I bought this album about 5 years ago and have been listening to it a lot (along with the rest of Metallica's back catalogue) ever since. I find it's one of those albums where your favourite songs can change with time. For example, when I first listened to it, I wasn't fussed on 'Dyers Eve' and 'Harvester Of Sorrow' because I was more interested in 'Eye of the Beholder'. But now I love 'Harvester...' and '...Eve' and tend to skip '...Beholder'.Obviously songs like 'One' are always going to be one of your favourites but you know what I mean.
Some reviews have said that the production isn't an issue, but I believe it is. Although the guitars and drums are loud, they don't have the same intense power that 'Master of Puppets' had. The drums should've sounded like they were being beaten to death. 'Vulgar Display of Power' by Pantera is a great example of a very 'metal' album having great production. You'll notice the difference. I still don't get why Jason's bass playing was 99% unheard. Basically, the album desrved better production because the work itself is (mostly) superb.
-Blackened: A progression from thier opening songs like 'Fight Fire With Fire' and 'Battery', thanks to that great, mid-tempo riff half way through. Kirk's solo work here is amazing.
-And Justice For All: Has it's moments but flounders here and there. Works better as a song which adds to the 'concept' of the album, rather than a stand alone song.
-Eye of the Beholder: Not that memorable a track really.
-One: A stone-cold metal classic, one of thier greatest songs. Metallica's melodies, progression, lyrics and musicianship all working at full throttle.
-The Shortest Straw: A good, angry, energetic song.
--Harvester of Sorrow-A fine slice of menacing, creepy metal. Disturbing lyrics. Like 'One', works perfectly. BUT, all the live versions in the 'Binge and Purge' box show how much better the studio version could have sounded (sorry to be a killjoy!).
-The Frayed Ends of Sanity: Like '...And Justice For All', has its moments, especially the riffs half way through, some impressive guitar work. And what a solo (again)!
-To Live Is To Die: Great, Cliff Burton-esque intro/outro but takes a little too long to get to it's better parts. 'Orion' from '...Puppets' was better paced. Still a really great track. Those few Burton lines spoken by James are still chilling (some of you no doubt know what I mean).
-Dyers Eve-A good ol' fashioned super fast, pissed off Metallica thrash out with some of Lars' best drumming. A punishing pace throughout. Featuring yet another blinding solo from from Hammet.A blistering high point to end with.
Overall, this features technically some of James' best rhythm work as well as Kirk's most jaw dropping solos, mixing very well with the epic song structures. For the newbies out there, get the 'Black Album' first. Then get the first three albums. 'Justice' should be the last one you get because by then you'll be used to thier epic song structures. If you get the 'Black Album' last, you may be shocked by the simplicity of the song arrangements and may never like it which would be a shame. But then again it may not work out that way for you, so to each his/her own. Just let this be a guideline from a certain point of view. Anyways, I've gone on long enough. Despite it's flaws, this is still essential. Let yourself be pulled into it's world and see for yourself.
P.S.This is REAL metal, not the current crop of nu-metal/emo clones and drones cluttering up the market at the moment. You know who you are!