Before I start this review there are a few things that I would like to say that may strike conversation for comments. First and foremost Metallica started producing albums in 1983 (not including EPs before the first album). There first album released “Kill ‘Em All” was arguably the best album produced by Metallica. As time went on they kept producing heavy, fast metal and it seemed as though they would never stop. In 1991 when the “Untitled” album also known as the “Black Album” was released you could tell things were changing, although a good album it contained more polished and more recognizable and modern riffs that are used more and more in the metal world of today. I personally believe that Metallica went downhill from there shamefully, with very few hits after the release of the “Black Album”. They had changed almost completely from what they were before. This including cutting there hair (Although Kirk and Jason Newstead are keeping it real still), letting Avril Lagvine perform one of the songs for an awards show, Lars (drummer) announcing to the world that “Metal is dead”, and most important a radical change to their music. It is sad to see such a band change and continue to follow the crowd. Although Metallica may be going through some tough times right now I think it’s safe to say they will live forever. Now onto the review.
Blackened- Opens with a very nice guitar mini-solo, the first verse kicks in very nice, fast, and catchy guitar riff, as the chorus comes in you find yourself at least tapping on something or nodding your head, double bass-drum is a very nice touch and not to overused, the second verse is as well very good not much has changed except the lyrics, the second chorus is the same as the first, the bridge comes in very full, with a nice high pitched guitar roaring in the background, both guitars pick up, as the break down reaches you can feel the tension of the solo coming. Musically this an amazing song, they are all doing a great job with melodic guitar and Lars is doing very well on the drums, as the second half of the first solo comes in you can tell it doesn't have the same flow as before, that is about the only negative thing I have to say about this particular song very well composed.
...And Justice for All- Opening simply jaw dropping, Kirk and James the perfect battle of soft VS. heavy, as the song moves on there is a very nice flow into the first verse as Lars pounds the toms. First verse kicks in, very heavy, very good, break down into the chorus, with a nice riff in between repeats, the lyrics are very to the point but good, back to the verse which floes very nicely, James’ voice sounds very good, again to the chorus, then back to the melodic riffs then to a break down out of nowhere, some double bass is used before the solo, which is very well organized, the same melodic riff in the back then into another solo which blends very well, some light tapping towards the end, which is silenced with a nice bend into another break down, they slow down that riff, which has been used much earlier in the song, sounds very nice, the song then picks back up to the opening part of the song with Lars once again pounding on the toms, into the third verse, then the chorus, then to some very melodic riffs which sound very nice to the chord progression the are laying down, exits with a very nice high pitched riff on the guitar as the ending statement. Very good, after listening there is no wonder why it shares a name with the album.
Eye of the Beholder- Fades in with a bad riff, a little repetitive but is changed up before it gets too old, the song then picks up with a nice sounding hook, with a nice riff very high pitched, into the verse, good lyrics, I don't know if I like the effects that are put on James voice I think it would have been better off left alone, this leads into a nice pre-chorus and chorus with stand up lyrics, back into the opening riff, straight to the effects in the second verse, they make the song distasteful and unnatural, chorus next, then into a nice break down which as many times leads into the solo which is absolutely amazing, Kirk does some good work on the solo, which eventually leads into another solo which is introduced with multiple high pitched bends. Verse 3 comes in then straight back into the chorus, back to another break down, to the chorus to end the song.
One- This song is easily the best on the album, hands down, the opening riff and solo will ring in your head for days, Kirk is mesmerizing, the lyrics kick in a little later after an astonishing opening, which have a deeper meaning then thought, the lyrics are about a man who served in a war, when struck by a landmine and lost all of his limbs and survives, as you hear in the chorus and certain lines in the verse the man obviously doesn't want to live anymore and is begging for mercy, as the 2nd chorus ends there is a nice mini solo which leads to a repeat of the chorus into the somewhat of a mini solo, then to the break down the backbone of this song, some nice double bass-drum and triplets from guitar and bass, this builds up to the long melodic solo of the song that seems to go on and on, it has a nice peak and some very advanced tapping as seen in many of Metallica's songs, it stay's in good notes with the song and there are no sour notes hit. All around, a very good song. One of my personal favorites.
The Shortest Straw- A heavy opening statement which then breaks down into a high pitched main riff for the song, into the verse, good lyrics, some very nice and quick tapping into the chorus, which contains a very catchy line "The shortest straw has been pulled for you", after this back into the verse there is some double bass-drum in some of the song which adds a nice touch, the melodic riff comes back in which flows to the solo, full of talent but lacks character to the song and doesn’t match until the tapping arrives, the second solo comes and is much better this goes back into the chorus and verse, which is the overall structure, not a bad song, diffidently one worth a listen but not one to be a favorite.
Harvester of Sorrow- a nice opening to a good song, as you listening to the song it gets heavier and heavier and at certain parts of the song you will find the opening riff soothing while the same chord progression is roaring in the back ground which adds a nice mixture and also harmonizes with the song very well. The lyrics are deep and dark, full of anger. The song peaks to a great solo although not matching tune with the chords perfect still can feel the beat and nothing was too drastically used. Metallica did a nice job creating this song by showing off the more heavier, more angered side of there metal techniques.
The Frayed Ends of Sanity- the opening is mean with guitars tearing through with a blazing metal distortion. The song picks up quickly with lyrics popping in with lots of double bass-drum. Very nice lyrics of the chorus and a nice peak also to the chorus which at the guitars quiet down and James can sing out to get his point across. This goes into a bridge, which as many can guess leads to an amazing solo which contains palm mutes at the beginning. Then out of nowhere come some hardcore and fast licks. The solo then begins to pick up to an amazing work of art. Possible the best solo on the album; it is the kind of thing that can be appreciated so much it gives you the shivers. This is a good song, the double bass is possibly overused a little bit but doesn’t distract your attention from the song to much.
To Live Is to Die- I have some issues with this song. The opening is very, very nice with some soothing acoustic medieval sounds to it. Very nice but as it continues instead of stopping and then picking up the just fade out the beautiful tone of the acoustic and fade in a heavy chord progression. Easily the worst decision made on the album, this nearly ruins the song and has a heartless ring to it. Kirk comes in with some bends but nothing that isn’t simple for him, the repetivness gets a little annoying, then Kirk kicks in with the real stuff which includes some moderate tapping. It seems as you are waiting for forever for the lyrics to come in into this song and then you realize there are none, this is an instrumental and a good one if that. This song contains all solos of Kirk and James tearing the song to shreds. You cant necessarily explain and walk through the solos but it is a must listen, although you have to listen for 9:48 seconds it is worth it. As the song nears the end they use the same fading techniques as in the intro and exits with the soothing sound of acoustic guitar.
Dyers Eve- I simply love this song, it takes you back to what Metallica used to be, with its triplets, and rebelling lyrics, this is what Metallica really is. The conversion to the chorus is great example of the good musicians they really are, as the song moves on the double bass is over-used but a great idea and adds the speed to the song so shouldn’t be frowned on. This is a great closing statement to one of Metallica’s best albums. It picks up towards the end of the song with a nice bouncy triplet feel which is very nice
Metallica is a legendary band, I tried my best to incorporate the real feeling of the songs into the review, I do hope I did not use to much detail and that you enjoyed reading this. I hope it helped you as much as it could.
Cliff Burton- R.I.P
You will not be forgotten.