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Best Metal Production

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Matt Till, Jan 16, 2005.


  1. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Call me Pat Boone, but I'm in a metal mood right now. My second metal thread in the past minute.

    My problem with a lot of metal is the production. I find a lot of death metal ends up sounding like a bunch of mud thrown together. Or, as I stated in my "Does Black Metal suck" thread. Emperor's "Anthems to the Welkin At Dusk" has no presence. It's just a reverbed out mess.

    Maybe it's the bassist in me talking, but I think THE most ignored factor in metal is the bass. It's often just mixed as low end with no bite (mids). Two examples that come instantly to mind that I own are Iced Earth's "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and Type O Negative's "World Coming Down." James MacDonough is almost all low, and is just this clunk that is on the track that totally clashes and doesn't mesh with the 45 guitar tracks Jon Schaffer lays down. Peter Steele (Though I wouldn't say it to his face ;) ) has really great clean tone on the album, but the fuzz he has is more high end than anything. And he's fuzzed throughout most of the album. When I listen to it (Fantastic album BTW) I crank the bass boost and turn down the volume a bit and it sounds great.

    But some of my favorite metal productions are...

    Overkill - From the Underground and Below

    Number one by far. And proof of my theory about a good bassy yet midrangey bass tone can make a metal mix sound awesome. D.D. Verni is kick ass to begin with, so that helps. But I consider this the greatest metal bass tone ever. And everything else sounds perfect. Great drum sound. The perfect pure metal album. Not death metal, not black metal, just kick you in your face/drink beer/kill babies.... well maybe not kill babies... metal. I'm not too fond of the 80s stuff though, production or music, too cheese.

    Cannibal Corpse - Bloodthirsty

    Great metal sound, it does the death metal with only enough mud to make them sound like C.C.

    Cryptopsy - Whisper Surpremacy

    The best sounding over the top death metal album I've ever heard. Everything is nice and crunchy, sometimes the guitar sounds a bit weird, but, it all blends really well.

    System of a Down - Toxicity

    Not my favorite album, but I do respect Rick Ruben on this one. It's not as heavy sounding as the first one, but it's got it's own quirky metal style. And everything breathes very well, there are overdubbs but not a trace of mud, it's all very very crisp.


    Sepultura - Roots

    The production makes the album sound heavier that it should somehow. Which is very cool.


    Metallica - The Black album

    Production wise, Metallica's best.


    Prong - Rude Awakening

    This is when Prong fully embraced their Industrial sound, while still maintaining that ultra heavy guitar sound. Bass and Drums and Fake Drums create this awesome heavy groove machine.


    Pantera - Vulgar Display of Power

    Awesome.
     
  2. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I'm with you Matt. Some of the best metal recordings I have are:

    Sepultra - Roots
    Pantera - Far Beyond Driven
    Prong - Rude Awakening
    Ministry - Psalm 69 (this is the CD that made me want to play bass)
     
  3. I like the production on lots of Nevermore albums. The cover of "sound of silence" have great production.

    Megadeths new album "the system has failed" has good levels between the instruments.
     
  4. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Fear Factory's new CD is pretty well produced.
     
  5. I know this is a little off topic, but I have always liked Mr.Bungle and Tomahawk's production.

    Sounds real, and you can hear everything very clearly.
     
  6. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I'm going to go with Obsolete on that one Brendan.
     
  7. I can relate, I experienced this 1st hand:

    I played on the "Ballistic" CD (Metablade) last year. To get the best "Metal" tone I brought my Ibanez ATK to the studio played into their Fender 400 combo and my Tech21 PSA-1 w/a custom setting of mine that made the ATK growl more than a Cheetah in heat! Sounded absolutely smoking (everyone else commented too!) til it went to Germany to get mastered! CD comes out - Mids are gone! The only part that cuts through like it should is my 30 second solo in "Gone Ballistic". I wasn't at the mastering mixdown (Germany) but I can hear the engineer now (who was supposedly very impressed w/my playing?!?!) "Oh it's a bass solo maybe we should turn it up here, not as loud as the drums, but turn it up a notch."

    I now know how John Myung must feel!! I played my a$$ off on that CD but you wouldn't know it w/o reaching for it! Insert bitter face emoticon here!

    Back to well produced Metal releases, I thought Operation Mindcrime raised the bar when it came out.
     
  8. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Huh, interesting story Tim. That explains why when you see a lot of these bands live, the bassist has great tone, but in the studio, they cut the mids.

    That sucks dude.
     
  9. As far as Producers go so far I like Adam D. from Killswitch Engage.

    The new Shadows Fall Album (The War Within) has some great production and I really like Paul Romanko's tone.

    And of course all DEATH albums have been produced very well.
     
  10. I thought Iced Earths horror show had a pretty good production. Good bass too

    The album Clayman by In Flames is one of the best produced metalalbums ever at leas according to me.

    Hypocricys latest album sounds awesome to.
     
  11. troll

    troll

    Aug 31, 2000
    Chicago area
    For good death metal productions. Look at Pierced From Within by Suffocation. Not to mention it's a killer album. The guitars do get a little crunchy sometimes, but the bass is right in there and often solos some intros and such.

    Cannibal Corpse - Tomb of the Mutilated, and The Bleeding (doesn't help that I prefer Chris Barnes era)

    Carcass - Heartwork, nice thick guitars, bass isn't cranked in the mix but does the job, overall production is good but a bit loud.

    Prong - Beg to Differ. While obviously triggered drums, the overall production makes it all come together. I tuned many a car system to this album because it's really clean.

    And I know theres several more I can't think of now, but none of these were mentioned and should be :)

    Troll
     
  12. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    teprodic: All Death albums are produced really well? Including "Scream Bloody Gore"?

    IMO: It's produced awful. In fact, I haven't heard a single album on "Combat" that is produced well. They always get a cool bass sound, but everything else sounds overly reverbed. Another example, Megadeth's Killing is my Business.
     
  13. The problem is these underground record co's aren't willing to spend any money. I was also on a Torrid/Combat distribution release: Tension "Breaking Point". We were a lot better than it showed because of the poor sound, luckily the songs proved to shine through regardless. It's frustrating because you spend time and money to get things right on your end, but the labels could care less how it's sounds, just don't go over the minimal budget allotted is all that matters to them.
     
  14. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    He did a bang-up job with Norma Jean, certainly.
     
  15. Marlat

    Marlat

    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Opeth's work with Steve Wilson is very well produced.
     
  16. Don W

    Don W

    Jan 30, 2004
    East Bay, CA.
    +1 Opeth has some really well produced albums, especially Blackwater Park.
     
  17. troll

    troll

    Aug 31, 2000
    Chicago area
    Even Fabulous Disaster? Actually it's been forever since I heard that, it probably is horrible :)

    Troll
     
  18. Well I just meant the bass has sounded very good. I mean its in the mix and you can hear it. Better than other stuff that is out there.

    I liked Adam's work with Killswitch Engage Alive or Just Breathing
    also with All That Remains This Darkened Heart and Cannae Horror But on The Agony Scene self tittled album it didn't sound very good.
     
  19. Don W

    Don W

    Jan 30, 2004
    East Bay, CA.
    Soilwork's album "Natural Born Chaos" sounds awesome IMO and the bass is not buried in the mix at all, it sounds really good.
     
  20. Operation Mindcrime is by far my favorite recorded Rock bass tone, that is THE definitive rock bass tone, IMHO. Keep in mind I'm old and jaded so I might be missing something, but most of the nu metal and heavy music out there today I find sorely lacking as far as bass tone on the production end of things. Ryan Martinie of Mudvayne does some nice stuff on both the last 2 albums though, as far as newer heavy bands go they are one of the few that are mixed well, with a good tone. There are a few bassists I wouldn't WANT to hear out front in the mix too....( Fieldy ).......