Queen said that "only the good die young". Such was the case with Randy
Rhoads, and, sad to say, with Cliff Burton. That
fateful night in Scandinavia saw the end of an era of Metallica
: the "old" era.
Musically, the band has changed with this album as well. This album is One of the darkest Metallica
albums ever. Perhaps it is the poor quality, One of the main reasons elitists hate this album. I have no idea why, since you also love black metal, which generally has even worse quality than ...And Justice for All
. So what's the deal, huh? How come they can get away with poor quality, but Metallica
couldn't, even though they weren't a house-hold name at this time?
The first thing you'll notice, aside from the poor quality and bass guitar thrown behind the back of the audio mix (the band hazing Cliff's replacement Jason Newsted
), is that the songs on this album are long! If you don't like long songs, it will probably bore you. That
is why the band doesn't play many songs from this album, because they obviously saw too many of you dozing off during their concerts. It's surely not because the songs are "too hard" to play, because they've recently played select songs from this album in full...and this is when they're older, when you lot think they suck.
But, back to the album. Track
number One, "Blackened
", is a break-neck thrash song, similar in feel to "Battery
", about nuclear holocaust, or some kind of total annihilation. After two verses and two choruses, the song changes pace and has a heavy mid-section ending with the chilling statements "True
death of life" and "See our mother die." The title track begins with an almost classical guitar-sounding intro, courtesy of James Hetfield. It's a little over two minutes of heavy Riffs
before the vocals come in, and once they do, what we see is the secret of Megadeth
's success. Jealous of the success of this album (which it was successful), Dave made his lyrical refrain politics for the majority of his albums...and I know this is true because Wizard
in Peace came out in 1990, long after ...And Justice for All
had been released and fully toured. No offense, I like both bands well and good.
"Eye of the Beholder
" is another political track with a sweet dueling solo, but the theme of the song is something that metal-heads should realize, for the words of James Hetfield are now becoming fulfilled in the behavior of our sub-genre.
of choice is made for you, my friend
of speech is words that they will bend
with their exception"
The most famous track off this album is "One", the story of the soldier trapped in his own body, blind, deaf, numb and not even capable of knowing whether he is aLive
or dead. In regards to "slow" songs, its mid-paced, though mostly played on clean guitars except for the choruses, but once the first solo (or was it the second?) finishes, the song explodes to full heaviness, only to fade out and erupt into something that, by now, has been dilapidated into cliche, but at the time was the spawn of Slayer
: break-downs. The "Darkness
" break-down is perhaps the best and most well-known song, One that we've all come to know, love and start moshing and head-banging to once we hear the E string pounded away. But wait, there's more guitar solos! Kirk
Hammett and his tapping is a feature well-used on this album, and it kicks ass on this song, as do the dueling solo.
Now we come to my favorite song. The intro riffage to "The Frayed Ends of Sanity" is played atop the ominous "March of the Winkies" chant from the classic film The Wizard
of Oz, before it explodes to life with heavy, fast Riffs
and lyrics about going insane! More Riffs
, more tapping, more shredding, more insanity and at seven minutes and forty-eight seconds, it's by no means too long! The really cool thing, though, is that, by reason of the ominous chanting at the beginning of the track, I (and maybe some of you too) associate this song with the Wizard
of Oz. What's even cooler is that this song came out in 1988, seven years before author Gregory
Maguire reinvented the classic villain of said story in his novel (re-made into a famous Broadway
musical) Wicked as insane...the theme of this epic Metallica
I would love to go on about how good "Harvester of Sorrow
s" is, and the sorrow we see in "To Live
is to Die
", or even what Metallica
happened to sum up in the shortest track "Dyer's Eve". But I'll leave that for others. They're good tracks, the lot of them, a testament to the skill of this band. I have trouble making songs up to six minutes long, and they made a whole album with no song shorter than five minutes. Damn, I wanna do that!
In regards to the band's skill, James is still growling and Kirk
is still shredding, in addition to his tapping and, as we see in "Dyer's Eve", the beginning of his usage of the dreaded wah pedal! (lol). Lars' drumming is much of the same from the last three albums, so I guess that is good. As for Jason Newsted
, you can't hear him on this album because the other band members, in the hazing process, turned his bass all the way down in the mix. So yeah, no bass solos from him. Aside from his backing vocals, also absent from this album, and the energy he put into this band (he said that he always gave 500% to Metallica
), his skill means that, as far as the bass goes, Metallica
is finally on par with Dave Ellefson of Megadeth
. (sorry, just had to throw that in there. Jason
is good, but he's only equal to Ellefson in skill as a pick-player).
I would not say this is the best album ever, but its definitely the darkest, due to what was going on in the life of the band. Fortunately, they forged ahead, showing that not even death could stop the Metallica
monster. Whether you like that, or whether you think they should have given up, like Led Zeppelin
did when their drummer OD'd, you've got to admit that there is merit in this album and it deserves justice.