Friday, May 15, 2009

Or should we re-mix and re-master?

Metallica's (in)famous Death Magnetic

Listen to the examples below, and if you feel like it, join the petition – 20,000 signatures and counting – asking to have the album remastered (although in actual fact the problem is in the mixing stage, so it needs a re-mix. Search the net for an off-the-record comment from the mastering engineer Ted Jensen).

But is it right to suggest that we should you go back and re-mix an album because we think that it could sound better? This would be exactly the argument that I oppose with regards to re-mastering old records.

Maybe we should respect the artist's choice and let Death Magnetic takes is place in history as a very distorted record. What makes this case slightly different is that the fans' response has been immediate, making this case a little more similar to the public's response to Coca Cola's decision in 1992 to change its formula. Metallica introduces a new formula, louder than loud, that could arguably be more like a mistake than a conscious choice. But will Metallica do like Coke and listen to their critics? Judging by the sound of Death Magnetic, not without an hearing aid.

For more about Loudness Wars visit or google "loudness war"

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