Metallica

GhostofCain

Ancient Mariner
Apparently, Dave doesn't lose his iPhone with 150 riffs on it either... because he hasn't ever had that much in store. ;)

:lol: :lol: :lol:

I might open an official petition to keep Dave Murray out of the songwriting of next Maiden's album. Steve: there is no need to give Davey a songwriting credit to keep some kind of quota when the song in question is just going to be an amalgamation of different ideas that have been arranged in a haphazard way.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Okay, I gave AJFA another listen, but this time in the form of the YouTube upload '...And Justice For Jason', which boots up the bass a ton and while it's a little loud, I definitely prefer it over the original mix. If no one has any objections, I'll be basing my review on that version and leaving discussion over production with regards to the mixing of the album completely out. It's an album that gets better with a second listen and feels more "full" with the louder bass and I want to give the songs as much "justice" (no pun really intended) as I can.
 

Ruflux

Ancient Mariner
I have a small objection: not only is that version far, far overboosted on the bass department and thus sounds like shit, it's not even Jason playing on most of the tracks. It's a worthless fanmade mix made by someone who has no idea what they were doing.

That said if you don't really wanna get into the production of AJFA I don't think anyone's going to object. Personally, I find the only tolerable redone mix of any AJFA song is Moderus' version of Blackened with the bass boosted just enough to be audible without affecting the other instruments:

 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
I have a small objection: not only is that version far, far overboosted on the bass department and thus sounds like shit, it's not even Jason playing on most of the tracks. It's a worthless fanmade mix made by someone who has no idea what they were doing.
Fair assessment. I wouldn’t call it perfect by any means (the loud bass in the quiet parts of “One” almost kill that part), but it makes it more bearable to my ears and should make rating the songs a little more natural.
 

Ruflux

Ancient Mariner
I don't think James is that difficult to deal with behind the scenes. I find this snippet from an interview with Dave Pickerel (blender of Blackened) to be pretty telling:
I think the well known documentary Some Kind of Monster may just make an argument that the opposite is true. James has talked about it before and he's admitted he was a really terrible person before he went to rehab. There's hints of it scattered all around in all of the behind-the-scenes stuff from the 90s and on the aforementioned film, but the way he's talked about it makes me think all of that is just scratching the surface.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
I think the well known documentary Some Kind of Monster may just make an argument that the opposite is true. James has talked about it before and he's admitted he was a really terrible person before he went to rehab. There's hints of it scattered all around in all of the behind-the-scenes stuff from the 90s and on the aforementioned film, but the way he's talked about it makes me think all of that is just scratching the surface.
True, yes. I was moreso talking about the current state of the band, i.e. since Jason left. Back in the old days I think it was more of a 50/50 dictatorship between James and Lars, with James probably being the more irrational one. But since rehab I think James has taken a huge backseat in terms of "leading" the band, it's all Lars. You can see it in every video they've posted in the last however many years. James is a much quieter, happier person. He's not trying to dominate the band in any way like he used to. Lars is a natural organizer and nitpicker and control freak, it's just who he is. Now he runs the show until James says, "Wait a minute," and then James takes over until he's made his point.
 

SixesAlltheway

Ancient Mariner
I never had a problem with the sound of AJFA honestly. It fits the album I think but maybe thats because that's just how I'm used to hearing it. I don't remember it ever being a problem haha.
 

Collin

New Tool is coming!
I never had a problem with the sound of AJFA honestly. It fits the album I think but maybe thats because that's just how I'm used to hearing it. I don't remember it ever being a problem haha.
It's an iconic sound, there's no other Metallica album that is instantly recognizable in that regard. Sure it could have more bass, but it doesn't bother me that bad. If we want to have a conversation about Metallica and bad production, just listen to St. Anger.
 

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
AFJA sounds far better when the bass is enhanced. Not talking about the ones where bass is ridiculously loud, the more balanced ones.

One's second part goes to another level when the bass is audible. Much heavier.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
...And Justice For All (1988)



1. Blackened - Hit play, and the first thing that comes in is a rising backwards guitar melody that's a pretty cool way to start the album. Then you get a drum hit and the riff kicks in, the drums smack down and forward through a blistering riff section before we get to the actual verse. James seems to be focused less on singing and more on being imposing, which is fine on this song but not so much on others. The verse is kinda simplistic but it works well enough. It's the chorus that's actually the highlight of the song, with possibly the best James vocals on the entire album. It's great. Another round through and we slow down to get to the lengthy bridge which is also a bit simplistic but at the same stretch it's pretty sinister because of that very fact. Then we get to the instrumental section, where the dual guitars work together quite well as they start to rise up before the lead takes over. It's not a solo that's going at hyperspeed and it works well enough. Then we hit the faster bit again and this time the solo is a bit more blinding. Then it's a bit of riffing before we come back to the verse and finally to that great chorus as the song comes to an end. I've been thinking long and hard about what to give this song, because I think it's easily one of the best tracks on the album, but I don't think they quite nailed it on the studio version (been watching the Seattle '89 concert from Live Shit: Binge & Purge and I think it works a little better there). Thus it gets a point down, but I really do love that chorus. 9/10

2. ...And Justice For All - A pretty nice, calm, quiet opening to this massive near-ten-minute song before the guitars and drums crack down on the listener. The guitars carry the same melody as that from the opening but with more heaviness, and then we change up into what appears to be going faster, but we aren't actually. The drums calm down a bit and actually I think it sounds pretty cool. This new melody really does feel like you're walking down and money just flowing everywhere, kinda like the album cover is doing, so kudos for that. The verse comes in and it's still a bit simplistic and features an even more "tryin' to be tuff" James, but like with "Blackened", it isn't his worst performance on the album. The pre-chorus is pretty cool, though the ending where there's a split between "the price" and "you pay" seems a bit like filler, but whatever, it doesn't bother me that much. The chorus is pretty cool, though it takes some getting used to, but I do really like how the singing over the instruments sounds. After another round through, the drums start rat-tat-tatting and we come to the instrumental section, which isn't necessarily the best but I really like the guitars on this song in particular so I can get into it. Then we change up and come back to a heavier version of the melody we started this song with. After a run of that it's back to that "money" piece and the verse comes back in. The pre-chorus is still pretty strong and the chorus is stronger yet. Then we come back to the money riff which has a higher-pitch this time, the final part of the chorus exits us from the scene, and then we make our way out of the halls of justice and back to the light. This song is a doozy. It's the longest thing Metallica have released up to this point and easily the most audacious, but a lot of it does feel like they were just trying to pad the runtime. That said, with multiple listens to this monster I've found it increasingly interesting as to how it doesn't feel like the near ten minutes it is. It actually doesn't, it feels shorter somehow. I mean, most Metallica songs are like that, since they aren't epics in the normal sense and more typical songs that are just longer than the rest. And this one really walks on a thin line, but with that being said... it's a grower. It's a song that isn't perfect but there's always something here that can drag you back in for the umpteenth time, and for that I really enjoy it. Like I said, not perfect by any means, but it's a really good song despite that. Good job for trying to write a monster and coming out with something that's pretty dang impressive. I'm excited to hear how it sounds live too when I get that far in the live thing. ;tldr long song that needs multiple listens to get. 9/10

3. Eye of the Beholder - A pounding riff fades up from the abyss and I quite like this build-up. It's quite immense. The slight change-up I don't like as much. When the song actually gets going it's kinda... bland. Not a fan of the verse, either. It's just... average IMO. The change-up to the pre-chorus isn't that great and neither is the pre-chorus itself. The change-up to the chorus is worse. The chorus is a little better but it just feels weak to me. I get what they're going for with these lyrics, but I don't think they fully nailed the topic. Another round through and it feels weaker than it did the first time. The first solo is pretty interesting because it sounds like something off of a Maiden record, maybe SSOASS or what the band would do four years later with Fear of the Dark. The second solo is kinda like Mercyful Fate, which is also cool. Alas, the solos are basically the only thing this song has going for it. Another round through and it still doesn't get any better, and ending the the song with the pre-chorus is a fail. This one screams "filler", and not even the good kind. It's Metallica throwing shit together and not well. Bland, bland song, and it isn't even the worst on the album. 4/10

4. One - Opening this song with the sound of guns and shouting - war - is so brilliant, and then that incredible guitar piece comes in and takes it to the next level. The drums come in eventually and the whole thing lasts for almost two minutes and it's just so good. James sounds great with the low notes in the verse, and then the whole thing lets rip with what I'll dub the chorus as the heavy stuff comes in. They it's back to the smooth, lucid verse again. Another bit of heaviness and then we get a cool little solo thing before the chorus erupts again. Then the starts starts building up with its new boost of heaviness and we reach that iconic machine gun drumming piece. It lets off for a sec before the guitars start firing on all cylinders and we get that incredible bridge in which James starts shouting about his afflictions. Another round of that and we get to a faster bit with some nice rat-tat-tatting from the drums at intervals. The solo is really noodly, but it's also one of Kirk's best. It just sounds so damn good, especially in the context of the song. We follow it for a bit before we go right back to riffing and we get a nice rising guitar piece that I quite like. We follow this riff-fest out and the song ends after one last drum beat down. "One" is probably one of my Top 5 most-listened-to Metallica songs. It was one of the first I ever heard, and I didn't think anything of it that first time because I wasn't yet used to metal. From the next listen and onward this song has just been immense. It's the kind of thing that doesn't have to blow your mind to realize that it's really, really great, and it's easily the best thing this album has to offer. Everything from the opening to the ending is solid perfection, and it's possibly the strongest of their "ballad" songs yet. (I may like "Sanitarium" better, though, not sure yet.) I don't think anyone will find it unreasonable to give this song nothing less than a flat-out 10/10.

5. The Shortest Straw - A pretty cool opening leads to a mindless beat which lasts for a little bit before the song gets a little faster after a pretty mindless change-up. The verse is simplistic again this time and feels a bit underwhelming on top of that. The chorus here is just wow, so. fucking. no. James's whole toughness shtick reaches its max right here and the lyrics just sound so weak the way he's singing him. The pronunciation of "shortest strawwwww" and everything that rhymes with that is just a big no from me, folks. And then the part where it goes "pulled for you SHORTEST STRAWWWWW" is just eugghgghghg. Another round before we hit the instrumental section. The solo is fine, but nothing outstanding per se. Then we get that fucking chorus piece again before the verse comes back. Another round before we finally see this thing out. It's funny, a lot of this song feels like it could have worked if only the band were able to find the right form of assembly, and if James was focusing on his singing skills, but the end product is just laughable. It's easily the worst thing on the album and probably worse than "Seek & Destroy" (though honestly it isn't as boring as that song is). I like the idea of talking about this subject - I hear it's inspired by the Red Scare of the '50s, which is a really, really interesting topic - but this just doesn't come together. 3/10

6. Harvester of Sorrow - A loud opening before we get a cool little guitar thing that seems calmer and quieter but is surrounded by madness all the same. The song is really plodding here and the drums aren't going anywhere, but I guess that's what they intended. The whole thing goes on for over a minute before we start actually moving and hit the verse. One thing I like about this song is the story it tells, about an abused kid growing up and killing everyone. It's kinda cool. The pre-chorus is solid, as is the chorus itself. I still don't get why there are start-and-stop bits in this song, it kinda kills what's going on. It's shocking too because this is one of the shortest songs on the damn album and it's slower than everything else. That's not a bad thing necessarily. I like how it feels like a combine harvester making its slow and steady path through a field, or this harvester making his way through a house. I do like that quite a lot. The instrumental section is probably the best example of this, really feel like a reaping machine going through made of metal and blood. It's a weird song to release as a single but hey, I guess they felt this was the best way to showcase the new release. At any rate, this is another song that took some listens to get, but unlike the title track, I still think it's a bit weak. Another one that works better live. Still, it's good, just not necessarily great. 7/10

7. The Frayed Ends of Sanity - A crashing opening with a trudging drum and WHAT THE FUCK. Who the hell thought that adding the chant the flying monkeys sing in The Wizard of Oz was a good idea? Yikes, terrible way to start a song with. Thankfully everything else is better. The verse isn't outstanding though, and that pre-chorus doesn't knock anything out of the park. That said, the chorus is great. The way James sings it it's actually pretty good. Not a fan of how it changes from "frayed ends of sanity" to "hear them calling". It doesn't feel fully developed there, but like I said, the rest of the chorus is great. The instrumental section is honestly pretty great (although the solo isn't that outstanding). I really think that this song was on the verge of being something special, but some less-than-great choices in the execution stopped it from reaching that. Still, there's that goddamn chorus which I love... for its sake, I'll round up, because it's one of the best moments on the whole album. 7/10

8. To Live Is To Die - If you thought the title track was long, well... here's one that's even longer. By all of two seconds!! We open with a pretty nice acoustic intro that I quite like and then the heavier piece comes up from it and... I guess it was a good idea on paper, but not so much in execution, because it's one of the dumbest editing choices on this whole album IMO. Anyway, the actual riff is pretty cool and I like it. There's some plodding stuff that's pretty nice too and I like the rising bit of the riff that comes next. Then there's a trudging bit that comes in, and then to an even heavier piece of the original riff. Some more faster-paced stuff and then we get an interesting (but not mindblowing) solo thing. Then we come back to the riff as it morphs into another cool section with a mournful guitar sound that I think is really cool. Then everything stops and that same sound comes back, only much quieter, in a cool piece that is a surprisingly solid choice and better than the previous cut I criticized. It rises up a bit as drums come back in and we get another solo which is a bit better than the previous one. Then the heavier guitar comes back in and it beefs this winding river of sorrow up a bit. Then it progressively gets a little faster before it slows down and we return to the main riff with some of bits of poetry from the hands of Paul Gerhardt and Cliff Burton. It doesn't sound that great on top of the music, but it works well. Then we follow our winding river on its way out as acoustic guitar comes back in, and I still think this cut is kinda stupid. We end the band's longest song yet with that. I think this song pulls off a lot of what it attempts, but the execution isn't perfect along the way. It's definitely weaker than the instrumentals from the previous two albums, but it's still fairly strong overall. I think I'll round down for some of the choices made along the way because instead of ironing this thing out, they ruffle it up. Solid song though. 7/10

9. Dyers Eve - We move right from that acoustic piece straight into this wildly thrashy song that attempts to recapture the speed of "Blackened". I don't really like this speedy-for-the-sake-of-speed kind of riff, but the verse is pretty cool. The letter style of lyricism is strong, and you can tell that James is really letting loose with it. The refrain here is actually pretty great, but it doesn't stick around long enough IMO. The solo here is noodly as all fuck, but it's actually pretty strong nonetheless. There's a better riff piece backing the bridge, and then we head back into the verse one final time before the song ends. I think this is a really interesting song with a lot of pieces I like, but like the last three, the execution isn't outstanding. The mindless riff that ties everything together just really isn't my thing, and weakens what would be otherwise a pretty great track. Still, this is a pretty solid closer and makes for a nice breath of fresh air on an album that can get dull throughout, so far that, I can round up. 7/10

...And Justice For All is a massive album with a bunch of great ideas, but executing them all seems to be the issue here. Some parts to the assembly feel pretty stupid, and there are two obvious filler tracks that feel like Metallica writing shit up off the spot and putting it together with that frame of mindset. Yet at the same time, with a bit more polish, this could have been a really, really good album. As it is, it's merely a "good but not great" album that's a bit too much for itself. I like the idea of adding some prog aspects to the music, but Maiden have pulled that off much better than they have. For all its sins, though, AJFA is a better album than the debut and worth coming back to more than that album.

Rating: 70%
 
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