The Metallica album Lars Ulrich said could never be made again

lars ulrich

Every musician has an innate desire to develop their sound. There’s only so much you can do with the idea of playing it safe and selecting a collection of songs that appeal to everyone before the music begins to sound more like a blank canvas than any particular sonic colour. Lars Ulrich believed that the intensity of And Justice For All would never be repeated. However, every member of Metallica may have been perfectly content to carry on the tradition of aggressive thrash metal.

However, that could also depend on the circumstances surrounding the record. Even though Cliff Burton was no longer with them, Metallica was still one of the top bands in the underground metal scene. It was inevitable that their sound would change going forward. In some ways, Burton was the group’s lifeblood. The next record would undoubtedly be severely lacking in his knowledge of classical harmony.

Even though they continued with Jason Newsted accompanying them, And Justice For All was not nearly the public face he likely desired. Ulrich decided to turn the bass all the way down in the mix. This makes the entire album sound more like a demo recording than a proper album. Perhaps this was a cruel joke they were playing on the new guy, or a way to move past their grief.

That isn’t the only issue with the record, though. Even though the thrash metal scene was already well-known for its unrelenting intensity, this was the first instance in which the songs felt excessively lengthy. Whatever you think of the more aggressive tracks like “Blackened,” the album’s title track lasts for almost ten minutes. This makes it difficult to really take the other tracks seriously. You truly deserve it by the time you reach the last, somewhat challenging track, “Dyer’s Eve.”

Ulrich told Ultimate Albums that he felt they had reached their artistic peak with the album, despite the fact that it continued to gain popularity thanks to the incredible ballad “One.” “It became mental gymnastics and mental exercises,” Ulrich said. Playing every song had only one goal in mind: not screwing it up. The songs were limited in their length, speed, and level of self-indulgence. That was no longer possible for our survival.

It’s understandable that the group would want to play a more difficult piece. At this time, virtuoso guitarists were just beginning to show off their skills. And Justice For All might have been the answer to metal’s progressive side. With bands like Dream Theatre set to soar to fame a few years later, this was especially relevant.

After reaching their breaking point, Metallica realized they needed a change. Bob Rock eventually joined the band to simplify their sound for their critically acclaimed album The Black Album. Enter Sandman, a tight five-minute single, was the much-needed breath of fresh air. Fans endured eight minutes of “Harvester of Sorrow” with many expressions on their faces.

For those interested in learning more about the band’s intricate side, they should still check out Justice For All. It’s a great record. However, their decision to stray from that was more pragmatic than anything else. Since the next album would most likely only contain four or five songs that are roughly fifteen minutes each, let’s face it, if they had kept going in that direction.

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