Music Features

No Remorse #1 - Metallica's ...And Justice for All

As a writer for various metal sites, the opportunity to write a regular monthly column on metal seemed too good to pass up, so here we are.

I’ll only bore you with a few details about me as a metal writer. Writing for Metal Injection and CVLT Nation gave me the tools to review albums and try to do it to the best of my ability (much to some people’s chagrin, however). I’ve been a lifelong listener of all things heavy; starting with Black Sabbath’s Paranoid and moving to Metallica’s ...And Justice for All, heavy metal has always been a part of my life. And so it is with great pleasure I bring the first installment of a monthly column covering all things metal. Enjoy.


Whilst there are pieces that exist on Metallica’s ...And Justice for All, I thought it would be apropos to bring in the new column with a band that everyone has heard of. Released in August of ‘88, ...And Justice for All is the first album to feature bassist Jason Newsted (although, you can’t really hear him). Opening the album with Blackened, a less speedy Battery, Metallica set its sights on absolute domination. Crunching, powerful riffs and tight drumming made for a sound that was unheard of in metal. Sure, Reign in Blood was released in ‘86 and that album was the pinnacle of thrash, but Metallica layered their riffs, they layered their tracks with key changes, awkward signatures, and guitar solos that popped. ...And Justice for All is an entirely different animal than Master of Puppets. The anger that drips from this album is unparalleled. Frustrations with humanity, government and war coupled with more personal issues make for lyrics that bare their teeth and the riffs centered around them are demonstrably large in size. With Lars Ulrich’s best drumming, and the magnitude of tracks like One and The Frayed Ends of Sanity, the Metallica crew set out for something bigger and bolder than Master of Puppets.

But is this album all it’s cracked up to be? Master of Puppets is considered a masterpiece of thrash metal. The short answer would be, “Yes”. The title track alone says it all: off-timed riff patterns meet off-timed drum patterns. It’s a recipe for interesting metal; one that isn’t bent on pure speed. Instead, Metallica opts for the aggression factor. The riffs pulverize, attacking at every chance, until the listener is drowned in their sound. Claustrophobic and utterly hard-nosed, And Justice for All is one of the tracks that stands alone on the album. All tracks on ...And Justice for All have their own character, but the title track is an absolute warhorse.

Of course, there are thrash hits on the album like personal favorite The Shortest Straw and the magnificently speedy Dyers Eve. And even though these tracks are full of one-two punches of riffs-meeting-drums, there’s still a wide range of versatility. Metallica imbued technical ability with pure thrash to make an album that succeeds in all facets of metal. ...And Justice for All isn’t just a thrash album. It’s an in-your-face, balls-to-the-wall metal album that borders on perfection. After 25 years, it still holds up as a shining gem in the Metallica discography, only rivaled by Master of Puppets and Ride the Lightning. A truly brilliant mark by a band breaking the mold of their respective genre.



A Storm of Light - Nations to Flames (Southern Lord)

Brooklyn-based post-metal outfit A Storm of Light return to the heaviness that got them where they are. Releasing Nations to Flames on the mighty Southern Lord helps. They’re no Pelican in terms of texture, but this release is good enough to make the list of albums to watch out for in September.

Gorguts - Colored Sands (Season of Mist)

Technical death metal act Gorguts finally released a new album. It only took them since 2001. With the release of Colored Sands, they cement themselves as the leading force in technical death metal. These Quebec metallers have raised the bar even higher from Obscura. An amalgam of distorted, wretched sounds mixed with technical texture make for an album that sounds absolutely wonderful and at the same time, demonic.

Vattnet Viskar - Sky Swallower (Century Media)

New Hampshire post-black metal act Vattnet Viskar released their first full length on Century Media. A complete behemoth of an LP, combining elements of post-rock with black metal to create a sound similar to swallowing the sky, it’s definitely a record that should not be passed over.

Windhand - Soma (Relapse Records)

The mighty Windhand. Anything they touch seems to turn into gold. With their full length release on Relapse Records, this sprawling, stoner doom album is sure to send shivers up the spine. Full of catchy riffs that ooze doom metal, the Richmond, Virginia act made an album that not only combines the best elements of the genre, but amps it up to eleven and takes hold of it altogether. 


Pig Destroyer - "The Octagonal Stairway" 

Ah yes, Pig Destroyer. What kind of metal playlist would it be without them? Part of Adult Swim's Summer Singles series, this new track from Virginia quartet features blast beats and crazy riffing, as per the norm for PxDx. Their skill is unmatched in the grind scene; furious drumming, intense riffing. All are present on The Octagonal Stairway. Check it out below.