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Hardwired...To Self Destruct production

Discussion in 'Bar' started by Downtuned, Nov 19, 2016.

  1. Downtuned

    Downtuned Losethehorizonagain

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    Musically I'm not commenting as each to his own but I thought I'd talk about the production.

    Honestly, I can't see 'that' much wrong with it. The only issue I have is with that dreadful guitar tone. It sounds undergained yet over-saturated in the upper mids and has a boxy quality with that horrendous Load Twang (and I liked Load).

    There's an issue with the kick drum too in that it seems boosted in a really weird place and it's pretty inconsistent as well. Besides that I like the snare sound and the rest of it seems mixed reasonably well. The mastering to my ears is fine too.

    I just don't get why a band at that level who along with their engineers were once pioneers of guitar tones now so dreadfully bad at recognising something so rubbish. They should be hunting out and begging Andy Sneap or Scott Atkins to record them.

    As I say, I'm not here to comment on the actual music (I quite like the album though bar a few fillers) and I'd say it's a massive improvement over Death Magnetic but the guitar tone almost kills it for me.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. ~BURNY~

    ~BURNY~ Member

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    Guitar tone is not my cup of tea but I can cope with that, drums are generally too dry for my taste with the kick and the snare being too loud in the mix (thanks to Lars impaired hearing) and the kick itself sounds like a clipped metallic piece of shit, maybe like a crappy piezo element. This is the biggest fault to my ears. It sounds like it doesn't belong to the mix if that makes sense.
    That said, Lars playing is generally godawful, self-indulgent and piss poor. Kirk should get is wha shoved up his butt.
     
  3. Novocaine

    Novocaine Member

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    I haven't listened to the album enough to really pay attention to the little details, but my first impression was that the production sounded very boring and average, like bedroom warrior with EZDrummer and EZMix average. The drum sound is particularly vanilla and uninspired, though the guitar sounds ok. It's like the criticism on St. Anger's sound has killed all their aspirations regarding special tones.

    Writing-wise, the album is still better than anything they've done since Reload, though that doesn't say much.
     
  4. chrisjmp

    chrisjmp Member

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    I think the guitar twang is a Greg Fidelman thing, I seem to remember a Slayer album he did having a similar quality. It's almost like a single coil sounding attack on the guitars.

    To me the most offensive part is the kick and snare, the kick especially.
     
  5. P-E

    P-E Munchkin

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    ^ Agreed. The same goes for the dry cracky snare. Typical Fidelman metal mix, sounds pretty awful considering how Metallica could get close to anyone in the world to mix their record.
     
  6. Novocaine

    Novocaine Member

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    Am I the only one who actually likes the guitar "twang"? sounds much better than the stock 5150 tones everyone uses nowadays.
     
  7. Downtuned

    Downtuned Losethehorizonagain

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    I really like the snare sound on the album. To me it has a similarity to the Black Album snare with that crack and I like a drum heavy mix so it's all good.

    I do agree the kick is pretty bad. Awful in fact. I don't think Lars uses triggers so that may have something to do with it. I think the whole kit sounds pretty big on the intro to Lords Of Summer. Don't know why that song was on the bonus disc as it's better than at least 4 of the main tracks.

    I do like a certain type of twang on a heavy guitar but this just sounds scratchy and rather offensive. The palm mutes come out very nicely on it but that doesn't save the actual tone itself.

    I wonder what amps Andy would have chosen for them had he been recording?
     
  8. MrBongo

    MrBongo idiot at work

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    in addition to the sub-par choice of sounds, I also think there is a lack of movement in the songs, transitions between parts are not well engineered, and nothing really is accentuated. That´s what makes it sound really boring
     
  9. Delitzsch

    Delitzsch Führendes Mitglied

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    Very good and fair review of the album. I agree with his rating of the album. You can skip to the last 5 minutes if you don't feel like watching the whole thing.

     
  10. Jarkko Mattheiszen

    Jarkko Mattheiszen The FU guy.

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    You're absolutely not :)
     
  11. Switchback

    Switchback Member

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    Not inconsistent. It's not triggered, and Lars has a dynamic playin', which is good in my pov.
    The kick sound isn't trendy but I like it, personal tastes.

    Not a huge fan of the guitar sound, but still decent, I think.
     
  12. Downtuned

    Downtuned Losethehorizonagain

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    That's a very fair review. I agree about Lars' drumming although I think it's solid enough but his pattern choices are really weak and tend to wreck the flow of the songs.

    I'd give it about a 7/10, most of that going to James Hetfield and I do enjoy it but it does have it's flaws. I do think there are about 3 or 4 fillers on the album which if it were trimmed down to a ten track album or even a dirty eight and the guitar tone was more something like the black album or even just a decent tone then I'd score it higher.

    I'm not a hardcore Metallifan either. Couldn't stand Death Magnetic but I really like this album.
     
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  13. Star Ark

    Star Ark Member

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    I like the dynamic kick drums too but can see why others don't. My complaints are in terms of arrangement. Most songs could be great 3:30 catchy thrash tunes but some of them have these zz top bridge sections that are just redundant. Spit out the bone is a prine example. Also Kirk is literally reusing old solos in this album, his phrases are completely lifted from past albums. 7/10 when i was expecting much worse. pretty damn happy with it actually.
     
  14. Megin

    Megin Member

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    I can't understand why Kirk insist and never get bored of using wah. He should be whipped on his hands whenever he nears his wah pedal
     
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  15. Downtuned

    Downtuned Losethehorizonagain

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    I agree with most of what you are saying and 7/10 is what I'd give it too. The songs do tend to go on too long although It's nowhere near as bad as Death Magnetic. I'm half and half on Kirk's solos but they do just sound like same old shit most of the time but there's moments of greatness there which I do enjoy. The wah is overkill though and while I'm not against it it'd be nice to hear a dry solo for a change.

    Every time I listen to the album I enjoy it (bar the fillers) but it's the guitar tone which jumps out at me as being the main flaw. I'm sure if it was nicer sounding it would make all the difference.
     
  16. Matt Smith

    Matt Smith THEOCRACY

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    My biggest complaint sonically is with the amount of top end on the drums. I like a drum-heavy mix, and I like a lot of top as well, but good Lord...listening to it loud is pretty painful. Sounds like they chained 5 EQs together with a 10k shelf dimed on each and strapped it across the drums. When the Black Album sounds dull by comparison, you know you've pushed it too far.
    At least this one isn't distorted though. :)
     
  17. Korwent

    Korwent Member

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    One thing that can't be taken away fromthem is they clearly don't give a shit about what the trend is soundwise, it is thinking that way you create the trend and not fllow it!
    If you think about it, most albums are quite dark sounding compared to 20-30 years ago, and if the drums were less upfront in the mix the album would be really old school sounding.
    The bad thing is the kick drum still sucks,but kudos for them for trying at least.
     
  18. Downtuned

    Downtuned Losethehorizonagain

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    See I'm not so convinced that it's the drums which are too bright or too loud but rather the guitars are just way too bland to compliment them. It wouldn't hurt to maybe shave a bit of high end off the drums to be sure (the cymbals seem a little hot in places) and if they were combined with a brighter and crunchier guitar tone with more gain and more bite in the right places and I think it would sound really good. It's almost the opposite of Death Magnetic which had incredibly demo sounding dull drums and really spiky and brittle guitar tones which seems to be a Greg Fidelman feature.

    As is there doesn't seem to be much of a 'room tone' on the guitars, as if one mic was just jammed right up against the grill cloth with none of the environment ambience coming through for a bit of roundness to the tone.

    Again it seems to be a Fidelman trait.

    I just wonder what it'd be like if Andy recorded them, but then again would he get the freedom to give them what he thought was best or would he have Lars nipping at him every 5 minutes and micro managing the drum sound?

    Korwent is right though in that at least they don't sound like a typical modern production and that has to be respected, but then again I think that's exactly what they need.
     
  19. ~BURNY~

    ~BURNY~ Member

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    Sounding like shit for the sake of originality... Sure why not...Half j/k ;)

    This is all very subjective anyway. Some people will like their sound no matter what, others won't. I don't think it's a matter of trend, it's perception and culture mostly.

    That said I don't know why I keep trying, I haven't liked a Metallica song since the Black Album. And even then I didn't like a lot of their songs. I'd give it a solid 4/10.
     
  20. ~BURNY~

    ~BURNY~ Member

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    For shits and giggles, here's a sample of my "fix that shit" mastering that allowed me to listen to the songs without paying attention to the sound.

    Fist half is original, second is processed:
    Sample (for "educational" purpose only)

    It's meant to minimize what annoys me personally and it's obviously detrimental to some other aspects of the mix. There's no way to magically make it sound great, just bearable to my ears.
     

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