Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Death Magnetic Via Guitar Hero

GHIt looks like news that the version of Death Magnetic for Guitar Hero is of higher quality than the CD version is spreading far and wide. At least two fans have gone to town furiously recording the Guitar Hero tracks and spreading them around as mp3 and flac files, and the response from listeners has been overwhelmingly positive. For weeks the Metallica forums have been spewing hate due to the sound quality of the CD, so it's good to instead see the community moving together for the common good.

What I've heard of the tracks is astounding. They are much lower in volume, have dynamic range, and the instruments don't fall into a mush when the band really kicks it into high gear. Not only that, but because the developers got this before the final master was created, their mix is a bit different in places. "The Judas Kiss" features a little laugh by James and layered vocals, "The End of the Line" has an extra chant of the title, and "Suicide & Redemption" has an intro bass line.

The lack of compression has at least one side effect I find undesirable. The riff James plays underneath Kirk's solo in "Day" is not nearly as loud as the CD and vinyl version. I really like the machine gun attack feel, and that's definitely muted via Guitar Hero.

But the overall sound is miles above the standard versions. This goes a long way to prove that the original, separate tracks are fairly clean, and that the majority of volume spiking was introduced during the mixing phase. Maybe Metallica should hire Neversoft to produce the final mix and master for their follow-up record. Or they could be all cutting edge, Trent Reznor style, and simply release the original Death Magnetic tracks to the public for the fans to remix as they see fit (a la nin's Ghosts and The Slip).


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