Friday, August 22, 2008

Mastering Problems Plague Metallica's "Day" Release

Although the writing and musicianship on Metallica's "The Day That Never Comes" is very good, the quality of the recording itself is not. The version I originally listened to was from their MySpace page, which ended up being about 96 kbps, so I accepted the poor quality. Since then I've acquired the 256 kbps versions from iTunes and the pay section of Mission: Metallica, and even though the bitrate is higher, the distortion and clipping due to excessive volume is still present.

Present? Wait, let me rephrase that. I meant to say, "The compression is a Godzilla beastie that has hunkered down within Metallica's homeland, and is now busy sonically destroying anything on the landscape within a 500 mile radius." Just listen!

The tune is so wrecked that even people unaware of the Loudness War can tell it's awful, and are loudly complaining on Metallica's forums. Rick Rubin's last decade of albums under his command are notorious for being some of the worst casualties of the Loudness War, but not even those discs are this bad. Since their cover of Maiden's "Remember Tomorrow" survived intact, here's to hoping the actual Death Magnetic CD isn't fried like this. It would be awfully amusing if the Guitar Hero version, which by design features a remix and remaster of the original tracks, ends up sounding better.

Edit 1: The song has been removed from Met's MySpace page, but still remains at their other two sites.

Edit 2: Metallica's "people" have addressed the issue. Read about it at Blabbermouth.

Edit 3: A new version has been released on Mission: Metallica, but people claim it's simply the same clip at lower volume. Unintentional distortion still rules!


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