Metallica "Death Magnetic" - Distortion is deliberate, say band - Mastering Media Blog

Monday, 29 September 2008

Metallica "Death Magnetic" - Distortion is deliberate, say band


So, finally we have the statement from Metallica everyone has been waiting for. Drummer Lars Ulrich has spoken out - the full details are reported by Blender.com here. I'll pick and choose some points to comment on, but the main message is:

"Listen, there's nothing up with the audio quality. It's 2008, and that's how we make records... 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'."

For all of us hoping that Metallica would listen to their fans, this is disappointing but not surprising. After all, the CD has sold extremely well, there has not been a flood of returns, and most reviews of the album agree it is musically their best in years. And as Lars points out:

"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: 'James Hetfield had something for breakfast that I don't like.' That's part of the ride."

This is absolutely true, but lets look at a few numbers. Metallica's manager claims that only 2% of fans are unhappy, based on 10,000 signatures to the online petition asking for the album to be remixed, and well over a million sales. It might seem he is being generous, since by my calculation that comes out at only 1%. Lars says:

"Somebody told me about [people complaining that the Guitar Hero version of Death Magnetic sounds better]. Listen, 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."

Based on the petition results, Lars and his manager think only "a few" fans are unhappy. But there are other numbers they are choosing to ignore. 

This blog has seen 75,000 additional hits since I first posted about the distortion and clipping which many feel compromise the sound of the CD. Out of 166 comments so far, only a handful disagree with my analysis. The YouTube video which contrasts the CD with the comparitively clean "Guitar Hero" game soundtrack version of the tunes has had over 150,000 views, and more than 500 comments posted. From all the users who posted these comments, only 34 had a favourable or even neutral comment to make about the sound of the CD as compared to the Guitar Hero mix. Even assuming that out of the 500 only 300 were posted by unique users, that still makes the comments 88% negative. 

So, even if the 10,000 (actually 12,500, two days later) petition figure is a true representation of the levels of dissatisfaction and not, as has been suggested, only one tenth or one fiftieth of the total number of unhappy listeners, I still think Metallica and their management have missed a key point here.

Virtually all the commentary on the sound of this CD has been negative.

Radio hosts have discussed it. Mastering engineers have mocked it - even the man who mastered it disclaims responsibility. The issue has been widely reported by a wide range of pundits. And still, only a smattering of responses coming to the album's defence. Even Lars hedges his bets and ends up blaming the producer:

"I will say that the overwhelming response to this new record has exceeded even our expectations as far as how positive it is. So I'm not gonna sit here and get caught up in whether [the sound] 'clips' or it doesn't 'clip.' 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."

Well Lars, Rick's vision is just a distorted mush. First of all - it clips. Next of all, there's a reason why it sounds smokin' in your car - it's because your car isn't a very revealing place to judge the quality of music recordings. Having said that, I can hear the distortion and blunt, lifeless sound in my car. And on my laptop speakers, and my £20,000 mastering rig, and on my iPod headphones. What is your stereo like ? Maybe as a successful musician you should invest in a better one ? Or a pair of headphones ?

Finally, half-heartedly pointing the finger at Rubin is a cop-out - damn right, you take the hit, Metallica. Rubin coaxed songs and performances from the band that all the fans agree are some of Metallica's best ever - that's a producer's job, and he deserves credit for it. The fact that his misunderstanding of what makes things sound loud resulted in the obliteration of a perfectly good mix is his fault, but even if the rumours that the band weren't present at the mix are true, they ultimately signed off the results. And the results are rubbish. Even the reviews on Amazon agree.

So, what now ? We have our statement from the band, who say there will be no remix. The battle is lost, the Loudness War blunders on. Was it all much ado about nothing ? In some ways, Yes. The album is the fastest selling of 2007/2008, and the band's shows are sold out. And after all, Live is where the fans really want to hear Metallica, and thanks to the internet they can later download the clean, undistorted recordings of the gigs from the band's official website.

But in other ways, I think the answer is No. A great many ears have been opened by the debates on various websites and internet forums, and a great number of people have listened critically to the music they are being offered, and realised it doesn't have to be that way for the first time. The Loudness Wars have been reported by as wide a selection of commentators as Rolling Stone and the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian and the NME, and the LA Times and Wired magazine.

I'm not sure things will ever be the same again. Metallica and their label obviously hope fans will give up and stop signing the petition - maybe they will, maybe they won't. Many fans will decide the CD is un-listenable and get hold of a copy of "Death Magnetic" as represented in the Guitar Hero mix, or even a fan remix if they prefer. Others will continue to oppose the loudness war on the website they have set up themselves, just for this purpose.

I don't think this is the last time we will see this kind of reaction on this kind of scale, I think it's the first. And as a result, hopefully in future more and more people will choose not (to use that technical phrase again) to smash the f**k out of their next CD release in the mistaken belief that it will make it sound loud.

What I find truly heartening is the number of people who have spoken out about this CD, and clearly affirmed my belief, along with most mastering engineers, that

Louder is Better, except when it's Worse.


36 comments:

Hollow Man said...

Thanks for the link! Keep fighting the fight, although it's a beyond tough battle. But look at it this way: if they keep pushing the levels the way they've been going, pretty soon no one will be able to say they can't hear how awful this junk sounds.

-HM

Mark said...

Hi! I've been reading your blog for a couple of weeks now (not only because of the death magnetic situation, I produce my own music as a hobby, so it's nice to see some tips on improving the quality of my masters) and I have to say that we can't blame the band for the audio quality of their record, since they are, well... musicians!

As a musician and amateur producer myself, I kind of understand that. It's actually pretty hard to find musicians who actually care about the mastering process. They just know how to play their instruments and arrange songs. That's it. Only a few could tell this album's mastering sucks.

If there's someone to blame in this story, it's Rubin. He's a great producer, but it's not the first time people complain about the auido quality of his records. Remember Californication? It would be nice if you could post something related to it, so that people start looking at the real culprit here. This album got his SIGNATURE all over! Even if I didn't know he was the producer I could tell the first time I listened to it that it was his work.

Mitchell Payne said...

I don't see how anyone could have shed light on this subject any better, Ian. I LOVE IT! I find this entry to be most inspiring!

A side note about those whom you were referring to that didn't previously know of a problem with music these days but have been awakened because of these events - I was one of them. I always thought some songs like Californication sounded a little... off somehow. Now I know why.

-Mitchell-

soulcrusher807 said...

The problem with bring up all those numbers from youtube and the percentage of negative versus positive is that the people who are happy with the CD are not gong out of their way to make it known unlike those who have a problem with the sound seem to feel the need to do.

Daniel said...

Ian, this is probably the best reply i´ve ever read, thank you! I must say i got a little pissed off reading Lars statement, what is he talking about?

Anyway, i will do what i can to support you and this brilliant blog ( the first blog i have ever read and bookmarked )

Not bad:)

HuSniTo said...

Thanx Ian for the blog. I love Metallica, and I really feel sorry for them.

If I as a fan feel angry when I listen, do you think they feel less angry? I don't think so. They just can't do anything about it anymore.

I don't know how to express my feelings but..... Nothing to say!

Richard Tollerton said...

Ian, love the blog, and your posts, but I'm actually going to come out in direct opposition to you.

tung said...

Ian,

Thanks for blogging on this subject.

Things need to change. We all need to help get the word out. I'm doing what I can as well.

Pete Bilderback said...

Interesting blog. I'm looking forward to reading more. I've covered this issue at my own blog a few times. It is good to hear the perspective of someone with a background in mastering.

I currently have a post up on issues I have with the remastering Rhino did on The Replacements' Pleased to Meet Me. It's not on the same level as what's been done to the Metallica album, but IMO it still presents a problem.

Keep up the good work.

VengeancePuppy said...

It appears to me that Metallica, and their manager too, in defending the CD version of the album, have essentially said that they can't see what's wrong with it. I've noticed a lot of "modern" music sounds somehow wrong but until I found out about the loudness wars I couldn't understand why

M.Yass said...

The reaction sadly is more or less what I was expecting from Lars. He's basically saying it's good enough. How can you not be passionate about your own album. If it had been done properly it would be better for *everybody*.

That picture of Lars kinda looks like my pain induced face when I try to listen to the album.

Blogwart said...

I am really pissed off by this statement from Lars.

I cannot believe that a band can sell themselves to such a sonic abomination.

Maybe I am too spoiled by all the stuff I heard when I was a kid. Dire Straits' »Alchemy« is still my favourite album of all time and their »Brothers in arms« has a production that gets me excited everytime I hear it.

I understand that they wanted it loud, because it is in your face and it apparently sells well.

I recently took the test and made it (accidentally) just like Lars did it: I heard DM in the car, on the factory built in stereo (the CD was made from MP3s). It was average at best. Loud, yes – but when I switched to Machine Heads »The Blackening« (mentioned a few entries down) I had the impression that this is far more kicking right in the face than DM.

You can blame it on the DM MP3s, but I don't think that this was the reason. This amateurish undynamic mix was to blame.

That's the way you do it – Money for nothing and clippings for free.

ianshepherd said...

Thanks for all the positive comments, I'm glad I said something worthwhile ! I wrote the post in a rush last night and re-read it this morning thinking I might have to edit it, but actually I think it sums up my thoughts pretty clearly.

@soulcrusher807 -If all the noise is just a load of whiners, where are the people defending the way it sounds ? They are few and far between, because the truth is, it doesn't sound good. I've expected these posts to be flooded by irate fans, but it hasn't happened... Fans are quick to jump to Metallica's defence in most areas, but not this one.

@richard - interesting post, but I disagree on several points. I'll comment a reply when I get a minute :-)

Surly Bastard said...

I don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet, but check this link out:

http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.Net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=103363

This is from the day the 'Day that Never Comes' single was released, and the Mission Metallica website tech guys claimed there was a problem with the sound of the MP3 and it would be fixed, and of course it never was. What do people make of this?

Gonçalo Brito said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gonçalo Brito said...

I'm sorry for being so brutal, but i think this is "full of shit".

I fail to see where the CD sound is a problem as i explain:

"

*
*

http://br.youtube.com/watch?v=DRyIACDC...
There's a lot of talk going on about the LOUDNESS WARS. Supposedly, producers are competing to achieve maximum loudness before reaching a distorted sound.

Some say Death Magnetic, the latest Metallica album, has fallen victim to this. This video allegedly shows the difference between the "compressed" CD Version of the audio and the "uncompressed" audio that can be heard on Guitar Hero.

I think people are missing the point here: When you're talkin about one of the biggest bands in the world, nothing happens by chance. If the CD sounds like it does, it's because it's aesthetically supposed to sound like that. Period.

A lot of people missed the point in Metallica's previous album "Saint Anger", screaming that it had "bad sound". It didn't. It's actual a quite innovative and ingenious production.

Plus, Industrial bands have been "destroying" sound definition for ages, for aesthetics sake.

What's your guys take on this? I'd really like to know."

Mitchell Payne said...

@Goncalo: A couple things. First, you have a point about St. Anger. Most of the complaints were that the snare drum was too obnoxious. I noticed the sound of it myself (who couldn't), but from the start it was obviously a creative decision and the album quickly grew on me.

I've compared St. Anger to DM and one thing is clear - dispite St. Anger's obnoxious snare drum and somewhat muffled guitar sound, that album still has clarity and dynamics. Every Metallica album has (at the very least) been without atrociously distorted production as it seems that every beat and note of a Metallica album has been meant to be clearly heard as well as experienced. James has been quoted as calling themselves "perfectionists". Also, James said that Fidleman is tuned to what him and the band's likes and needs are. When have they ever liked or needed their album to sound distorted like this? All of these circumstances combined is what makes it so rediculous to think the band actually wanted this record to sound like the jumbled and unlistenable mess that it is.

My conclusion: I don't believe that the band is truly happy with the end result of their album. They may not be aware of it. Maybe they can't hear the problem (tinnitus?) Or, maybe they haven't listened to the version that is sitting on the shelves of record stores today. In any event I think they gave too much control to the production team and it has backfired.

Blogwart said...

@mitchell:

Your conclusion may be right. But that leads to another conclusion: The production team – including so called legend Rick Rubin – then is clearly not worth the money.

My girlfriend heard the album today for the first time. She knows nothing about music production or any technical things involved, but she couldn't stand listening through one song and said it feels »squashed« and »flat«. The only way she could barely stand it was at a very low volume level.

Gonçalo Brito said...

@Mitchell Payne:

Before this whole polemics came up, i had noticed the album being a little too "aggressive sounding" for me to be able to withstand more than a couple songs in a row.

I'm a Metallica fan (have been almost groupie)since forever, but i just figured "hey, I'm getting too old for this", mostly because i also have a band and have been complaining about the loudness of rehearsals too.

I'm also an amateur sound engineer, and a journalist, meaning i understand the issue, but above all i'm always inclined to suspect everythig, lest i try it myself.

This is internet age, and we can't just go and believe everything just because it's on youtube. Nothing personal Ian, I'm just like this about everything. I have to in my line of work.

Anyways, i have no reason to suspect Ian or the rest of the people who made the visual comparatives of CD vs GH, so i'm assuming it's all true.

The point is, if there hadn't been for the GH version of the songs, everyone would just assume there was nothing wrong with the CD.

I rather believe there's something wrong with the GH version, as it is quite possible the audio for the GH version didn't go through the same channels as the CD, given it would be used as background track.

Say you prefer CD or GH, whatever, it bears no consequence. This is how the CD sounds, and this is how it will go down in history.

Lars has a point: "And Justice..." was mighty criticized because of it's "shitty" sound. They actually had studio problems on that one.
It may have correct dynamic range, but it has a REALLY bad bass resonance.
Then, Stoner music came along and it was all just fine. Now it's trademark.

I really think this is a no-problem. If you don't like it do like you do with all the other music you don't like: don't listen to it.

ianshepherd said...

@gonçalo I could tell within seconds of listening to the first iTunes sample that the CD was hugely distorted. The GH version just offers us the chance to demonstrate this to anyone who hasn't listened out critically for this stuff before.

The distortion isn't a *fault* as such, but in my opinion achieves nothing. The master could sound just as "energetic" without it, and would be better as a result.

It's true the production team have the right to make the record sound however they want, however in this case half the team (the band) didn't participate. Maybe if they had, Rubin would still have persuaded them to make it sound like this, but I don't think so.

Gonçalo Brito said...

@Ian. «The distortion isn't a *fault* as such, but in my opinion achieves nothing. The master could sound just as "energetic" without it, and would be better as a result».

It's just an opinion. We can contest every album ever made based on our personal opinions. You don't enjoy hearing the last Metallica CD distorted, you prefer it "clean". Fair enough.

And i bet that most W.A.S.P. fans would prefer to listen to "Kill, Fuck, Die" without the "industrial" filter. (Not me).

Yet that is not a decision up to the fans. It's up to the band - even if it's up to the producer - it was still the bands decision to trust him and go with whatever he does.

If they were not happy with the mix when they heard it, the album wouldn't have hit the market in such condition.

The biggest difference is that there was no "user driven" Internet when "Kill, Fuck, Die" came out.

Some people don't enjoy the mixing on the latest Metallica album. Ok. We get it. They get it. Now we just have to move on.

Oh, and i bet they'll be releasing a special Christmas edition of "Death Magnetic" with an extra disc including the Guitar Hero version of the songs. haha
That would be a laugh.

By the way: great blog. :)

ianshepherd said...

"Yet that is not a decision up to the fans. It's up to the band - even if it's up to the producer - it was still the bands decision to trust him and go with whatever he does."

Agreed. Except - no. As someone said somewhere, if Leonardo da Vinci chose to frame the Mona Lisa behind purple-tinted glass, and almost EVERYONE agreed it was a bad decision, shouldn't he pay attention ? Sometimes an artist's controversial decisions are more important than the people who criticise them, and sometimes they aren't.

I think this is the case where the decision is so misguided it's actually WRONG.

When I did my headcount, out of the 150,000 people who had viewed the YouTube video, *only 34* had bothered to say something positive.

Yes, it's their decision, yes there's little we can do about it, NO we don't have to just let the issue ride.

Especially not when it gets this much attention focused on the Loudness Was :-)

Glad you like the blog ! Normal service will resume at some point...

Gonçalo Brito said...

The thing is i only think this is getting so much attention because it's a BIG BIG band, and people have a way to make themselves heard. But there is always those that just follow the hype. You know that.

"They say politicians are robbing us", hang'em all". People do this without taking a moment to think, and without really form an opinion of they're own.

That's why those Internet numbers mean nothing to me. Cause it's just so easy to click.

Also i don't think it's our position to judge an artists art. We can either like it or not... but it's dangerous to say it's wrong (like a dictator would). History teaches us that...

Acecool said...

It's Obvious Lars Ulrich has a major hearing problem. All those years of playing Drums and Guitars blaring through 1000 wt amps? His hearing is supposed to be normal?

IMO, He is no where near qualified to make judgments concerning the mastering of Death Magnetic.

Now add the Lars Signature of total Ignorance, Motor Mouth Garble, Arrogance and His passion for being Argumentative when no one agrees with him.

Who Pulled the Plug on Jason Newsted on "...And Justice For All" ?

Who was the busy body who stood behind the mixing during the Death Magnetic mastering process?

Personally speaking, Lars was James Hetfield's Folly for inducting him into the band to begin with. Lars poor drumming capabilities didn't get him the job, it was all the bullshit talking his way in. He also stole the name Metallica from another musician. Plagerism and a Bullshitter. All the money in the world couldn't buy his way into a normal lifestyle.

Need I say more?

Acecool

ianshepherd said...

@Gonçalo - Actually it's more than just a click, most people entered their names and many entered comments. Take a look:

http://petition-list-of-names.easyurl.net

That's a lot of names.

Your point about "dictatorship" is interesting, but it doesn't apply in this case. In my opinion (and at least 99% of everyone who has commented on this blog, and commented on the YouTube video, and on the forum threads everywhere...) this was a WRONG decision.

But I'm not saying they CAN'T do this, I'm saying they SHOULDN'T have. I support the petition for a remix, but I'm not suggesting the CDs are returned as faulty. If people want a remix, they can buy it, and the band have every right to refuse to release one, if that's what they want. To be a dictator about this would be to try and prevent them from releasing what they want, and wouldn't do that.

But distorting the hell out of it was still the wrong decision.

Gonçalo Brito said...

@cecool: Very unbiased, and not arrogant at all you are young padawan.

@Ian: OK, i can see we're not going to agree on this here, so it's ok. Got yourself a blog reader though. :)

Acecool said...

@Gonçalo Brito

What? Sorry, having a hard time interpreting your meaning, and The reason you think this is getting so much attention is because you "Think" it's a "Big Big Band???

To play "DEATH MAGNETIC" On a normal loud setting (how else should you play it?), on any system is truly bad on your speakers, unless you play it at low volume, there for the "MANY" Complaints. Not because it's a "BIG BIG BAND"

I bought the "DEATH MAGNETIC" 5 LP Limited Edition Box Set, The Coffin Box Set, The 2 LP album, and two SHM-CD's from Japan, without ever hearing it (pre-order). And why are SO MANY "Fans" complaining? Cause we have nothing better to do than follow a so called placebo effect that has effected the masses?

The meat of the matter is this, The Entire ALBUM is Bricked! Wave EQ Charts/Graphs and what you hear (on a quality system), do not lie. Sure, the album is acceptable to some degree, but not entirely.

Case in point: Lars rebuttal comments on the MANY who have complained about the entire sound being MAXED OUT,

"Listen, there's nothing up with the audio quality. It's 2008, and that's how we make records..."

is not a reason, but a very poor lame excuse! So what Lars is saying, all the albums you buy in 2008 are just as screwed up? or the new way of doing things? That's it? That's his explanation? It makes no Technical "SENSE" at ALL!

Case in point: Why then didn't the mastering for "Guitar Hero III" just use the official un-edited CD version? I'll tell you why, Cause they didn't feel it was fashionably acceptable or marketable for their customers, that's why!

The positive side to all this is, Both the Official version and The Guitar Hero III version can be modified/remastered for an even "BETTER" sound by just about any amateur (I did not say a completely fixable solution). Can be played just as loud as the Official Version, but without the clipping and distortion, and eliminating the paranoia of ruining your speakers. Sure, Metallica hasn't disappointed so much about the new music, but the "DELIVERY" of the music is just another Metallica FK UP! The biggest rip off what the 5 LP Vinyl which sold for over 100.00 dollars, where there is no "ANALOG" sound, but the same Digital mastering used on the CD but at a lower volume (still bricked). "SO WHAT" was the point? I'll tell ya what, the dishonesty and contempt of said musicians deceiving the public with half assed, un-regulated and very poor mastering skills....PERIOD!

I always felt it was "LAR'S" Vindictive personality to get even for P2P sharers, but that would be giving him too much credit, I still think he's just an arrogant, overly animated, over zealous, argumentative busy body who should just stick to his drum playing.

Best scenerio! Bob Rock would have done this album a hell of a lot more Justice. That! I would have put my money on without a doubt.

Young padawan? Try again! How about "Intelligence, Truth or Maturity levels are in no way related to age" my friend. It's called "REALITY" with a sense of wisdom, experience and know how. and FYI, I've been around for 50 nearing 51 years with above average hearing. I am also an avid Heavy Metal music collector since I was in 3rd Grade (The Beatles). I also have a high end PC sound studio, and well above average high end audio systems. On these virtues, I do not lie, nor fabricate. I state my case!

In closing, Fame and Fortune for some, has it's price. Years of alcohol abuse, Drugs and Hearing damage, In this case, Has taken it's toll, "SAD BUT TRUE" (refer to pic of Lars gnashing his teeth on front page, a good idea for a Halloween Costume if you ask me).

When people call you a horse so many times Lars, It's time to buy the saddle. But then again, You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make em' drink. In Lars case, Argue with a fool, they'll just beat you with experience.

Acecool

ianshepherd said...

Just for the record:

Distortion doesn't damage speakers. Playing music too loud damages speakers. However distortion is often a sign that the amp or speakers are being pushed too hard. Distortion in the music itself is harmless unless you play it too loud for the amp or speakers.

Richard Tollerton said...

Strictly speaking, clipping can take a lot of energy that was supposed to go to the woofer and dump it into the tweeters instead, and that has been implicated in the occasional flaming voice coil. But the clipping is almost always coming from the amplifier in this event. I'm not aware of music causing this sort of thing.

ianshepherd said...

I'm not an expert but I doubt that would happen for a properly matched amp & speaker setup. Also it still requires the speaker to be driven very hard. Musical clipping at low or moderate levels is highly unlikely to do this, imo.

Acecool said...

I never said it would "Damage" the speakers, I said it was "Bad" for them. But then again, I don't plan on playing this often, or very loud to find out if my coils overheat, or blow fuses.

I just know that there's not an adequate amount of headroom and most of the album is over congested. Robert Trujillo's bass licks are muffled as is the most of the rest of the tracks, all in all, very tiring on the ears.

Wonder what Bob Rock thinks about all this. He's probably laughing his ass off.

Gonçalo Brito said...

Well, i sure am having a laugh myself. :P

John said...

I don't think bands should make records for nerdy mastering engineers. Most of you are mediocre at what you do anyway. Just like in any field. If a guitarist makes records for guitarists, it most likely will suck. And you can't impress them all anyway becuase they all have their dweeby opinions. And most of them suck, so who cares what they think? They are a minority. Distort the fuck out of it I say. That's what it's about. Pussies.

Adam said...

I want my money back. I can't listen to it!

LouNJ said...

It's really frustrating to be a Metallica fan these days. On St. Anger the snare drum sound sucked. On Death Magnetic there's distortion and static and the band doesn't care. They don't care what their fans think..especially James..he has no regard for the opinions of fans.

Acecool said...

Actually, DEATH MAGNETIC lives up to it's name! Combined with LARS ULRICH'S UGLY MUG, Listening to it can and will cause extreme anxiety, anger, confusion, and in many cases A MIGRAINE HEADACHE!

SHOULD BE VOTED "WORST ALBUM EVER CREATED BY MORONS"

(Yes, even morons can make money producing sound waves)

EVEN GHIII sucks ass...

Proof of Metallica's inability to produce anything worth a shit....An educated guess tells me it won't be too much longer before each member of the group ends up with some form of Alzheimer's disease.

Look at ANY of their last few albums, with most attention on "ST. ANGER"

Proof is in the pudding as they say, and Pudding doesn't make itself! (it's that obvious).

btw, It is a known fact, They still produce the METALLICA COFFIN BOX SET, even thought the lying bastards sold it as a LIMITED to 2000 box set. KEEP DOWNLOADING THEIR MUSIC! I DO! Just make sure you get it in LOSSLESS FLAC! then spread it around to all your friends. Don't Get Mad, GET EVEN!