Lars Ulrich has news for the more than 12,000 fans who have signed an online petition demanding that Metallica's Death Magnetic be either remixed or remastered to fix what many are calling the album's poor dynamic sound range:
In an interview with Blender, Ulrich states bluntly that "there's nothing up with the audio quality. It's 2008, and that's how we make records. [Producer] Rick Rubin's whole thing is to try and get it to sound lively, to get it to sound loud, to get it to sound exciting, to get it to jump out of the speakers. Of course, I've heard that there are a few people complaining. But I've been listening to it the last couple of days in my car, and it sounds fuckin' smokin'."
On the subject of Death Magnetic sounding better in Guitar Hero, Ulrich says, "What are you going to do? A lot of people say [the CD] sounds great, and a few people say it doesn't, and that's OK. You gotta remember, when we put out...And Justice For All, people were going, 'What happened to these guys, this record? There's no bass on it. It sounds like it was recorded in a fuckin' garage on an eight-track.' And now...And Justice For All is sort of the seminal Metallica record that supposedly influenced a whole generation of death-metal bands."
The problem is the Internet
Ironically, Ulrich blames his old bete noir: the Internet. "The Internet gives everybody a voice, and the Internet has a tendency to give the complainers a louder voice. Listen, I can't keep up with this shit. Part of being in Metallica is that there's always somebody who's got a problem with something that you're doing."
Ulrich, echoing the sentiments of Metallica's co-manager Cliff Burnstein, contends that the response to the record has been overwhelmingly positive and he refuses to rethink the band's artistic vision - and that of producer Rick Rubin.
"I'm not gonna sit here and get caught up in whether [the sound] 'clips' or it doesn't 'clip,'" says Ulrich. "I don't know what kind of stereos these people listen on. Me and James [Hetfield] made a deal that we would hang back a little and not get in the way of whatever Rick's vision was. That's not to put it on him - it's our record, I'll take the hit, but we wanted to roll with Rick's vision of how Metallica would sound."
In other words, if you have a problem with how Death Magnetic sounds, just wait 20 years and you'll be calling it a classic.