Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Metallica - R.I.P. Magnetic


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.

6 comments:

Arnold said...

I can't wait till November to see Metallica in concert again! The Death Magnetic CD is sickly AWESOME! I have seen them 3 times previous (they don't always make it up here to Portland)...It sucked cause tickets sold out in minutes and when I got to the checkout to buy them I hit refresh cause it started at like 2 mins then went to 11 mins in wait time, etc...Anyways I missed out on them but got them from that tickets for face value site eSellOut anyways: http://www.esellout.com/ResultsGeneral.aspx?kwds=Metallica ~ if anyone else needs tickets for the Rose Garden here in Portland (or I guess anywhere else for that matter) the site ROCKS!

-Arnold

elite force said...

Couldn't agree more with Dan on all of that.

I was pretty excited to hear they'd returned to their roots ... after all, I grew up with their sound - in fact, the first time I saw them play live back was way back in 1984 at the Lyceum in London, which held around 600 people. Saw them twice on the Master of Puppets tour in '86 with Anthrax as their support band. Class!

Anyway, music aside, I was shocked to hear the quality of the recording on this album - they seem to have lost sight of the art of mixing & mastering completely - there's so much squaring of the tops of the waveforms it almost sounds like the whole album's been bitcrushed.

real shame.

Kristian Dando said...

If you think that's bad, have a listen to the last album 'St Anger'....

disuye said...

The loudness / limiting sickness which has plagued the music industry these last 15 years is not a new problem ... I was just well surprised to hear about people who should really know better, fucking it up SO badly!

St. Anger was pretty awful musically so I didn't pay attention long enough to check the waveforms ... similar case?

disuye said...

Lost sight completely! Those guys have got ROOMS and ROOMS full of top end recording gear. For what!?

Anonymous said...

I thought it was my ears at first, or my speakers. Then I checked the waveforms.

Wow. That's just so bad words can't describe. How hard can it be nowadayts to get something loud yet not clipping to death.

Some great songs on this album but not sure how many times my ears can stand the distorted crunchiness.

Opportunity missed I'd say.