And justice for all- Yearly visit
One of my most anticipated albums of 1988 was of course Metallica's And justice for all. I remember going to the local Sound Waves the day it came out. There was a huge banner for it hanging out in front of the store and posters all in the store window. Oh, yes this was going to be a great day. I had been listening to the first three albums in the weeks leading up this release. I had seen them earlier in the Summer on the Monsters of rock tour and they had killed. I plunked down my cash for the cassette and clutched it tightly on the way to the car anticipating how great it was going to be. Then something happened, that being that the mighty Metallica had lost their way. I'll get into specific gripes in a minute, but needless to say I was shocked. What happened? How could this happen? My view of Metallica was changed from that day on. I have never come close to liking them as much as I did during the three years before that day. Anyways this leads me to an annual ritual I have whereby I take out And justice for all and give it another chance. Yes, I have been doing this for years to be fair and hoping it might click or at least that's what I thought up until a few years ago. Now I have kind of accepted that I am never going to embrace this album, but I still give it an annual play and try to really give it my attention.
Here are top complaints from 1988 about the album.
1-Most of it is far slower than it needs to be.
2-Several songs are way too long considering what little is going on during the time frame.
3-Where's the bass?
4-Going along with number three is the fact the production overall is very thin.
So over 22 and a half years later here's where I stand after my latest listen as I address the above concerns.
1-I still find this a problem. The power just isn't there and pace is part of it and so is number four, but still this album sorely needed some more speed and spirit to help it out.
2-Oh, definitely. Most of the songs are too long and this ties in with number one as well. They tried to write epics, but instead wrote a number long, boring songs. Yes, there is difference between epic and long and boring. However that's something Metallica didn't know and their lack of writing talent came to the surface on this album.
3-After who knows how many listens I still get stuck on this point. Indeed, why did you hire Newsted only to keep his talent hidden on his first full length effort with Metallica? Another bad decision.
4-There are times where the production is okay, but overall it fails the band. The writing has lot of problem so maybe even stellar production would not have made a difference. However the production on the previous two albums was great. So it was painfully obvious that something was lacking in this area. Even more so is that I've heard live recordings of some of these songs where they sound a lot better live and I think that shows the production here might have robbed this album of some steam.
Okay, not to be a total sourpuss I forced myself to come up with three things I like about this album.
1-Dyers Eve is a pretty good song and nice choice for a closer. Not sure if I like it because it's the fastest song or the shortest, but still I like it.
2-James Hetfield sounds decent overall and the production shortcomings didn't effect his vocals.
3-Blackened has potential. It's probably my second favorite song on the album and it has some moments, but a heavier production would have helped (I know I couldn't resist a little negative jab even here).
So there you go. I gave the album my annual listening actually two as I play it once in the car and then once through the computer with head phones. It's not a good album and it was and still is a disappointment, but I have given and will probably still give it at least one shot a year. Feel free to blast me or agree with me.