During a recent episode of “Another FN Podcast,” MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson discussed the sound of METALLICA‘s …And Justice For All album. While “…And Justice For All” is considered one of METALLICA‘s classics, it has been criticized almost since the day it was released in 1988 for the lack of any bass guitar on the record. Jason Newsted‘s playing is virtually buried in the mix — and many fans feel that drummer Lars Ulrich, who had very specific ideas for how he wanted his drums to sound, is to blame.
While …And Justice For All is considered one of METALLICA‘s classics, it has been criticized almost since the day it was released in 1988 for the lack of any bass guitar on the record. Jason Newsted‘s playing is virtually buried in the mix — and many fans feel that Ulrich, who had very specific ideas for how he wanted his drums to sound, is to blame.
Ellefson said: “There is something on YouTube that [Jason] did — an interview that’s very candid — and he talked very openly about… Garage Days was his first [recording with METALLICA], and he said, he goes, ‘Look, [on Justice] I played everything… I matched a lot of the guitar parts, but it was very aggressive. The tone was exactly dialed the same as it was on Garage Days,’ and then, for whatever reason, it wasn’t prominent on [the Justice album]. And that could probably be discussed for another 10 podcasts.
“Look, we all know Jason‘s a great player. I knew him from FLOTSAM AND JETSAM. He was a great player. He was a band leader, so when he joined METALLICA, he then had to come back to being an Indian and not a chief, which, I’m sure, knowing him, was probably difficult. I mean, look, you’re in the biggest heavy metal band in the world, but you still have a different role being in that group, as big as it is. So there’s definitely a mental adjustment I’m sure that he had to go through with that.”
Ellefson continued: “Lars was openly giving nods to DEEP PURPLE and RUSH at that point, and you could tell they were going off on these sort of heavy metal ‘Cygnus X-1’ explorations on a lot of these tracks, which was clever, because with metal, to do that and still keep it interesting and not run out of ideas was… That, to me, was probably the thing I like about the record the most, is it was a very progressive record. And then it’s kind of like they got that out of their system, and then they made the Black album.
“The same maybe could be said for MEGADETH, that we did that with Rust In Peace, and then we went and made Countdown To Extinction, which we explored slower tempos, bigger grooves — just kind of writing verse-chorus-verse-chorus rather than [going through] five tempos and going down all those other roads. So, on some level, we probably were kind of walking side by side, METALLICA and MEGADETH, on that sort of level — maybe that same kind of compositional mindset from these two records.”