper of a track that they still play to this day! Great solo in this tune by Kirk.
The Frayed Ends Of Sanity. What a great title! Lars goes off the rails with his drumming on this one. More guitars/More Drums/More Bass…ummm ok maybe not so much Bass but it’s there……kinda buried under an avalanche of Hetfield rhythm’s!
How about a 9 minute plus musical tribute to Cliff and call it To Live Is To Die a mixture of classical guitar and metallic stomps and it’s a deep long track. Cliff would have been proud ….
The album ends with Dyers Eve which features an all out assault on guitars and drums. If you think Tallica was gonna the end the album on a chill note. Think again….This song is HEAVY!
There ya have it folk’s! 1988 and Metallica step up and do what no bands were doing in 1988 and for one thing that’s a double studio album filled with vocals/riffs/more riffs and drums! How about the length of the tunes! Blitzkrieg!
Too be honest when I first got this back in 1988 like I have said a few other times that there was so much music out that it was hard to devote a full 100 percent to anything as bands were putting out stuff it seemed like every two weeks.
This album was complete grower on me and here we are like 29 years later and I appreciate this album more now than I did back in 88!
Kudos to James/Jason/Kirk and Lars on this album….