Metallica producer blames band for sound quality on ‘…And Justice For All’

Flemming Rasmussen has revealed his own theory behind the record's poor sound

The producer behind Metallica‘s 1988 album ‘…And Justice For All’ has blamed the band for the record’s sound quality.

Although the album is widely loved by fans and critics, its production has long been criticised. The reasons behind the poor sound have been debated for years, with the record’s mixer Steve Thompson previously blaming Lars Ulrich.

Now, producer Fleming Rasmussen has spoken about ‘…And Justice For All”s production in a new interview.

Speaking to Metallica-themed podcast Alphabetallica, Rasmussen explained how he thinks Cliff Burton’s death had an impact on the sound. “What happened was [mixing engineers Steve Thompson and Mike Barbiero] did a mix that they thought sounded really, really good,” he said, “which had lots of bass – let me just point out – the bass tracks on ‘…And Justice For All’ are actually fantastic.

“Jason [Newsted, Burton’s replacement] plays really well. He probably tried to prove that he was worth, that he was up there with Cliff, which in my opinion he is.”

He continued to say that the band continually asked for the bass to be taken down in the mix, until it could barely be heard. “Why they did that I’ve no idea!” Rasmussen said. “It could be that they were still grieving about Cliff. I have no idea. But imagine my surprise when I heard the album. I was like, ‘What the… What?!’

“It got really criticised when it came out, and people got more or less blown away because of the dryness of the sound. It just goes BANG, right in your face.”

Later in the 50-minute conversation, Rasmussen also explained that “Most people refer to me as the producer of the three good Metallica albums.” Listen to the whole interview above, via Consequence Of Sound.