Former Metallica producer says band is behind ‘…And Justice For All’s’ sound shortcomings

…And Justice For All arguably should have been Metallica’s finest album, given the quality of the material within. There are certainly those who still feel it is, but more often than not, the album gets criticized for how it sounds — namely its lower production quality and lack of noticeable bass.

The producer of that album, Flemming Rasmussen, talked about the album recently during the Alphabetallica podcast and said, basically, don’t blame him, and that Jason Newsted’s bass might have been turned down because they were still mourning the death of previous bassist Cliff Burton.

“What happened was [mixing engineers Steve Thompson and Mike Barbiero] did a mix that they thought sounded really, really good, which had lots of bass in it,” Rasmussen said, per Consequence of Sound. “And the bass – let me just point out – the bass tracks on …And Justice for All are actually fantastic. Jason plays really well. He probably tried to prove that he was worth, that he was up there with Cliff, which in my opinion he is. It’s a different style, but he is as good of bass player as Cliff, just in a different way. And I’ve heard the bass tracks and they’re absolutely amazing. They sound good, he plays well.

Sponsored link (story continues below)

“But, they heard the mix and they went, ‘Alright, take the bass down, change this this this and this, and then take the bass down.’ So you can barely hear it. And then once they’ve done that they said, ‘Take it another 3dB down.’ Why they did that – I have no idea! It could be that they were still grieving about Cliff. I have no idea. But imagine my surprise when I heard the album. I was like, ‘What the… What?!’ It got really criticized when it came out, and people got more or less blown away because of the dryness of the sound. It just goes BANG, right in your face.”

Regardless, the album remains my personal favorite from the band. I’d admit that with the above issues non-existent it would be even better. To get an idea of what the album might sound like with cleaned up production, check out some of the mixes people have put on YouTube.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *