The music has heavy distorted riffs throughout this album mixed with some clean tone melodies as was featured on the songs such as "The Unforgiven" and "Nothing Else Matters." The guitars on this album are wholly original and thick. Really catchy rhythms, but tempos that are not wholly fast paced as was featured on "...And Justice For All." The band lightened up and put forth heavy metal here. The songs themselves were all noteworthy and deserve praise.
The guitars all of them fit together - the rhythms, leads, bass all were well mixed to the point to where you could hear everything throughout the album. Hammett's solos featured a lot of use of the wah pedal which meshed well with the rhythms. The acoustics where wholly melodic and noteworthy. Hetfield's voice was such that you could understand what he's saying throughout this entire album. He really sings as opposed to the passed releases which he was more aggressive.
The bass guitar was barely audible on "...And Justice For All", but not on this release. You can hear his efforts this whole album. I really liked that about this album because I think that it was unfair to leave the bass barely audible. The guitar riffs were totally original and unique. Each song had its peaks and valleys with the tracks varying intensely, while overall all tracks were worth hearing.
Production was awesome as I've previously stated each track was well mixed together so that all of the instruments/vocals/backup vocals were all up to par. That's what was lacking in prior releases - "...And Justice For All", "Master of Puppets", "Ride the Lightning", and "Kill 'Em All" all had mixing that were below par. The bass mainly was the problem - it was hard to hear as I mentioned. But on this release everything flew together in right proximity.
A lot of people consider to call this release as being a sell-out. I, too, for a while, was of that same mentality, but after repeated listens to I've concluded that this release was great heavy metal. The song riffs, vocals, bass, and drums all struck me to finally say that it's worth picking up. After this release was their downfall. Straightforward heavy metal is what this Metallica album was all about. Don't miss out on some great tunes here. A milder Metallica, but still very catchy and noteworthy.