Everyone has a record which shaped them as a person, a record which no matter how they change as a person throughout their lives, they can always go back to it and feel as endeared to it as they were the first time they played it.
And for me that record is …And Justice for All by the mighty Metallica.
I first picked this record up in around 2002, my friday nights at the time were always Headbangers Ball on MTV2 followed by WWF Raw – fantastic times; times which shaped my musical taste for life.
For those who are unfamiliar with Headbangers Ball, it was essentially a chart show which showcased the best Hard Rock & Metal from the 80’s up to the present, it was during this show my life was changed forever.
One was the first song I ever heard by Metallica – a mix of melancholy, brutality and melody – the Nu Metal of the time wasn’t close to achieving the level of songwriting that Metallica had achieved.
From this moment I was hooked and the next day I went to HMV to locate the song on one of the Metallica CD’s – bingo.
We’ll be looking my 3 favourite tracks from the album, so lets get stuck in.
The album begins with a swelling, droning melody – the multiple layers of guitars coming together to create a rich harmony piece – with some clever reversal production work to give it an otherworldly vibe.
Blackened then kicks into full flow with a driving beat and classic Thrash guitar riffs by Hetfield and Hammett. During the middle section of the song, it slows down into a heavy, rhythmic part with dual guitars, and a slow solo by Kirk Hammett, then it kicks back into a fast paced song with Kirk Hammett’s faster solo.
The song follows Metallica’s pattern of having a Thrash song as the first track on the album.the song progresses into a slow rhythmic breakdown.
The song talks about nuclear war, eradication of humanity, and complete destruction of the earth, as well as the loss of natural life. It deal with topics such as the world being plunged into frozen darkness – A nice jovial number to kick the album off.
…And Justice for all
The album’s title track …And Justice for All is begins with a clean dual guitar melody before pounding into more quintessential Thrash riffs and gravelly vocals – this song contains some of my favourite lead guitar work by the band; several dual guitar solos appear throughout and sound fantastic owing to the rich layering of the guitars in production.
The song addresses how money is becoming more important than justice, which is the basic theme of the entire album. Throughout the song, Hetfield can be heard saying that “Justice is raped”, referring to Lady Justice, who is on the cover of the album.
For the first 19 seconds of the song there are a series of sound effects with a battle theme, an artillery barrage and helicopter are heard and continues slightly over a clean tone guitar intro by Hetfield before Hammett comes in over the top with a clean-toned solo. The song speeds up after Ulrich’s drums come in and continues until each chorus, when the guitars become heavy and distorted before returning to clean. There is a second solo by Hammett halfway through the song, before lyrics cut out and the song gradually gets more heavy and distorted until the “machine gun” guitar build up (played alongside double bass drums) before the next, often highly praised, guitar solo by Hammett, and a final dual solo by Hammett and Hetfield.
But don’t take my word for it, re-live it for yourself below.
So the final album in a whirlwind 1980’s for Metallica was a strong one, with an arsenal of fast, melodic, technical, progressive material – the final entry into Metallica’s “thrash” era was one which many fans see as their favourite, myself included.
Keep checking the site for more Classics Corner content, which album would you like us to cover?
Keep it loud.