The latest scandal in the rock scene erupted a few days ago, after it was shamefully discovered that the latest Metallica record, Death Magnetic, released just this Friday, sounds a lot, lot better on Guitar Hero 3, then on the actual CD. That’s what mastering engineer Ian Shepherd discovered when, on a tip from a Metallica forum, he compared the compression rates between the CD and the GH versions. What’s even sadder is that the songs were compressed audio-wise, instead of the convetional size-wise manouver. This is so the music sounds as loud as possible, at the expense of dynamics. Technically, the CD version of Death Magnetic is ten decibels louder than the GH version while completely bleaching out the dynamic range.
Now, outraged fans demand a re-mix and re-issue of the CD version, with that of the perfectly sounding GH one. Seriously, the CD version of Death Magnetic is like a big load of crap, when put face to face with the Guitar Hero mix. It just doesn’t compare!
Even Ted Jensen, who is credited with mastering DM in the liner notes, admitted on a message board, “Believe me I’m not proud to be associated with this one, and we can only hope that some good will come from this in some form of backlash against volume above all else.” Jensen said the mixers of the album are to blame for the compression problems. Metallica is usually on hand for the mixing stage, but this time around they were away in Europe.
Anway, things can’t remain this way, and 2,730 fans have already signed a petition asking that the album be re-mixed (as opposed to remixed) and/or remastered. Failing that, someone will eventually record themselves playing the song perfectly within the game and distribute it via bit torrent, and then Metallica’s label will have another thing to get upset about.