This I would say is Metallica’s latest (and probably last) album with thoroughly stable song material. Their tendency for collecting volatile series of substance in order to create album impersonations is fortunately lacking here. Justice is solid and concentrated, despite its lenght.
We are invited to a loaded riff event and on the menu are perhaps Ulrich’s best drumming (just such a thing), Hetfield’s perhaps best lyrics and also the most progressive compositions the band has performed.
Justice holds an attractive balance between rough, smooth, hard and soft.
The album works pretty painlessly as a golden bridge between the old tougher Metallica and the new more commercial Metallica. And after slashing the band’s inability to discard unnecessary material, it’s liberating to listen to a record where they execute some intriguing metal to a large extent without redundancy.
I find many passages, riffs and melodies satisfactory, but despite this I have criticism to convey.
There is a bit of bite and punch missing on the record and of course the production is a part of it, I’m not one of those who praise Metallica’s multifaceted soundscapes, as you may have noticed, and call them identity-creating flaws and similar excuses.
It is rather simply a limitation this band has and has had over the years, where they push their interesting ideas so far that it too often results in defeat. The bass-free, kind of thin production here is an example of this eccentric disorder
Blackened is fantastic, Dyers Eve is a favorite, the title track does what it’s supposed to and, by all means, also One. But in general, I miss some monster hits, instead the album is characterized by stability. Black Album has heights that are not really achieved here and at the same time Justice lacks some of the things that made their earlier works special, for exampel a fair share of dirt, rage, dirty tricks and – you know it’s coming again – bass.
Best songs: Blackened, Dyers Eve, One