Metallica

... And Justice For All (Deluxe) (Blackened Recordings)

Top 10 Box Sets of 2018

Lined with trauma, Metallica's 1988 double album ... And Justice For All remains a work of grieving.

Reeling from the death of bassist Cliff Burton in a tour bus tragedy, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, and Kirk Hammett responded with their most nihilistic release. Riddled with post-war paranoia and a political malaise born from impotent battlefield mutilation ("One"), nuclear annihilation ("Blackened"), and asphyxiation ("Harvester of Sorrow"), the Californian thrash metal pioneers' fourth LP charted at No. 6, becoming the bestselling extreme platter of its day. Following up last year's mammoth Master of Puppets deluxe box set, its discography successor now receives similar treatment in a gargantuan 6-LP/11-CD/4-DVD configuration that includes the album remastered on double vinyl and CD, multiple live shows on both audio and visual formats, a picture disc, tour laminate, patches, and a 120-page hardcover book.

While new kid Jason Newsted's inaudible bass fails to cut through Hetfield's rhythmic onslaught and Ulrich's double-bass ricochet, the album marked the group's transition from cacophonous ringmasters on Kill 'Em All (1983) and Ride the Lightning (1984) to the ubiquitous metal gods of Metallica (1991). Hallucinations chase dual hyperactive six-strings on the namesake song, and distorted sludge drives instrumental "To Live Is to Die," while a percussive blitz mimics strangulated breaths on "Dyers Eve." Combative and hostile even 30 years later, ... And Justice For All delivers exactly what its title promises.

****.5

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Metallica, Gift Guide 2018

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