Metallica – …And Justice For All Deluxe Box Set Unboxing/Review
I’ve mentioned in some of my music reviews before that this was one of the albums that steered me into metal alongside a few other albums. I’ve already picked up (and did quick unboxing/reviews) the deluxe box sets Metallica did for Kill ‘Em All, Ride the Lightning, and Master of Puppets. I think it’s not surprise to anyone that I picked this one up, too, seeing how it’s my absolute favourite Metallica album.
This one was highly anticipated by many due to the lack of bass (actually no bass) from then newcomer Jason Newsted, who replaced the mighty Cliff Burton after he died after a bus accident. Although you could hear Newsted on the Garage Days Re-Revisted EP the band released prior to this, story has it that Lars had a certain vision for his drums and the way they should sound with James Hetfield’s guitars and the result is what we’ve known to love (or hate, depending on your opinion of the album and how it sounds). Many wanted the album remixed so Jason’s bass could be finally heard. Unfortunately, it never happened. Sound Engineer Steve Thompson was sick of getting the blame for the lack of bass and finally gave his side of the story in a 2015 interview where he laid it all out on the line and blamed Lars.
People have tinkered with the album and you can find some mixes with the bass turned up, or re-recorded by people online. One people always turn to in the infamous, …And Justice for Jason project that allows you to have an idea of how this album should have sounded. If you’ve even played Guitar Hero: Metallica, the bass is also more prominent in the tracks of that game than the original album.
So why didn’t the band make things right and at least add one CD/vinyl with a new mix? Oh hell, I don’t know. I guess it is what it is and the band doesn’t want to re-write history. I don’t think making the effort to give the fans what they have wanted for years is re-writing history. It would give them something…different and respectful to Newsted. Don’t go holding your breath then for the guys to ever fix the snare sound on a St. Anger box set. The band sat down for a lengthy interview on the album and box set recently and you can hear more from them directly here.
All that hoopla aside, I was still excited for the set to see if there was any difference in the sound, what extras it would have, and if we’d even hear a tad bit more bass in the mix. That time is now and last week I finally scored this set. I got mine from Amazon.ca for $180 Canadian. It went up to $260 or so the last time I looked. As you can see from the hype sticker below, there is a lot to go through here.
If you don’t want to read any more of my writing, you can skip to the video embedded below from my YouTube channel and watch me go through it all. Remember to click on the picks to enlarge anything. You can also reference this page over at Discogs to see the breakdown of everything as I don’t have the time to write out every track list for this little feature.
The crazy amount of stuff that comes with this set is housed in a similar style sturdy box as the other three deluxe releases. This box is wider than the others because there’s more loot in here and it’s damn heavy, too (excuse the pun). They look pretty impressive all lined up in the ol’ man cave.
When you buy the set, this page is held securely to the back so you can see what you’re buying. As mentioned, there is definitely a lot to take in and go through, so don’t plan on spinning anything else for a while if you’re going all in.
From here in out, I’m just going to be running down what’s included in the set and I may make the odd note about some of them.
…And Justice For All – Remastered On 180 Gram Vinyl
Here’s what it’s all about. The album that helped steer my music diet to metal. I love every song on here and I don’t care that many are long. I cut my drum chops on this record many times and it helped me build some endurance.
This, in my opinion, is the best the album has ever sounded and if you’re looking for the definitive way to hear it, this is it. If you can’t afford the box set or you even have a first pressing (I have one from 2014 or so – when I first got back into collecting and listening to music on vinyl), I really suggest you check out the work done on the remaster.
I was so pumped when I heard they were adding the live music from the release Live Shit: Binge and Purge. I probably wore out my VHS copy when that box set was released back when I was in high school. I love the performance and now I have it on warm, wonderful vinyl. Bless your hearts, Metallica. I don’t want to be selfish, so I do hope they do a stand-alone release for those who can’t afford this set.
One 10″ Picture Disc
This is a replica of the original. One of the groups I’m on (London Vinyl Geeks) helped me realize that when I posted this on the weekend just to show it some love and a member shared a picture of their copy. Thanks for the info, Dean!
…And Justice For All – CD
Here’s the CD in a gate-fold style cover. What I like about all the CDs in this release is that they are encased in another sleeve inside the CD sleeves for added protection. Good on them to go that extra mile. In all honesty – as of the time of writing this, I haven’t gotten to cranking this in my car or system yet. I was anxious to listen to the records.
I usually don’t listen to stuff like this but for this set, I’m going to make sure I do. I’ve just ripped it all on my computer so I may listen to a couple while I’m trying to fall asleep. There’s never enough insight on this album for me!
Riffs, Jams & Demos
I think many will find this collection, and the next one to be the most important things in this collection. Here you get to hear ideas, songs in their infancy, and songs with different levels and mixes. Make it a night and go through these with a friend that loves this album for the best experience. I wish I had that! HA!
Rough Mixes From the Vault
Same thing can be said here as above. The cool thing is that it features the album in the same running order and the B-Sides are included, too!
Live At The Troubadour, West Hollywood, CA – May 24th, 1988 + B-Sides
This CD kicks off a bunch of live concerts captured in various locations with sets that are pretty similar. While it may seem like overkill to some, I think it’s great to have different performances with the band belting out these songs that were so new and fresh at the time.
In addition, this particular CD (well, the second one) features the B-Sides that were on the singles so you have “Breadfan” and “The Prince” available if you weren’t able to ever score them or buy a Japanese edition of the CD back in the day.
Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, London, England – October 10th, 1988 + Radio Edits
More live goodness here and this little CD set features the radio edits of three songs for people wanting to hear how they were spliced so more radio stations were enticed to spin them.
Live At Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA – December 7, 1988 + More
More live music here!
…And Camcorders For All & “One” – DVD
This is a bunch of concert footage shot with, you guessed it, camcorders. Some of it is great and some isn’t the best quality.
Also featured on this DVD is the Two of One release that was put out back in the day on VHS. I remember many people buying that and watching it but I never owned it. I didn’t want to shell out like $20 back in the day for two music videos.
Live At Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, Ca – September 15th 1989
Another live show with some decent production and a similar set list to the other releases in this set.
You get some extra goodies in this set, like all the previously released Metallica box sets. They include:
– Replica hand-written lyric sheets in a folder.
– Four kick ass patches
– A backstage pass replica
– and a Pushead litograph
One of the other cool things you get in this set is a massive booklet that has a plethora of information ranging to interviews, to hand written pieces of information, photos, and press releases. I got this a week ago and I’m still combing through the damn thing. Lots to ingest here.
Wrapping everything up, I think this set is definitely worth the money I paid. I’d struggle a bit, though, if I had to shell out the amount it’s going for now, though. I would have said $200 max should be the cut off for a set like this. It’s not like it’s that limited. This album will always be close to my heart and even without the bass turned back up with a proper remix, I’m still satisfied.
Enjoy the video!