I'm not the biggest fan of Metallica, but I am a fan of well recorded, well mixed and well mastered music.
Metallica and producer Rick Rubin - for reasons unknown - certainly feel otherwise! The new album Death Magnetic sounds like, well, sounds like something I would've mixed eight or nine years ago had I not known any better. With my monitors switched off. And every dial set to 11.
Having read about this on a number of music forums (and in honour to Lars Ulrich vs. Napster) I downloaded a few of the album tracks to hear for myself. Death Magentic has to be the worst casualty of the Loudness War in history. Painfully clipped. Distorted to hell. And back again. Limited to within an inch of it's life.
Go and find some FLAC versions of the CD and see for yourself. The wave form is pure comedy. Over on Gearslutz the mastering engineer on that project, Ted Jensen, was quoted to have said that he is not proud of the work and that the mix files came to him already limited to the max. Why didn't he send them back? Anyway. Not for me to speculate.
This link has all the info you could possibly want on the matter so I'm not going to recycle the author's words again for the sake of one mouse click. No matter what your thoughts are on Metallica or commercial rock music ... if you are even remotely interested in good quality, well recorded music, take 5 minutes to familiarise yourself with how not to do it.