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Classic Album Review

Classis Album Review: Metallica – …And Justice For All

The fourth studio album from Metallica; recorded January – May at One on One Recording Studios in Las Angeles, California, and released on August 25, 1988 …And Justice for All (Elektra) amounted to the end of Thrash Metal as it was known at the time. Helping to mold the genre, Metallica, with this record, effectively brought it to its logical conclusion.

Not only was the album a natural progression of the band’s sound – starting with Kill ‘Em All (1983), through Ride the Lightening (1984) and Master of Puppets (1986) –  …And Justice for All was progressive metal (before there was such a thing). When Cliff Burton unexpectedly died in 1986, Metallica was searching for an outlet of sorts, I think, and with this record came an unleashing of rage and torment. It features staggering complexity, fast tempos, multiple time changes per track, eight or more riffs per track, and lyrics concerned with politics, the environment, legal injustice, censorship, and war. Jason Newsted was tapped for the bass position, though the final mix of the record nearly filtered him completely out. Blame for this fact flies all around, but I think it’s a sign of the struggle on behalf of Hetfield and Ulrich (and to some degree, Hammett) to cope.

Though the lyrical content of …Justice covered new ground, this record is all about the instruments! Specifically, nasty riffs, percussion, and double bass. Speaking of double bass, Lars’ double kicks on this album, have been dubbed, double “paper bass.” I love how they sound! The song “One” was the first music video for Metallica and was seen as an anti-war rant. The track “To Live is to Die” is a bass medley of unused recordings by Burton. Newsted played the medley that Burton wrote on the album. All lyrics on the record were written by James Hetfield, except the Spoken Word on “To Live is to die,” posthumously credited to Cliff Burton. All other music is credited to Hetfield Ulrich, and Hammett (Newsted gets co-credit on Blackened).

…Justice reached Gold in Norway; Platinum in Argentina, Finland, New Zeland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom; 2X Platinum in Australia and Germany; 3X Platinum in Canada; and 8X Platinum, selling 8 million copies in the United States.

Favorite Songs: Blackened; …And Justice for All; Harvester of Sorrow

Rating: 10/10!! And quite possibly my favorite Metallica album!

Stay Metal,

THE SAW 

Categories
Classic Album Review

Album of the Week: Metallica – Master of Puppets

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The third studio album by the (now) legendary Metallica, Master of Puppets is so important to the history of music generally, and the evolution of it specifically that in 2015 The United States Library of Congress preserved the recording in the National Recording Registry; the first heavy metal recording to do so. It was recorded September 1 – December 27, 1985 at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was released on March 3, 1986 by Elektra Records.

Whereas Kill ‘em All (the band’s first studio release) is straight-forward, in your face thrash metal, and Ride the Lightening (their 2nd release) evolved further into unchartered Metal waters (both of these records were heavily influenced by original lead guitarist, Dave Mustaine – Megadeth), Master is a full-blown leap off the map! The album is nearly universally praised as the best heavy metal album of all time, both inside and outside of the metal community. The record peaked at #29 on The Billboard Top 200, and was the first “Thrash Metal" album to be certified Platinum. It was certified 6X Platinum by RIAA in 2003.

Metallica was formed in Las Angeles, CA in 1981 (San Francisco has been the band’s base) by guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich. Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) was the original lead guitarist, but was fired just before the recording of Kill ‘em All. Cliff Burton was the original bassist until 1986 when, during their European tour, the band’s bus crashed in Sweden killing Burton. Kirk Hammett (Exodus) was tapped to replace Mustaine and has been a constant ever since. Jason Newsted (Flotsam and Jetsam) replaced Burton (R.I.P.), until January 2001. Robert Trujillo (Suicidal Tendencies; Infectious Grooves; Black Label Society) stepped-up in 2003 and has been a solid member on the bass to the present day.

Master stretched Metallica’s previous “thrash metal" sound, and invented a new one! A heavier, darker feel than any offering of it’s time. Hetfield’s vocals are deeper and chunkier and all guitars are drop tuned. The overarching theme of the record concerns control and the abuse of power (notice the cover art), as the title track suggests; as well as Battery, The Thing That Should Not Be, and Leper Messiah (directed toward the televangelists of the 80’s). Welcome Home (Sanitarium) expresses a result of such abuse. Disposable Heroes addresses the subject from the point of view of soldiers sent to endless wars on behalf of the elites. And Orion is a beautiful instrumental, composed by Cliff Burton, putting on full display his classical training. Don’t let my “beautiful” description fool you, though, this song is a beating; while Battery is the fastest, and The Thing That Should Not Be is the heaviest.

The “O.G. Metalhead" (a.k.a., my dad!) saw Metallica (with Cliff on bass) in 1986, in Binghamton, NY during the band’s first arena/stadium tour supporting Ozzy. “We had never heard of them. Upon seeing them perform, we had never seen or heard anything like it before! The rest is history!” I finally got to see them in Atlanta in 2018, and again right here in Raleighwood, January of this year (2019).

Favorite songs: Master of Puppets (duh!); The Thing That Should Not Be

Rating: 10/10!!

Stay Metal,

THE SAW

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Weekly Charts

WKNC 88.1 FM Loud Rock/Chainsaw Charts 2/14/17

wkncweb:

1 DARK FUNERAL Where Shadows Forever Reign – Century Media
2 MORS PRINCIPIUM EST Embers Of A Dying World – AFM Records 
3 IRON REAGAN Crossover Ministry – Relapse
4 OVERKILL The Grinding Wheel – Nuclear Blast
5 KREATOR Gods Of Violence – Nuclear Blast
6 AVERSIONS CROWN Xenocide – Nuclear Blast
7 BLACK STAR RIDERS Heavy Fire – Nuclear Blast
8 DARK TRANQUILITY Atoma – Century Media
9 CROWBAR The Serpent Only Lies – E1
10 METALLICA Hardwired… To Self-Destruct – Blackened

Categories
Weekly Charts

WKNC 88.1 FM Loud Rock/ Chainsaw Charts 6/7/2016

1 METALLICA Ride The Lightning(Re-Issue)- Elektra-WEA
2 HARM’S WAY Amongst the Rust- Deathwish 
3 KATAKLYSM Of Ghosts & Gods- Nuclear Blast 
4 VEKTOR Terminal Redux- Earache
5 HAVOK Unnatural Selection- Candlelight
6 POWER TRIP Manifest Decimation- Southern Lord
7 BLACK DAHLIA MURDER Abysmal- Metal Blade Records
8 ORDER OF ISRAFEL Wisdom- Napalm Records 
9 LOST SOUL Atlantis: The New Beginning-

Apostasy Records

 
10 SEAS OF WAKE Depth Of The Marrow- Sorrow

Top 5 Adds 

1 DARK FUNERAL Where Shadows Forever Reign- Century Media
2 VIOLENT SCUM Festering In Endless Decay
3 BEARTOOTH “Agressive” B/w “Always Dead” [Single]- Red Bull
4 DENOUNCEMENT PYRE Black Sun Unbound
5 COMBICHRIST This Is Where Death Begins- Out Of Line