Review by MartinDavey87 for Metallica - ...and Justice for All (1988)
It's 2001 and I'm 14 years-old, new to the world of metal, and a huge Megadeth fan (or so I thought...). They'd just released their album 'The World Needs a Hero', in which they went "back to their metal roots" (every band goes through this phase). Tuning into Kerrang TV, they were midway through a video that, for whatever reason, I suspected it may have been Megadeth's video for 'Moto Psycho'. It was heavy, it was aggressive, and I was headbanging to it with my measly one inch of hair which I couldn't wait to grow longer. I also couldn't wait to get the new Megadeth album because this song kicked ass!
Except, it was Metallica's 'One'.
2001 was an exciting year for a 14 year-old metal fan living in the UK. With the nu metal scene having completely taken over the world, no doubt with huge thanks to the few channels that had popped up on TV dedicated to rock music, the genre was rife with bands such as Linkin Park, Korn, Slipknot and Limp Bizkit. However, despite all the bands that were tearing up the charts, it was Metallica's '...And Justice For All' that I was seriously digging. I loved the ten-minute songs with two-minute intros. I loved the complex arrangements with constant shifts in dynamics. I loved the guitar harmonies. I loved it all!
There's no denying the influence this had on me around that period of my life. Eventually leading me to progressive metal, a genre this album arguably had a huge hand in influencing in its infancy, bands like Dream Theater and Symphony X just seemed like the next logical step from here. Intricately crafted guitar riffs, harmonies and solos, with some of Lars Ulrich's most challenging drumming (which, fair play to the guy, he may have a rather limited skill set, but he sure busts his chops on this one), make this Metallica's most ambitious album, with the band themselves often citing how this was the most complex stuff they'd done.
The production is often criticized, but I was too young to care about such trivial things when I first got this record, so I find myself unfazed by it now. In fact, I find the sound, which comes across as very dry and gritty, sets the mood perfectly for this incredibly dark and bleak album. And with songs like 'One', 'Blackened', 'Harvester of Sorrow', 'Dyers Eve' and 'The Frayed Ends of Sanity', this is an absolute classic that belongs in the collection of any metal fan.