5 There's more to life than thrash MetalTrotzki | 30/06/2010 | See all Trotzki's reviews (1)What do you do when the world's biggest thrash metal band stops recording thrash metal? Move on? Cry? Or sit back and enjoy?! In 1988 Metallica fans did all three. Many turned their attentions to the unmolested, brutal sounds of Slayer, Anthrax or Testament. Many would have continued to mourne the death of Metallica's deceased Bass Player, Cliff Burton. The rest accepted Metallica Mk II with open arms and some even dared to hail '...and Justice for All' the band's greatest album to date.The superfast thrash of the previous three albums was replaced by very precise and intricate guitar riffs. While James Hetfield's angry lyrics about abuses of power and control remained, the songs became tighter, longer and more mature. Speed and power gave way to complex structures and progressive rhythms. Hetfield's vocals became deeper and scarier and Hammett's solos, while losing some of their fire and fury, became crisper and more clinical. Truly this was an ex-thrash band looking to widen its horizons and audience.Although the album is often criticized for its production (the drums sound hollow at times and new-boy Jason Newstead's bass is barely audable) the band make up for it with brilliant song writing and unmistakable gusto. Even the radio-friendly 'One', which earnt the band their first hit-single, ends with a speedy break-down that even the most judgemental Demin-jacket wearing headbanger would struggle to dismiss.It has something for everyone. Heavy as hell (Harevester of Sorrow), pace (Dyers Eve), prog-metal (...and justice for all), a trail-blazing opener (Blackened) and an instrumental that pays homage to the late Cliff Burton (To Live is to Die) where the former bassist's lyrics are read out underneath the music. If the band were attempting to reach the mainstream then they were doing it by bringing the mainstream to them first. Universal audiences would have to wait till 1991's self titled "Black Album". However, if you only listen to one track on 'Justice', then put on track seven, "Frayed ends of Sanity." It's masterpeice by two great guitarists and is absolutely perfect. A lot goes on on those fret-boards but every note is welded with precision and unweilding confidence.Often over-shadowed by "Master of Puppets" as Metallica's greatest album, I believe "...Justice" is even better than that. It's the greatest metal album ever!