18 September 2008 @ 15:33Metallica’s new album: Death Problematic

Metallica’s newest album Death Magnetic, has been well-received by both critics and fans. Many people agree that upon close listening, the album is poorly mixed. The bass guitar is difficult to hear (a la …And Justice For All) and the guitars have a strong but buzzing presence. 

The overall clarity of the music on Death Magnetic is compromised and instead of crystal-clear notes we get distortion – heavy distortion. Assuming this was the effect the band intended, I just went with it and accepted it for what it was.

When gamers who were busy playing the new album on Guitar Hero 3 (Xbox 360 version) listened to the music, they noticed something different. There was a much cleaner, crisper sound to the music. Since then, there have been many people ripping the music found on the Guitar Hero 3 game and uploading it to torrent sites as a “Fixed” version of Death Magnetic. Having bought the album last Friday, I decided to download the GH3 “Fixed” version. 

I immediately noticed a more pronounced bass guitar presence, more distinguishable guitar notes and of course a sweet surprise: a second version of the instrumental “Suicide & Redemption” with a James Hetfield solo. This version was a bonus for gamers purchasing the album.

The source of this lies within what audiophiles call “The Loudness Wars”. New rock music albums compress the frequencies of the music, which clips the loud and soft sounds in favor of boosting overall volume. 

I’m on the fence on this. Part of me respects what the artists involved want me to hear. The other part says they made a big mistake and released a botched retail album. I doubt this issue will be resolved as the album has almost achieved platinum record sales, but this is one music trend that I hope disappears.

Buy Metallica’s Death Magnetic:
iTunes | AmazonMP3 | Amazon (CD) | Amazon UK (CD)

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