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Masters of Metal: Metallica brings ground-breaking career to Spokane for a sold out show

When Metallica’s “Worldwired Tour” comes to the Spokane Arena on Sunday for the band’s first local performance since 2004,, fans can expect to hear favorite tracks from several of the band’s albums including “Metallica,” “…And Justice For All,” and “Master of Puppets.”

Since its start in the early 1980s, Metallica has amassed an international following, and hasn’t been afraid to experiment with the genre.

“We’ve always hated any kind of rules, or any attempt to categorize or box us in any way,” lead vocalist James Hetfield said in an interview with Clash in 2017. “We don’t like boundaries and limits.”

While touring in support of their latest album “Hardwired…To Self Destruct,” Metallica is reissuing its popular 1988 album “…And Justice For All.” The album represents many firsts and, to some extent, lasts for the group.

“It’s the beginning and ending of a lot of different things that kind of overlapped,” Hetfield said in a recent interview with journalist David Fricke. “At that point, we weren’t sure where the band could go after that. Obviously sitting in a producer’s seat, pretending we knew what we were doing … sonically you can kind of tell who mixed that album. So after that we kind of realized we could go outside the box here and ask for some help production wise (and) focus more on the music.”

“…And Justice For All” was the group’s first album to earn a top 10 listing on the Billboard 200 and is most widely known for the song “One,” which helped the group break through on radio and earned a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. Their opportunities and creative ability increased exponentially from that point.

The remastered “…And Justice For All” is a testament to the band’s seeming refusal to stay satisfied with their work and their ongoing attempts to improve upon what they have recorded in the past. The album had long been criticized for its somewhat “tinny” sound and the lack of thought paid to former bassist Jason Newsted’s line. “ ‘…And Justice For All’ except for Jason” has been a common complaint among fans since the original album was released; with the reissue that seems to be the only serious complaint remaining.

(Newsted left the band in 2001. Robert Trujillo now handles bass.)

Anyone diving into the new box set edition of “…And Justice For All” will notice that the reissue has a lot more going on than a few production improvements. The box set holds nearly 150 tracks and features, in addition to the album’s original nine tracks, a large number of previously unreleased demos and live recordings of some of the band’s outstanding live performances including their legendary 1989 Seattle Center Coliseum show during which the encore setlist was nearly as long as the planned setlist.

The songs were doing well but after “…And Justice For All,” the group began trying to tighten their material. Each of the tracks averaged about seven minutes and the band members were starting to feel the effects of playing each of the songs live and in succession.

“I remember being on that tour playing these songs live and looking at the setlists just shrink,” Hetfield said. “We used to be able to play a lot of songs, now we can only play this many songs because they are so long. Realizing the connection between the studio, making music, getting creative, and bringing it into a live setting – it started to become clearer that some of these songs were getting a little long-winded.”

However, metal fans loved the music and kept listening as Metallica continued to release albums, “…And Justice For All” serving as a catalyst for further experimentation.

With “…And Justice For All” and “One,” Metallica produced its first music video. This advancement was controversial among sections of the group’s fan base and lead to accusations of the band’s having “sold out.”

“It disappointed us that fans would get angry at you for being an artist, or doing what you feel you want to do to explain yourself to the world or to connect with the world,” Hetfield told Clash.

However, in true metal style, the band has continued to do as they please.

“You gotta get out there and live,” drummer Lars Ulrich told Clash in an interview last year, “and if you don’t live, then you suffocate. You only get one life, so it’s like our time on the planet is way too short to have that much willful limit of your own options.”

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