...And Justice for All
…and Justice for All (album)
Released 6th September 1988
Recorded 28th January 1988 – 1st May 1988 at One on One Recording Studios in Los Angeles, The United States
Length 65:26
Number of tracks 9
Label Elektra Records (USA)
Vertigo (Europe)
Formats LP, Cassette, CD, ITunes
Genre Thrash Metal, Progressive Metal
Previous Album
Master of Puppets
Next Album

...And Justice for All was released August 25, 1988 by Elektra Records and was the first album to feature bassist Jason Newsted and the last to feature a writing credit by late bassist Cliff Burton.

The album deals with many dark themes, including corruption, death, murder, blacklisting, and censorship. ...And Justice for All can be considered Metallica's most political album, although the band has refrained from taking much of a political stance throughout their history.

One of the defining elements of Justice is the extremely low levels of bass. At times bassist Jason Newsted's playing is completely inaudible. This can be attributed to either poor production or a part of Newsted's "initiation" into the band. The relatively poor production on Justice compared to other albums by the band have led some to claim that the album is "flawed".

The front cover depicts the statue of Lady Justice (Doris) cracked, bound by ropes, her breasts exposed, and both of her scales filled with dollars. The words "…And Justice for All" are written in graffiti-like lettering to the right. The cover art was created by Stephen Gorman, based on a concept developed by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich. ...And Justice for All was Metallica's final collaboration with longtime producer Flemming Rasmussen.

Background and production

...And Justice for All was co-produced by Flemming Rasmussen. Rasmussen, who had also co-produced the previous Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets albums, was initially unavailable. Metallica chose not to wait and started working with Mike Clink (who had caught attention as the producer of the Guns N' Roses album Appetite for Destruction). But things did not work out as they forecasted: Clink was eventually replaced by Rasmussen once he had become available. Clink was credited for engineering the drums and for helping recording two cover songs ("Breadfan" and "The Prince") that were released as b-sides of the "Harvester of Sorrow". The songs were later included on the compilation album Garage, Inc. in 1998.

Music and lyrics

The album's dark lyrical material features a conceptual uniformity around notions of political and legal injustice, as seen through the prism of war, censored speech, and nuclear brinkmanship. This is musically accompanied by what may be the most complex song structures in Metallica's discography. The arrangements are particularly complicated for a thrash metal album, being likened to progressive metal in their complexity. The album is also noted for its nearly-inaudible bass guitar (Newsted was quoted as saying "The Justice album wasn't something that really felt good for me, because you really can't hear the bass.") and dry, sterile production, and therefore has been called a "slightly flawed masterpiece and the pinnacle of Metallica's progressive years" by Lars Ulrich described the songwriting process as "our CNN years", with him and James Hetfield watching the channel in search for song subjects - "I'd read about the blacklisting thing, we'd get a title, 'The Shortest Straw,' and a song would come out of that."

Cliff Burton receives co-writers credit on "To Live Is to Die" as the bass line was a medley of unused bass recordings Burton had performed prior to his death. While the original recordings are not used on the track, the compositions are credited as written by Burton and are played by Metallica's bassist at the time, Jason Newsted. The words spoken towards the end of the song ("When a man lies, he murders some part of the world. These are the pale deaths which men miscall their lives...") by Hetfield were written by German poet Paul Gerhardt, but are misattributed to Burton in the liner notes. Still, the second half of the speech ("All this I cannot bear to witness any longer. Cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home?") were written by Burton.


...And Justice for All was Metallica's best-selling album upon its release. Metallica released four singles, "Eye of the Beholder", "Harvester of Sorrow", "...And Justice for All" and "One". ...And Justice for All was Metallica's breakthrough album and reached number six on the Billboard 200. Though it was over-shadowed commercially by the band's following album Metallica (1991), ...And Justice for All confirmed Metallica's large-scale arena status.

The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance in 1989, but with much controversy, it lost to Jethro Tull's Crest of a Knave. In 2007, the win was named one of the 10 biggest upsets in Grammy history by Entertainment Weekly. The guitar solo of "One" was ranked number seven in Guitar World's compilation of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of all time. In the same magazine's 2006 reader poll, …And Justice for All placed 12th on a list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Albums.

The album was ranked at number nine in IGN's Top 25 Metal Albums. The album is featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Kerrang! magazine listed the album at No. 42 among the "100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time". Metallica released its first music video for "One", after years of resisting pressure to release music videos. The video had some controversy among their fans, who had valued the band's apparent opposition to MTV and other forms of mainstream commercial metal.

Live performances

Hammett noted the length of the songs being problematic for fans and the band. "Touring behind it, we realized that the general consensus was that songs were too fucking long," he said. "One day after we played 'Justice' and got off the stage one of us said, 'we're never fucking playing that song again." He is also quoted in an interview for SoWhat! magazine as saying "'Justice' was a bit much for me. I couldn't stand watching the front row start to yawn by the eight or ninth minute."

In spite of this, the song "One" quickly gained a permanent fixture in the band's live setlist since the release of the album. The only other song from …And Justice for All that has come close to this is "Harvester of Sorrow", a song that was played live heavily after the album's release but has only begun to be played again recently. "Blackened" has also recently seen some exposure in the World Magnetic Tour and for the Sonisphere festival.

When the song "One" is played live, the war sounds heard at the beginning of the song are often lengthened to sometimes around two minutes instead of the original seventeen seconds. When the war sounds have reached a conclusion, after having a pitch-black stage, fire will erupt from various points of the stage.

Sixteen years after "Dyers Eve" was recorded, on March 5, 2004, the band performed the song in its entirety for the first time ever on the Madly in Anger With the World Tour at The Forum in Inglewood, California.

On June 28, 2007, Metallica played the title track for the first time since October 1989, in Lisbon on the first show of their Sick of the Studio '07 tour and made it a set-fixture for the remainder of that routing. In 2008–2010, "...And Justice for All" was played again on rare occasions during their World Magnetic Tour.

Also on September 19, 2009, "The Shortest Straw" made its way back into the set lists during its World Magnetic Tour after a 12 year absence at the Montreal Bell Center, not being played live since February 9, 1997.

On December 7, 2011, Metallica for the first time performed "To Live Is to Die" in its entirety during the exclusive 30 Years of Metallica concerts at The Fillmore in San Francisco, California.

After twenty six years on May 28, 2014, "The Frayed Ends of Sanity" made it's live debut, becoming the last "Classic Metallica" song to be performed live in it's entirety. The song had previously made live appearances as a quick jam on the Damaged Justice tour, in the "Justice Medley" on the Wherever We May Roam Tour, and teasers of the intro riff at various other shows. Since it's initial debut the band has been playing it more frequency, as it's been played live many times in 2015 onward.

"Eye of the Beholder" has not been played live in its entirety since 1989. One such performance appears on Metallica's live extended play, Six Feet Down Under. It's noted that Lars doesn't like the song, much in the same way that James dislikes "Escape" from 1984's Ride the Lightning.


No. Title Composer Length
1. Blackened James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Jason Newsted 6:40
2. ...And Justice for All James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett 9:44
3. Eye of the Beholder James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett 6:25
4. One James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich 7:24
5. The Shortest Straw James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich 6:35
6. Harvester of Sorrow James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich 5:42
7. The Frayed Ends of Sanity James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett 7:40
8. To Live is to Die James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Cliff Burton 9:48
9. Dyers Eve James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett 5:12
Total length:

Japan Bonus Track

No. Title Composer Length
10. The Prince (Diamond Head Cover) Sean Harris, Brian Tatler 4:26
Total length:

iTunes Bonus Tracks

No. Title Composer Length
10. One (Live 29.08.1989 in Seattle, The United States) James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich 7:59
11. ...And Justice for All (Live 29.08.1989 in Seattle, The United States) James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett 10:05
Total length:


  • ...And Justice for All is only one of two albums that features more than four people receiving a songwriting credit. The other album being 1984's Ride the Lightning.




  • Metallica – producers
  • Flemming Rasmussen – producer, engineer
  • Mike Clink – drum engineer on "The Shortest Straw" and "Harvester of Sorrow"
  • Toby Wright – additional engineer
  • Steve Thompson, Michael Barbiero – mixing
  • George Cowan – assistant engineer
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering
  • James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich – cover concept
  • Stephen Gorman – cover art
  • Pushead – illustrations
  • Ross Halfin – photography
  • Reiner Design Consultants, Inc. – design, layout